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date: 02 December 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Piero Sraffa’s pivotal contribution to the critique of mainstream theory is well known. It had three principal targets: Marshallian partial equilibrium theory, the neoclassical macroeconomic theory of income distribution, and the neo-Walrasian microeconomic theory of general equilibrium from Pareto to Arrow and Debreu. This chapter examines well-known exponents of post-Keynesian economics who have made their position on the significance (or otherwise) of Sraffa’s work for post-Keynesianism explicit. It first looks at Luigi Pasinetti’s systematic attempt to integrate Sraffa’s and John Maynard Keynes’s core theoretical messages as elements of a more general theoretical framework. It then argues that historically specific institutional settings, conventions, and social practices play an important role in Sraffa’s analysis. It also claims that his theory of production prices should be interpreted not in terms of a long-period analysis, but as a tool that allows us to explore complex and cumulative forms of economic dynamics not exclusively reliant on linear dynamical systems.

Keywords: Piero Sraffa, mainstream theory, partial equilibrium theory, macroeconomic theory, income distribution, microeconomic theory, general equilibrium, post-Keynesian economics, Luigi Pasinetti, John Maynard Keynes

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