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Department of Management, Economics and Quantitative Methods

The Other Sraffa - Surprises in the Archive?

Area bacheca: 1031

i) Antonella Picchio (University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy)
Sraffa, the wage and social reproduction

Sraffa shows that in the relationship between subsistence and surplus wages we can find: an ambivalence, a double and conflicting perspective, a double metric (list and proportion), a social conflict over distribution, a tension between means and ends, a possible systemic contradiction. This analytical complexity provides us some powerful tools for the analysis of the the dynamics of present capitalist systems as the human passions at play in the daily life of real women and men finally shape the economic system as a whole.

By focussing on subsistence wages, the whole system is given space for a multidimensional methodology, based on the nature of the individual and of his/her relationship with society, that gives a central place to bodies, minds and passions. This multidimensional approach is rooted in the foundations of classical economic thought where the subsistence of the labouring population is brought together with the conditions of production and exchange of other commodities, and where living conditions of the labouring population are dealt with at the level of the structural self-replacing state of the economy and the institutional distribution of surplus.

This line of enquiry discloses deep tensions and poses crucial questions to economic analysis. For example: how to define the standard of living? What has to be considered capital? Whose subsistence should be considered capital or surplus? What process of social reproduction? What relation between the individual (male and female) and society? Which individual? What role of firm, family and state? Which productive system?

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