Sraffa and Modern Economics
Author: Roberto Ciccone, Christian Gehrke, Gary Mongiovi
Exploring the relevance of Sraffa's thought for modern economics and written by an array of internationally respected contributors, this book is an invaluable tool for all those studying the history of economic thought.
Even after the experience of WWII and despite the existence of various institutions such as United Nations to avoid conflict between nations, we have not succeeded in making a world free from war. The Cold War, the Vietnam War, the intervention of the superpowers in local conflicts and the spread of terrorism have made this all too clear. This volume brings together contributions by leading international scholars of various countries and reconstructs how economists have dealt with issues that have been puzzling them for nearly three centuries: Can a war be 'rational'? Does international commerce complement or substitute war? Who are the real winners and losers of wars? How are military expenses to be funded? The book offers a refreshing approach to the subject and how we think about the relations between economics and war.
For too long radical political economy has suffered for lack of a coherent alternative to formal Marxian economic theory. People have had to choose between (1) continuing to use a formal model based on the labor theory of value as Marx developed in Capital to justify and retain one's opposition to capitalism, or (2) abandoning the formal Marxian framework as outdated, and risk losing a critical evaluation of capitalism. Radical Political Economy: Sraffa Versus Marx provides readers with a third choice. A point-by-point comparison of Sraffian and Marxian treatments of prices, profits, technological change, economic crises, environmental sustainability, and the moral case against capitalism, are presented in six core chapters. They explain how the Sraffian treatment surpasses the formal Marxian treatment in every case. Both Marxian and Sraffian theories are presented in a highly accessible way, while large professional literatures are thoroughly referenced throughout. Marx was not the first, but remains the greatest, critic of capitalism, and richly deserves his place in history. However it is time to use intellectual tools unavailable to Marx in the nineteenth century to improve upon his formal analysis. This book is of great importance to those who study Sraffa and Marx, as well as academics and students who are interested in political economy, the history of economic thought, and economic and philosophical theory.
Heinz Kurz is recognised internationally as a leading economic theorist and a foremost historian of economic thought. This book pays tribute to his outstanding contributions by bringing together a unique collection of new essays by distinguished economists from around the world. Classical Political Economy and Modern Theory comprises twenty essays, grouped thematically into five sections. Part I examines political economy and its critique, Part II looks at entrepreneurship, evolution and income distribution, Part III discusses Cambridge, Keynes and macroeconomics, Part IV explores crisis and cycles, whilst Part V is dedicated to personal reminiscences. The essays in this book will be an invaluable source of inspiration for economists interested in economic theory and in the evolution of economic thought. They will also be of interest to postgraduate and research students specialising in economic theory and in the history of economic thought.
How scientific is economics? This question has often been framed by analogies and correspondences made between economics and other, seemingly more well-established scientific disciplines, starting with classical mechanics. At the same time economics is likely to be seen in opposition to or in contrast with history, where the reliance upon generalizing rules, thought experiments, and model construction in economics is set against the amassing of particular facts intended to create narratives in history. In this new volume, Turk explores the relationship between economics and history, including the often fraught one between economics and economic history, making the case that economics does in fact require the proper grounding in history that has so often been ignored. This work challenges the attempt to link economics with other, more clearly ‘scientific’ disciplines as flawed and fundamentally wrongheaded. A key element of this book is its examination of the gaps and associations that exist in, or are seen through, linkages with thermodynamics, classical mechanics , biology, literature, mathematics, philosophy, and sociology. This exploration is frequently undertaken through study of the work of one or more major figures in the history of economic thought, ranging from Quesnay and Smith, through Walras and Max Weber, to Robinson, Krugman, David, and Arthur. Through the possibility of an alternative to the gaps noted in each such comparison, the underlying, necessary connection between economics and history can be brought out. The book concludes by exploring the basis for the positive construction of a historical economics. This book is suited for those who study history of economic thought and philosophy of economics.
William Petty (1623-1687), long recognised as a founding father of English political economy, was actively involved in the military-colonial administration of Ireland following its invasion by Oliver Cromwell, and to the end of his days continued to devise schemes for securing England’s continued domination of that country. It was in that context that he elaborated his economic ideas, which consequently reflect the world of military-bureaucratic officialdom, neo-feudalism and colonialism he served. This book shows that much of the theory and methodology in use within the economics discipline of today has its roots in the writings of Petty and his contemporaries, rather than in the supposedly universalistic and enlightened ideals of Adam Smith a century later. Many of the fundamental ideas of today’s development economics, for example, are shown to have been deployed by Petty explicitly for the purpose of furthering England’s colonialist objectives, while his pioneering writings on fiscal issues and national accounting theory were equally explicitly directed towards the raising of funds for England’s predatory colonial and commercial wars. This book argues that exploring the historical roots of economic ideas and methods in this way is an essential aspect of assessing their appropriateness and analytical power today, and that this is more relevant than ever. It will be of interest to advanced students and researchers in the history of economic thought, early modern economic history, development economics and economic geography.
Ricardo on Money
Author: Ghislain Deleplace
Despite his achievements, David Ricardo’s views on money have often been misunderstood and underappreciated. His advanced ideas had to wait until the twentieth century to be applied, and most historians of economic thought continue to consider him as an obsolete orthodox. The last book devoted in tribute to Ricardo as a monetary economist was published more than 25 years ago. Ricardo on Money encompasses the whole of Ricardo’s writings on currency, whether in print, unpublished notes, correspondence, or reported parliamentary speeches and evidence. The aim of the book is at rehabilitating Ricardo as an unorthodox theorist on money and suggesting his relevance for modern analysis. It is divided into three parts: history, theory and policy. The first describes the factual and intellectual context of Ricardo’s monetary writings. The second part puts the concept of standard centre stage and clarifies how, according to Ricardo, the standard regulated the quantity – and hence the value – of money. The final part shows that Ricardo relied on the active management of paper money rather than on flows of bullion and commodities to produce international adjustment and guarantee the security of the monetary system. Published to coincide with the 200th anniversary of the publication of On the Principles of Political Economy, and Taxation, this book will be of great interest to all historians of economic thought and scholars of monetary economics.
Until the end of the early 1970s, from a history of economic thought perspective, the mainstream in economics was pluralist, but once neoclassical economics became totally dominant it claimed the mainstream as its own. Since then, alternative views and schools of economics increasingly became minorities in the discipline and were considered ‘heterodox’. This book is in honour of John Edward King who has an impressive publication record in the area of economic theory with specific interest in how economic thought in the past shapes current economic theory and enforces certain paths of economic policy and economic development. This book is divided into five themes based on King’s interests. The first theme looks at the challenge in trying to reclaim pluralism in economics. The second faces head-on the direct collision of mainstream economics with history of economic thought and heterodox economics. The third addresses classical economic ideas, their central influence in the past and how they can still primarily guide modern pluralist economics. The fourth examines Post Keynesian and Kaleckian economics with a view to providing a more coherent and extensive branch of heterodox economics. The final theme critiques the policy of neoliberalism that has entrenched itself in capitalist economies which have led to financial, industrial, labour, and behavioural/consumerist crises. This text aims to provide a clear path for pluralism to serve the economics discipline as its standard bearer, and to no longer be merely a heterodox challenge to the mainstream. This book is of interest to those who study history of economic thought, political economy and heterodox economics.
This new volume explores two alternative economic theories – the classical theory and the marginalist or neoclassical theory- through a discussion between two eminent economists, Pierangelo Garegnani and Paul Samuelson. The key themes of the volume are the difference in approaches to the explanation of the distribution of income and relative prices, and therefore different approaches to all other economic problems, in particular capital accumulation and economic growth. The book discusses whether there is a 'classical' approach to the theory of value and distribution at the core of economic theory that is fundamentally different from the later marginalist or neoclassical theory. In the volume, the late Pierangelo Garegnani argues for the validity of Piero Sraffa's position on this issue, whilst the late noble laureate Paul Samuelson vehemently contests it. At a time of economic crisis, the future of the discipline is far from certain, and so it is extremely important to bring these debates back into the light, by reproducing them together for the first time. A comprehensive introduction by Heinz Kurz sets the debate in this context, and provides crucial background to the arguments.
Volume 35B of Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology features a symposium on the economics of Piero Sraffa, guest edited by Scott Carter and Riccardo Bellofiore. It also features general research contributions from Masazumi Wakatabe, and co-authors Eugene Callahan and Andreas Hoffman.
This book draws on the work of one of the sharpest minds of the 20th century, Piero Sraffa. Ludwig Wittgenstein credited him for 'the most consequential ideas' of the Philosophical Investigations (1953) and put him high on his short list of geniuses. Sraffa's revolutionary contribution to economics was, however, lost to the world because economists did not pay attention to the philosophical underpinnings of his economics. Based on exhaustive archival research, Sinha presents an exciting new thesis that shows how Sraffa challenged the usual mode of theorizing in terms of essential and mechanical causation and, instead, argued for a descriptive or geometrical theory based on simultaneous relations. A consequence of this approach was a complete removal of 'agent's subjectivity' and 'marginal method' or counterfactual reasoning from economic analysis – the two fundamental pillars of orthodox economic theory.
This volume brings together papers inspired by the work of Duncan Foley, an extraordinarily productive economist who has made seminal contributions to a wide variety of areas. Foley’s work cannot be easily classified, but one thread that runs through it is a critical examination (along both ethical and analytical lines) of conventional neoclassical economic theory, particularly involving general equilibrium theories of value and money. Foley was a pioneer of complexity economics as well, which adopts approaches to these questions drawn from natural sciences, so the collection therefore has an interdisciplinary quality that will interest a wide variety of readers. Some of the chapters are intellectual biographies that contextualize and identify Foley’s contributions to Keynesian macroeconomics, Marxian value theory, and complexity theory in economics. The topics covered include the economics of complexity; the ethics of general equilibrium theory; the economics of climate change; applications of Keynesian, Marxian and Ricardian political economy; and money and financial crises. The collection should be useful to scholars who work in various economic traditions critical of the currently dominant free-market approach, but it also speaks to scholars of critical theory in various disciplines beyond economics such as the mathematicians, physicists, and other natural scientists who are interested in understanding the complexity of social processes using their analytical frameworks. This book should also appeal to graduate students in economics who are working in these traditions, as well as scholars (including current graduate students in orthodox programs) who are dissatisfied with the current state of economic theory and would like to satisfy their intellectual curiosity by sampling the contributions of critical theorists.
Heinz Kurz is recognised internationally as a leading economic theorist and a foremost historian of economic thought. This book pays tribute to his outstanding contributions on the occasion of his 65th birthday by bringing together a unique collection of new essays by distinguished economists from around the world. Keynes, Sraffa, and the Criticism of Neoclassical Theory comprises twenty-three essays, covering themes in Keynesian economic theory, in the development of the modern classical approach to economic theory, linear production models, and the critique of neoclassical theory. The essays in this book will be an invaluable source of inspiration for economists interested in economic theory and in the evolution of economic thought. They will also be of interest to postgraduate and research students specialising in economic theory and in the history of economic thought.
This book provides the non-Italian scholar with an extensive picture of the development of Italian economics, from the Sixteenth century to the present. The thread of the narrative is the dialectics between economic theory and political action, where the former attempts to enlighten the latter, but at the same time receives from politics the main stimulus to enlarge its field of reflection. This is particularly clear during the Enlightenment. Inside, this book insists on stressing that Galiani, Verri, and Beccaria were economists quite sensitive to practical issues, but who also were willing to attain generally valid conclusions. In this sense, "pure economics" was never performed in Italy. Even Pareto used economics (and sociology) in order to interpret and possibly steer the course of political action. Within this book it illustrates the Restoration period (1815-48). There was a slowdown of the economists' engagement, due to an adverse political situation, that prompted the economists to prefer less dangerous subjects, such as the relationship between economics, morals, and law (the main interpreter of this attitude was Romagnosi). After 1848, however, in parallel with the Risorgimento cultural climate, a new vision of the economists' task was eventually manifested. Between economics and political Liberalism a sort of alliance was established, whose prophet was F. Ferrara. While the Historical school of economics of German origin played a minor role, Pure Economics (1890-1940 approx.) had a considerable success, as regards both economic equilibrium and the theory of public finance. Consequently, the introduction of Keynes's ideas was rather troubled. Instead, Hayek had an immediate success. This book concludes with a chapter devoted to the intense relationships between economic theories, economic programmes and political action after 1945. Here, the Sraffa debate played an important role in stimulating Italian economists to a reflection on the patterns of Italian economy and the possibilities of transforming Italy's economic and social structure.