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Investigación económica

versión impresa ISSN 0185-1667


ARJON, Pedro. The Theory of the Utilities of David Ricardo in the Essay and the Theory of Edward West. Inv. Econ [online]. 2006, vol.65, n.258, pp.161-193. ISSN 0185-1667.

The primary purpose of this work is to provide evidence that can be used as a basis to issue a ruling regarding whether Ricardo´s profit theory in the Essay was formulated separately from West´s work. To do this, a critical analysis is made of the two significant sources of confusion attributable to Sraffa: The first concerns his affirmation that Ricardo had read West´s Essay after publication of his own; the second refers to the hypothesis regarding the existence of a wheat model in Ricardo´s theory, stated and discussed in the correspondence with Malthus since March 1814, and which, in Sraffa´s opinion, would constitute the "rational basis" for the regulatory paper regarding an agriculturally profitable rate, a thesis supported by Ricardo in his Essay about the profitability of capital.

Research conducted suggests that there are no bases to affirm with certainty that Ricardo read West's Essay in the days following publication of his own. Additionally, the analysis of the correspondence shows that the hypothesis of a wheat model is not required to prove the originality of Ricardo´s work, by virtue the fact that the author had discussed his theory gradually and it was almost finished, in its fundamental structure, prior to the appearance of West's work.

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