Saturday, October 31, 2020

Noah Smith Claims To Have A View On The Cambridge Capital Controversy

I have been reading Noah Smith, off and on, for years. He has expressed scepticism about the obvious unrealism of macroeconomics, but I have not found him knowledgaable about heterodox economics.

Noah Smith claims to have a view on the Cambridge Capital Controversy. He is asked, "Is there someplace that could help me learn Sraffa? The stuff I've read from him is interesting, but is often difficult conceptually." His response is, "Just read Sraffa."

And he is asked, "Which side are you on re the Cambridge Capital Controversy?" Smith says, "Samuelson."

Smith has the honor of being mentioned in Edward Nik-Khah and Philip Mirowski's "The ghosts of Hayek in orthodox microeconomics: markets as information processors". If Smith tries to say something about the CCC in a Bloomberg column, I'd like to hear about it.

For some modern art, I find it useful to listen to what others have to say about it. When one is asked for bread, it would be ungenerous to give stones. Therefore, in addition to Sraffa, one might consult one of the following for a textbook overview of the CCC:

  • H. D. Kurz and N. Salvadori (1995). Theory of Production: A Long-Period Analysis, Cambridge University Press
  • L. L. Pasinetti (1977). Lectures on the Theory of Production, Columbia University Press
  • V. Walsh and H. Gram (1980). Classical and Neoclassical Theory of General Equilibrium: Historical Origins and Mathematical Structure, Oxford University Press.

The above happen to be in order of declining mathematical difficulty. If you want a neoclassical textbook, you could do worse than one of these:

  • Christopher J. Bliss (1975). Capital Theory and the Distribution of Income, Amsterdam: North Holland Press.
  • E. Burmeister (1980). Capital Theory and Dynamics, Cambridge University Press

For more blow-by-blow accounts of the controversy, you could try one of:

  • Cohen, A. J. and Harcourt, G. C. (2003). Whatever Happened to the Cambridge Capital Theory Controversies? Journal of Economic Perspectives, V. 17, N. 1 (Winter): 199-214.
  • Harcourt, G. C. (1969). Some Cambridge Controversies in the Theory of Capital, Journal of Economic Literature, June.
  • Andrés Lazzarini (2011). Revisiting the Cambridge Capital Theory Controversies: A Historical and Analytical Study, Pavia University Press.
  • I've provided these sorts of lists before. I approve of many more works than are listed above.
  • 1 comment:

    Marian Ruccius said...

    AWESOME! thanks for these references -- I was thinking about doing a reading course on the CCC, BUT this should give me a good start. I think that some non-bastard Keynesian should make a Coursera or Udemy course on the CCC and also the theory of the 2nd best.