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By Ajit Sinha

This e-book attracts at the paintings of 1 of the sharpest minds of the 20 th century, Piero Sraffa. Ludwig Wittgenstein credited him for 'the such a lot consequential principles' of the Philosophical Investigations (1953) and positioned him excessive on his brief record of geniuses. Sraffa's progressive contribution to economics used to be, despite the fact that, misplaced to the area simply because economists didn't be aware of the philosophical underpinnings of his economics. according to exhaustive archival learn, Sinha offers a thrilling new thesis that exhibits how Sraffa challenged the standard mode of theorizing by way of crucial and mechanical causation and, as an alternative, argued for a descriptive or geometrical concept in response to simultaneous family. A outcome of this technique used to be a whole elimination of 'agent's subjectivity' and 'marginal process' or counterfactual reasoning from monetary research – the 2 basic pillars of orthodox financial theory.

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The paper, however, turned out to be too long for a newspaper and therefore it was published in The Economic Journal. An abridged version of this paper was published a few months later in the Manchester Guardian 32 A Revolution in Economic Theory industrial interests, given the backdrop of a war economy, had created a serious financial crisis in post-war Italy. This paper attests to Sraffa’s acute understanding of practical matters in the functioning of a real economy; it, however, does not have much of theoretical interest.

The dissertation was a timely intervention in the debate on the Italian government’s policy for dealing with the problem of inflation and the fall of the value of lira vis-à-vis gold during the war. Apparently a majority opinion in Italy was that the state must follow a policy of revaluation of the lira to its pre-war parity with gold. The practical question that had to be decided, according to this opinion, was whether the revaluation of lira should be done rapidly or gradually over a long period of time.

2 Before a New Beginning 37 curve of the firm would also represent the supply curve of the industry. This procedure amounts to assuming that the industry supply curve can be derived by horizontally adding the marginal revenue product curves of all the firms in the industry, which is analogous to deriving the market demand curve of a good by horizontally adding the individual demand curves. Sraffa’s objection to this is a simple one: although it may be true that a factor of production is fixed for the industry as a whole, it is not fixed for any individual firm in the industry and a firm may be free to increase, to an extent, the use of this factor and its output while lowering its private cost of production due to economies of scale, without impacting on the price of the factor.

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