The term neo-Ricardianism appeared in the literature in the 1970s to describe work in economic theory undertaken in the spirit of Piero Sraffa’s Production of Commodities by Means of Commodities. The original impulse to the invention of this category came from certain modern Marxists who were anxious to distinguish their own arguments from anything that might have been contained in Sraffa’s book. To the extent that Sraffa himself spoke of his work as a return to the standpoint ‘of the old classical economists from Adam Smith to Ricardo’ (1960, p. v), there is some basis for the designation. Its relationship to Marxism was then supposedly settled with the observation that ‘the Marxian theory of value ought to be understood as a critique rather than a development of Ricardo’s theory’ (Medio 1972, p. 313). This line of argument was taken up by Rowthorn (1974) in what remains perhaps the benchmark case of a modern Marxist critique of neo-Ricardianism.
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