ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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Value Through Exogenous Distribution

Krishna R Bharadwaj (1935-1992) was one of the well known economists of post-independence India. 

Krishna R Bharadwaj is well known for, among other things, her research into the Cambridge economist Piero Sraffa's work on economic theory. Her review of Sraffa's book 'Production of Commodities by Means of Commodities: Prelude to a Critique of Economic Theory', which was published in The Economic Weekly in 1963 was acknowledged by Sraffa himself as a knowledgeable discussion of  the book. EPW brings to its readers this review from the archives followed by a letter to Krishna Bharadwaj by an avid reader.  

Abstract of the book review: 

Economic theory has its fair share of conundrums. Discarded as mere “chimeras” by the more pragmatic and empirically-oriented economists, these puzzles continue to fascinate those with a flair for abstraction and challenge their speculative ingenuity. Of these, the ‘chimera of absolute value’, long fallen into oblivion after the unsuccessful efforts, notably by Ricardo and Marx, to discover an invariant yardstick to measure value, has now been revived in Piero-Sraffas excellently expounded book “Production of Commodities”.
 
Sraffa resolves the Ricardian Riddle within a framework of analysis, wherein neither the output composition nor the proportions in which means of production are combined change. Thus, both the framework of investigation as also the central problem to which Sraffa particularly addresses himself are, in spirit, classical.

Those of us, accustomed to economic analysis always running in terms of variations of factor-proportions or output-combinations would be struck by the extremely rigid framework within which Sraffa’s analysis is conducted. Indeed, it is a unique accomplishment of his work that within this restricted economic domain is created a nucleus of deeply significant ideas which presumably have wide-sweeping consequences. 

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