Full text: Brief von Alessandro Roncaglia an Josef Steindl

BANC A NAZIONALE DEL LAVORO 
QUARTERLY REVIEW 
EDITORIAL BOARD 
Francesco Bignardi 
Guido Carli 
Cesare Cosciani 
Antigono Donati 
Lucio Izzo 
Alberto Mucci 
Nerio Nesi, Chairman 
Francesco Parrillo 
Romano Prodi 
Pasquale Saraceno 
Luigi Ceriani, Editor 
A. Roncaglia, Asst. Ed. 
VIA V. VENETO, 119 
I - 00187 ROMA 
December 13, 1984 
Dear Josef, 
I found your paper on Sraffa very interesting and very provoca 
tive - as usual. I feel largely, but not completely, in agreement with 
you. Namely, I strongly agree with the idea that Sraffa's analysis must 
be considered a "reference system", while his analytical tools - R, the 
basic-non basic dichotomy - can be of use in "applied" analysis. On the 
other hand, as you can imagine from my paper on Sraffa in the BNL Quarterly, 
I feel at unease with some aspects of your presentation of the aims and 
scope of Sraffa's analysis (e.g. the first 6 and last 3 lines of the paper), 
which in any case do not seem in a necessary connection with the rest 
of the paper. 
I have some other comments on a few points of detail: 1) Page 
1, first few lines: For Sraffa (I960, Preface) the standard commodity 
is only "a particular point", not the main aim of his research. Thus the 
duality between "standard proportions" (vector d^) and prices (in Section 
2) is a derived aspect of Sraffa's analysis; 2) Page 2, last few lines: 
it would be more precise to write "This applies only to commodities which 
directly or indirectly enter as input into the production of all other 
commodities... Other goods are called non-basics". (As you note later, 
some non-basic might be used as input in its own production or in the 
production of other non-basics); Page 3, line 7, more precise: "...produc 
ing one unit of a particular commodity"; 4) Page 3: System (3) is dual 
to system (2). In (1), s^ f s^ ;.while in (3) = R. ; 5) Page 6, last 
7 lines. I do not understand thh underlying reasoning. At first sight, 
(8) = (9) = 1 implies overdetermination of the system. On lines 1-2 of 
page 7 : any unit of measure is, in itself, independent of distribution; 
but the relative price of any other commodity in terms of any given unit 
of measure will change, in general, when distribution changes. If we choose 
the standard commodity as unit of measure, the standard net product will 
not change in value, when distribution changes, because it is simply 
a given quantity of the standard commodity; but UeriwQ T ackward cases the 
actual net product will; 6) Page 7, last line: one might add: "(unless 
a change in their price, due to changes in their conditions of production, 
affects the wage rate)"; 7) Page 9, line 6: it is unclear why matrix A 
should become decomposable; 8) Page 9, line 9 from the bottom: I would 
object to the statement that the system analysed has neither past nor 
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