Sraffa and the interpretation of Ricardo

The Marxian dimension

Samuel Hollander*

Sraffa … bit out a piece of Ricardo’s shirt and ran it up on a flagstaff claiming that it was all that the man had on

(Sir John Hicks, letter dated 2 November 1978)

1 Introduction: Sraffa’s attributions to Ricardo

Piero Sraffa’s Production of commodities by means of commodities (PCMC) (1960) concerns the problem of a given physical surplus to be distributed to assure a uniform profit rate. Output levels (‘gross output quantities’) are included among the technological data determined outside the system along with the wage rate. (Alternatively, the profit rate may be taken as an independent variable and the wage as one of the unknowns (1960, p. 33).) Assume a physical ...

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