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From ‘Pool of Profits’ to Surplus and Deficit Industries: Archival Evidence on the Evolution of Piero Sraffa’s Thought

Research in Political Economy

ISBN: 978-1-78441-007-0, eISBN: 978-1-78441-006-3

ISSN: 0161-7230

Publication date: 29 October 2014

Abstract

This chapter argues that the Marxian theory of exploitation underlies the concepts of surplus and deficit industries that appear in Sraffa’s (1960) Production of Commodities by Means of Commodities. This is seen from archival research of the unpublished papers of Piero Sraffa housed at the Wren Library, Trinity College, University of Cambridge. There it is shown that the origin of these concepts lies in the Marxian theory of exploitation that Sraffa developed regarding the notion of the ‘pool of profits’ the Italian economist utilized over a 14-year period from 1942 to 1956. The chapter engages in an extensive textual study of the archival evidence and then presents a simple analytical model of these relations.

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Acknowledgements

Acknowledgement

I would like to thank Sraffa’s Literary Executor Lord Eatwell for permission to quote from the Sraffa Papers. I would also like to thank Jonathan Smith from the Wren Library, Trinity College, University of Cambridge and Riccardo Bellofiore from the University of Bergamo for all the support over the years. I would also like to acknowledge The University of Tulsa and my colleagues in the Economics Department for their continuing support of this on-going endeavour and belief in the vision of actualising Sraffa's archival material. Lastly I would like to thank the Economics Department at Rollins College which in 2005 made this research possible in the first place with an Individual Faculty Development Grant.

Citation

Carter, S. (2014), "From ‘Pool of Profits’ to Surplus and Deficit Industries: Archival Evidence on the Evolution of Piero Sraffa’s Thought", Research in Political Economy (Research in Political Economy, Vol. 29), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 3-61. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0161-723020140000029001

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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