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About this book

This Festschrift is published in honour of Annalisa Rosselli, a political economist and historian of economic thought, whose academic activity has promoted unconventional ways of thinking throughout her career. A renowned list of scholars articulate and respond to this vision through a series of essays, leading to an advocacy of pluralism and critical thinking in political economy.
The book is split into five parts, opening with a section on new topics for the history of economic thought including new perspectives in gender studies and an illustration of the fecundity of the link with economic history. This is followed by sections that address relevant perspectives on the Classical approach to distribution and accumulation, Ricardo, interpretation of Sraffa and the legacy of Keynes.
This book will appeal to students interested in reforming economics, as well as academics and economists interested in political economy and the history of economic thought.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1. Introduction

The eighteen essays collected in this book present new perspectives on the history of economic thought (HET), seen as a living corpus of debates whose analysis can help to overcome the limitations of today’s mainstream. Drawing on the relationship between HET and economic history is essential in this regard, as argued by Annalisa Rosselli to whom the book is dedicated. Building on that relationship, this book defends an approach to the HET, which is both analytical and historical. This way of doing HET differs from the approach which evaluates past authors through the lens of present-day economics, as well as from other approaches which tend to separate the study of economic theories from economic history. Focusing on special theories and their historical and institutional dimension, the analytical-historical approach to the HET offers the possibility to reorient the study of political economy along new promising routes.
Maria Cristina Marcuzzo, Ghislain Deleplace, Paolo Paesani

New Topics for the History of Economic Thought


Chapter 2. The Methodological Role of the History of Economic Thought

The purpose of this chapter is to explore the methodological role of the history of thought in economic theorizing. The connection is drawn between Adam Smith’s use of the history of ideas for his own theorizing on the one hand and his espousal of the Newtonian experimental method on the other. The history of ideas formed an important part of the evidential base. On these grounds, the argument is then developed that study of the history of economic thought contributes to the modern development of theory within a pluralist, open-system approach. Further the significance of different approaches to history itself is highlighted both for understanding Smith and for considering modern debates about the history of thought. The chapter is thus offered as further support for the important role of the history of economic thought in economic teaching and practice.
Sheila Dow

Chapter 3. A Bibliometric Portrait of Contemporary History of Economic Thought

This chapter is an attempt to apply bibliometrics for describing the ways in which scholars do their work in the history of economic thought (HET) field. The field is operationally defined as limited to the research articles published in the six professional journals indexed in the Web of Science database, namely History of Political Economy, The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, the Journal of the History of Economic Thought, History of Economic Ideas, Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology, History of Economic Thought and Policy. HET represents a small and stable niche in the economic literature, with a production relatively concentrated in a few countries. Writing HET is a male individual enterprise, and collaboration in the form of multi-authored papers is rather uncommon. Books still represent a big part of the primary sources used by HET. Historians cite a relatively small number of journals, and references are relatively concentrated.
Alberto Baccini

Chapter 4. Moving Boundaries with Gender Budgeting: From the Margins to the Mainstream

Gender budgeting (GB) emerged in the 1980s building on feminist economics analysis of public resource allocation processes based on male bias in economic models and policy institutions. At its core, it aims to promote gender equality by engaging with public finance from a transformational perspective that results in integrating the provision of care in economic policy and deconstructing gender norms which perpetuate inequalities. The chapter takes an historical perspective on GB, tracing conceptual developments and contestations, and offers a critical perspective on the transformational adoption or institutional co-option that is characterizing GB as it moves from the margins to the mainstream. The authors propose a refined set of favourable conditions necessary to underpin Rosselli’s proposition that ‘Gender Budgeting is a powerful instrument for feminist transformation’.
Elisabeth Klatzer, Angela O’Hagan

Chapter 5. Family, Gender Inequality and Growth: History Matters

The family is a key socio-economic unit in society. The nature of its organization is shaped by cultural values and gender norms that change slowly over time. This implies that history matters in the sense that social institutions (e.g. the family, values, norms) tend to reproduce themselves over time, revealing a certain inability to make the necessary adjustments to new challenges. This chapter argues that in familistic societies—where family ties are strongly rooted in traditional values and gender norms—women bear the burden of unpaid work, with negative effects in terms of both gender equity and fertility decisions. Moreover, economic growth—hence more job opportunities for women—tends to be constrained in societies where the family still plays a strong economic role (i.e. there is a disproportionally large share of small family firms).
Paola Villa

Chapter 6. Money, Banking and Politics in Early Nineteenth-Century Portugal

The creation of the Bank of Lisbon in December 1821, in the context of the Portuguese liberal revolution of 1820, provides a pretext for examining the main monetary and financial problems of the time, taking into account the particular period of political change and the possibility that it provided for a wider discussion of this subject at various civil society institutions. Public debt management and the control of paper money in circulation are central themes for understanding the origins of, and the motivation for, the modern organization of banking. These themes invaded the public debate and promoted the confrontation and convergence of different views on monetary and financial issues in which the credibility and trust in the State were at stake. The Portuguese case also enables us to better understand the rhetorical use of political economy in the course of political action, particularly in matters of a monetary and financial nature.
José Luís Cardoso

The Classical Perspective: Distribution of Income and Accumulation of Capital


Chapter 7. Considerations on the Development of Quesnay’s Tableau Économique

The chapter goes over the main stages in the development of Quesnay’s Tableau Économique. The traditional interpretation of this development as a fundamentally continuous process of clarification and elaboration is confirmed. By discussing the opposite view, however, a clearer picture of the path followed by Quesnay between the first drafting of the Tableau and its first public appearance is obtained, while a role is ascribed in the formulation that marks the last stage in the development of the Tableau to the difficulties Quesnay met in reaffirming the sterility of the manufacturing sector.
Paolo Trabucchi

Chapter 8. Classical Roots of the Criticisms of John Stuart Mill’s Wage-Fund Theory

The purpose of this contribution is to discuss the analytical contents of the criticisms levelled at J.S. Mill’s theory of the wage fund and accepted by him in his famous ‘recantation’ of 1869. One reason for the interest in the analytical issues that emerged in the criticisms of the wage-fund theory lies in the fact that they take up and revive many aspects of Smith’s approach to wage determination. In so doing, they show its inconsistency with the wage-fund theory presented by Mill; that is, they show the existence of a conflict between Smith’s views, representative of the theory of wages proper to the classical political economy (from Petty to Ricardo) and the subsequently established theory of the wage fund.
Antonella Stirati

Chapter 9. Classics Today: Smith, Ricardo, Marx

This chapter argues that modern readers can benefit from studying the classics today, because the classical approach to studying an economic system in motion under a cumulative process of division of labour offers a superior starting point for analysing salient properties of capitalist market economies. While modern mainstream economics has adopted, but variously narrowed some of the ideas contained especially in the works of Adam Smith and less so in the works of David Ricardo and Karl Marx, its historical development involved a growing distance and even opposition to the concerns, methods and analytical approaches of the classical economists. This implied a remarkable loss of the huge analytical potentialities offered by the classical economists.
Christian Gehrke, Heinz D. Kurz, Richard Sturn

David Ricardo: Utilitarianism, Influence and Money


Chapter 10. Bentham and Ricardo’s Rendez-vous Manqués

This chapter discusses the possible influence of Bentham on Ricardo’s economics through three rendez-vous. The first one was mediated by James Mill: we show that (i) if Mill ever had an influence on Ricardo early in their relationship, he was not yet Benthamian, and (ii) if this influence was to come later, Ricardo’s comments prove that he was unconvinced by Mill’s description of how people act. The second rendez-vous manqué resulted from Ricardo’s reading of Bentham’s Sur les prix: this reading could not have influenced Ricardo’s monetary thought, because (i) it occurred after Ricardo’s first monetary publications, and (ii) it led Ricardo to disagree with Bentham’s monetary analysis. The last rendez-vous was also manqué. Bentham blamed Ricardo for confusing ‘cost’ with ‘value’ in his Essay on Profits, but this reflects diverging approaches between the two authors. Accordingly, the assumption of Bentham’s influence on Ricardo’s economics seems hardly defendable.
Christophe Depoortère, André Lapidus, Nathalie Sigot

Chapter 11. How Ricardo Came to Japan

It was only after the Meiji Restoration in the mid-nineteenth century that various kinds of economic thought, including that of Ricardo, came to disseminate in Japan. To know such a particular historical process may be instrumental in understanding the actual state of Ricardo studies in Japan. This chapter attempts to introduce to foreign readers how Ricardo’s economic thought became known, read and studied during the long period of the last one and a half centuries. It describes how Ricardo was introduced in the late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century Japan (Sect. 11.2), illustrates the development of Japanese Ricardo studies during the interwar period (Sect. 11.3) and examines the controversial interpretations of Ricardo’s theories that have been advanced from 1945 to the present (Sect. 11.4). It focuses on several topics such as the theories of value, rent, wage, money and finance.
Masashi Izumo, Yuji Sato, Susumu Takenaga

Chapter 12. From Ricardo to Sraffa: Gold as Monetary Standard in a Classical Theory of Money

This chapter inquires into what could or should be a Classical theory of money and prices sixty years after Sraffa’s Production of Commodities by Means of Commodities’ publication. It takes as granted three basic propositions: (i) Sraffa’s system of prices is relevant for determining Classical natural prices; (ii) a monetary standard (gold) is central to a Classical theory of money; (iii) Cantillon-Smith rule is pivotal to Classical market prices determination. The authors contend that: (i) the coexistence of a natural price and a legal price of gold is a necessary condition for a Classical theory of money; (ii) the market price of gold cannot be different from its legal price (no arbitrage); and (iii) the regulation of the quantity of money remains an open question.
Carlo Benetti, Jean Cartelier

Interpreting Sraffa


Chapter 13. Dialogues Manqués Between Antonio Gramsci and Piero Sraffa on Ricardo, Classical Political Economy and ‘Pure Economics’

This chapter deals with Gramsci’s remarks and some potential subjects of discussion with Sraffa about Ricardo, classical political economy and ‘pure economics’. For him, the importance of Ricardo in the formation of Marx’s ideas must be reassessed from the point of view of the world’s conception and history; in 1932, he asked the opinion of Sraffa who was very sceptical about a Ricardian historicism, sending him bibliographical indications. Unfortunately, Gramsci did not receive any element of this bibliography and will not be able to react to Sraffa’s remarks. Otherwise, he commented Pantaleoni’s Principii di economia pura (2nd ed., 1931) and gave an opinion about An Essay on the Nature and Significance of Economic Science by Robbins, through an indirect source. About the questions raised in these books, Gramsci would have appreciated a dialogue with Sraffa, a critic of marginalism. But unfortunately it was not the case.
Jean-Pierre Potier

Chapter 14. Real and Apparent Unknowns and the Origin of Sraffa’s Equations

Pierangelo Garegnani, in a paper read at the conference on Piero Sraffa held at the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei in February 2003, put forward an interpretation of the origin of the research project which led Sraffa to publish his book Production of Commodities by Means of Commodities Commodities (Sraffa 1960). The chapter puts forward a reformulation of the part of Garegnani’s discussion devoted to consider how Sraffa came to introduce price variables into his equations. Following Garegnani’s analysis, we will see that Sraffa’s earliest equations included only things and no price variables. Furthermore, we will also see that Sraffa still tried to maintain his earliest formulation for the case of a no surplus economy even after he had decided to introduce price variables into his positive surplus equations.
Nerio Naldi

Chapter 15. What Can Still Be Learnt from Sraffa’s Study of Prices in a Surplus Economy?

The purpose of this chapter is to assess what can still be learnt from Sraffa’s study of a surplus economy. Since the 1960s, drastic changes have occurred in our real economic system and in the meaning of what can be still called the global reproduction of this system. Today it is therefore crucial to reconsider the ability of Sraffa’s intellectual legacy to grasp the working of our present economic system, taking into account the opening of his unpublished papers in 1993. Using both Production of Commodities by Means of Commodities (based on a scheme of general interdependence) and Sraffa’s criticism of Marshall’s partial equilibrium, the chapter shows that the perspective of price theory does no longer offer a sufficient scope. A broader view has to be considered trying to understand of the right approach to analyse the way the surplus of a production economy is distributed amongst social groups, within various given historical systems of institutions whether including markets or not.
Richard Arena

The Legacy of Keynes: Liquidity, Method and Laissez-faire


Chapter 16. Keynes, Schumpeter, Mercantilism and Liquidity Preference: Some Reflections on How We Do History of Economic Thought

What readers ‘made of’ a text is an object of historical study that is distinct from the ‘original purposes’ that its author may have had. Later commentators will typically bring to bear concerns and perspectives of their own time when interpreting earlier economic writings. Simply condemning such interpretations for being ‘retrospective’ is often too simple. This chapter develops this point by examining Joseph Schumpeter’s willingness to read Keynesian precedents into ‘mercantilist’ monetary writings. It focuses on a single instance in which Schumpeter argued that a passage, which he attributed to the eighteenth-century author Malachy Postlethwayt, ‘reads like’ Keynes’s theory that money interest depends on liquidity preference. It illustrates the historicity of historiography, or how the emergence of new economic theories, like Keynes’s theory of interest as a monetary phenomenon, motivates new readings of old texts.
Richard van den Berg

Chapter 17. The Original Meaning of ‘Liquidity Trap’ in the Early Discussions Between Robertson and Keynes

The concept of ‘liquidity trap’ has recently seen a revival in macroeconomics. Its definition, however, is not univocal. It may be useful, therefore, to turn back to the original meaning of this expression in the works of the economists that first introduced it into economic analysis, John M. Keynes and Dennis H. Robertson. Building on primary sources and unpublished material, this chapter provides a reconstruction and contextualization of the original use of this expression with the aim of contributing to a better understanding of its meaning. In particular, it highlights that in the early theoretical debates the notion did not designate merely a specific circumstance, characterized by the ineffectiveness of monetary policy at the zero lower bound, or at low interest rates, but referred to a more general problem concerning the nature of liquidity as a shelter from uncertainty and the related structural tendency of a monetary economy towards stagnation.
Luca Fantacci, Eleonora Sanfilippo

Chapter 18. An Outline of a Keynesian-Sraffian Macroeconomics

The chapter explores similarities between Keynes and Sraffa, suggesting a fruitful symbiosis of the two approaches. Both challenged neoclassical price theories. Keynes formulated a ‘monetary theory of production’ that led to a liquidity preference theory of financial asset prices; Sraffa a theory of prices of production. Keynes rejected the idea of a natural rate of interest determined by conditions of production, instead arguing that it is endogenously determined by asset preferences subject to policy decisions of the central bank, while Sraffa rejected the productivity determination of the rate of profits, hinting to a monetary determination of the rate of interest influencing income distribution. As for the analytical method, both isolated for analysis a specific objective and identified the most important elements relevant for the problem under consideration. The authors sketch the Classical ‘circular-flow’ vision, the ‘photograph’ interpretation of Sraffa’s analysis and the structure of Keynes’s theory, and then draw their conclusions.
Jan Kregel, Alessandro Roncaglia

Chapter 19. The State and the Market in John Maynard Keynes and His Relevance Today

The search for an equilibrium between individual and social calculation encapsulates Keynes’s economic and social programme—a far-reaching vision to be implemented not on the macroeconomic level only, but by rethinking the laissez-faire creed as a whole. Accordingly, Keynes’s fundamental aim was to reform the relationships between the ‘State’ and the ‘market’—not the State vs. the market—searching for a way to reconcile them, with a view to promoting a more efficient and just economic and social system. After a brief survey of Keynes’s economic and social policy background, the chapter focuses on the persisting relevance of his agenda with particular reference to the current European policies.
Mario Sebastiani


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