Saturday, October 30, 2010

Economic & Political Weekly

Every once in a while, I notice popular and semi-popular journals in which ideas I find interesting are discussed. As I understand it, Economic & Political Weekly is an Indian journal. It was named Economic Weekly when it published Krishna Bharadwaj's 1963 review of Sraffa's book. I cannot speak to Indian politics. But I find two articles of interest in the 16 October number.

Ghose (2010) builds on Arthur Lewis's model of development. Lewis depicts undeveloped economies as exhibiting a kind of dualism in which capitalist and traditional (subsistence) sectors coexist. The traditional sector experiences disguised underemployment and can provide an infinite supply at labor at the going wage. Lewis mentions farmerss, casual workers, petty traders, domestic and commercial retainers, and woman in the household as sources of such a labor supply. Economic development is a matter of structural change in which the capitalist sector expands and replaces the traditional sector. My impression is that this distinction between structural change and a mere quantitative expansion used to distinguish the economics of development and of growth. Ghose suggests this perspective has been lost in development economics.

Sinha (2010) provides an appreciation of Sraffa's book. Sinha does not see Sraffa's prices of production as dynamically stable limit points of some sort of gravitational process governing market prices. Nor does he think an internal critique of neoclassical economics based on reswitching was central to Sraffa's project. He emphasizes Sraffa's standard commodity and likes Joan Robinson's reading of Sraffa as generalizing Ricardo's corn economy, in which the rate of profits is a physically specified ratio independent of relative prices. This reading resembles Bharadwaj's.
  • Krishna Bharadwaj (1963) "Value through Exogenous Distribution", Economic Weekly (24 August): pp. 1450-1454. (Republished in Capital and Growth (edited by G. C. Harcourt and N. F. Laing), Penguin (1973))
  • Ajit K. Ghose (2010) "Reinventing Development Economics", V. XLV, N. 42 (16 October): pp. 41-50.
  • Ajit Sinha (2010) "Celebrating Fifty Years of Sraffa's Production of Commodities by Means of Commodities", V. XLV, N. 42 (16 October): pp. 61-65.


R. M. said...

Why did the Fed stop tranferring income to rich people?

I read in a Sraffian blog some time ago that interest rates were exogenously determined. The facts seem to disagree.

R. M. said...

And what about wages?

Are they set exogenously too?