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Department of Management, Economics and Quantitative Methods

The Other Sraffa - Surprises in the Archive?

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d) Stephanie Blankenburg (School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, UK)
How to do economic theory: Sraffa from the mid 1920s to the mid 1930s

The paper brings together and discusses Sraffa's reflections on the methodological shortcomings of marginalism and the implications for how better to "do" economic theorizing. Starting with the 1925/1926 published contribution to the so-called "cost-controversy", the paper proceeds to explore Sraffa's unpublished remarks, notes and deliberations up until the mid 1930s on why, exactly, marginalism is "dangerous and misleading", and what, in Sraffa's view, follows for the scope, substance and methodological nature of an economic analysis of capitalism that meets the criteria of internal logical coherence and explanatory power. I argue that Sraffa, very decidedly, was not primarily the logician par excellence he is so often made out to be, and that he engaged with core issues, essential to a coherent methodological alternative to positivism in the social sciences, including the meanings of realism, causality and determinism, in far more depth than is often recognized.

sponsored by
Department of Economics
Faculty of Economics
University of Bergamo


December 21-22, 2010
aula 3, via Salvecchio 19
University of Bergamo - Bergamo Alta, Italy