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On the Collaboration between Sraffa and Besicovitch: The ‘Proof of Gradient’

Heinz Kurz () and Neri Salvadori ()

Chapter 13 in Sraffa or An Alternative Economics, 2008, pp 260-274 from Palgrave Macmillan

Abstract: Abstract As is well known, Chapters III-VI of Production of Commodities by Means of Commodities explore the results arrived at as regards the model defined in the second part of Chapter II. Whereas the main aim of Chapter III is to provide a ‘preliminary survey’ (p. 15) of price movements consequent upon changes in distribution without the help of any specific tool, the complete analysis of these movements is presented in Chapter VI, where Sraffa has recourse to the tool elaborated in Chapters IV and V, the Standard Commodity. In analyzing price movements, Sraffa maintains in section 49, i.e. the very last section of Chapter VI, that ‘there is … a restriction to the movement of the price of any product: if as a result of a rise in the rate of profits the price falls, its rate of fall cannot exceed the rate of fall of the wage/This property is important because if the wage as a function of the rate of profits is decreasing in any numeraire, then it is decreasing in all numeraires. And since the Standard Commodity is a numeraire in which the wage as a function of the rate of profits is a decreasing straight line, then ‘if the the wage is cut in terms of any commodity (no matter whether it is one that will consequently rise or fall relatively to the Standard) the rate of profits will rise; and vice versa for an increase of the wage/(Sraffa, 1960, pp. 38 and 40; Sraffa’s italics)

Keywords: Wage Rate; Real Wage; Relative Prex; Joint Production; Social Product (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2008
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DOI: 10.1057/9780230375338_14

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