Production of Commodities by Means of Commodities


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SRAFFA, Piero. Production of Commodities by Means of Commodities. Prelude to a Critique of Economic Theory. Cambridge: University Press, 1960. Octavo, original blue cloth, original dust jacket.

First edition of this 20th century landmark in Neo-Ricardian economics.

"After the publication of Keynes' General Theory, in 1936, the von Neumann model stands out as a major landmark… It is rivaled only by Sraffa's 96 paragraphs, published in 1960. Von Neumann and Sraffa dwarf all other economists in the 50 year period 1937 to 1987" (Dore, et al., 10). "Sraffa's introduction to the works [of David Ricardo] was perhaps one of the most remarkable interpretations of the tenets of Classical and Neoclassical theory in the history of economic thought. The outgrowth of these efforts was one of the longest-gestating works in economic theory. Begun in the 1920s, Sraffa's Production of Commodities by Means of Commodities, a terse, hundred-page text which finally emerged in 1960. This book solved and restated Ricardo's theory for the moderns—inspiring the 'Classical Revival' spearheaded by the Neo-Ricardians at Cambridge and elsewhere in the 1960s and 1970s. He was also the first to depict the famous 'reswitching' problem in capital theory for an industry as well as an economy—which led to the Cambridge Capital Controversy and fuelled the Neo-Ricardian School. An interesting contribution of Sraffa was his relationship to philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein—who claimed that it was Sraffa who helped provide the important stepping stones for his Philosophical Investigations—arguably the most important philosophical work of the 20th century" ( This work has become increasingly rare, particularly over the past decade, due to a resurgent interest in neoclassical economics. Contemporary owner signature. A few neat pen annotations.

Book near-fine, with mild toning to edges. Scarce price-clipped dust jacket extremely good, with slight soiling, light wear and toning to extremities. A rare and most desirable copy.

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