Document Type




Format of Original

22 p.

Publication Date



Fabrizio Serra editore

Source Publication

Il Pensiero Economico Italiano

Source ISSN



The relationship between the thinking and work of Sraffa and Keynes is complex and controversial. This paper approaches it initially through an investigation of their respective interpretations of their predecessors, the classical economics and Marshall. Keynes is argued to have misinterpreted the classicals on Say's Law largely on account of his having accepting Marshall's continuity conception of the relation of classical to neoclassical economics. Sraffa's understanding of classical economics as being rooted in a different conception of value and distribution is opposed to Keynes's view. Yet though the two differed at this fundamental level, an argument can be made for saying they agreed that economic analysis needs to be embedded in social contexts identified in terms of relatively distinct historical periods. This argument is developed in the second half of this paper in terms of the philosophical views of Gramsci and Wittgenstein. An important conclusion is that distinct historical periods exhibit interconnected and relatively settled states of affairs across social and economic life. This gives some justification for treating both Sraffa and Keynes in long-period terms, if this framework is understood in the language of propensities and average practices.


Published version. Il Pensiero Economico Italiano, Vol. 6, No. 1 (1998): 57-78. Publisher Link. © 1998 Fabrizio Serra Editore. Used with permission.

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