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Title: Theories of profit from Ricardo to Debreu: An analysis in terms of Piero Sraffa's "production of commodities by means of commodities".
Authors: Howard, Michael Charles
Award date: 1980
Presented at: University of Leicester
Abstract: This thesis seeks to provide a critical examination of the Ricardian, Marxian, Austrian, Walrasian and neoclassical productivity theories of profit. The standard of evaluation which is adopted throughout is Piero Sraffa's 'Production of Commodities by Means of Commodities'. This is a work of major significance and provides a new perspective in terms of which criticism can be structured. It is shown how Sraffa's results undermine the main propositions of the Marxian, Austrian and neoclassical productivity theories of profit. The Ricardian analysis of profit is also shown to be severely defective. Furthermore, it is argued that the destructive implications of Sraffa's work go far beyond the confines of profit theory and extend deep into the theoretical structures from which these analyses of profit derive. In each case the defects in these theories of profit, which Sraffa's work exposes, stem from inadequate primary conceptualisation and analysis. Consequently, it is schools of economic thought, and not just theories of distribution, which are undermined. Walrasian theory, however, remains unscathed by Sraffa's work. Indeed, it is shown that Walrasian theory highlights some limitations of Sraffa's own framework and thereby questions the significance of those endeavours which seek to build a 'new economics' on its basis.
Type: Thesis
Level: Doctoral
Qualification: Ph.D.
Rights: Copyright © the author. All rights reserved.
Appears in Collections:Theses, Dept. of Economics
Leicester Theses

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