Chapter 11: Understanding Mark Blaug's attitude towards Sraffian economics
It is no exaggeration to say that, to the end of his life, Mark Blaug was obsessed with Sraffian economics. His ‘The trade-off between rigor and relevance: Sraffian economics as a case in point’ (Blaug 2009), one of his very last publications, mounted a passionate critique of Sraffian economics. It was, moreover, in part a reiteration of an argument he had made a decade earlier (Blaug 1999) in an article where he confessed that he had said it all before in his article ‘British classical economics’ in the New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics (Blaug 2008) (unchanged, aside from the editors’ addition of the word ‘British’ to the title, from the 1987 edition). Clearly, he believed the Sraffian system to be false, both as an account of what the classical economists taught and as an explanation of how the world works, and he discovered what he believed were more effective ways to present his critique. Yet, in presenting new versions of his critique, he was not simply correcting mistakes, causing Heinz Kurz and Neri Salvadori (2002, 2011) to be frustrated by his refusal to respond to the details of their responses to his papers.
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