The great debates on the laws of returns and the value of capital: when will economists finally accept their own logic?





theory of the firm, prices, capital, marginalism


Despite long years of important studies and critical debates, economists who have come to grips with the laws of returns and the value of capital are few and far between. The criticisms have been ignored or regarded to the category of “paradoxes”, so as to put them on one side and thus justify the failure to give up outdated approaches. The work provides a thorough examination of this state of affairs. The author deals with fundamental questions regarding the theory of the firm and the connected theory of prices and the theory of capital, highlighting both the formal as well as the substantial differences between marginalists and the critics of marginalism.


JEL: D22, E30, E22


CUTILLI, R (1964), "Principio del costo pieno e teoria keynesìana", Rivista di politica economica,


DUNLOP, ].G. (1938), "The Movement of Real aod Money Wage Rates", Economie Joumal,


FI5HER, F.M. (1969), "The Existence of Aggregate Production Functions", Econometrica,


HAi-IN, F. (1982), "The neo-Ricardians", Cambridge Joumal ofEconomics, 6.

HALL, R.L., HrrCII, c.]. (1939), "Price Theory aod Economie Behaviour", Ox/ord Economie

Papers, May.

KALECKI, M. (1938), "The Determinants of the Distribution of National Incarne", Econometrica,


KEYNES, ].M. (1936), The GeneraI Theory ofEmployment, Interest andMoney, Londoo, Macmillan.

KEYNES, 1.M. (1939), "Relative Movemeots ofRea! Wages and Output", Economie fournal, March.

KREGEL, J,A. (1985), "Barrod and Keyoes: Increasing Returns, the Tbeory of Employment and

Dynamic Economics", in Keynes and his Contemporaries - The Sixth and Centennial Keynes,

Seminar held at the University of Kent- at Canterbury, 1983, edited by G.c. Harcourt,

London, Macmillan.

MANSf1ELD, E. (1970), Microeconomics. Theory and Applications, New York, Norton (quot. from

tbe IL editioo, 1975).

MARSHALL, A. (1949), Principles olEconomies, VIII edn., London, Macmillan.

MOMIGLIANO, F. (1975), Economia industriale e teoria dell'impresa, Bologna, llMulino.

PASINETII, L. (1977), "00 'oon-substitution' in production models", Cambridge fournal 01

Economics, I, p. 389-394.

PASINETTI, L. (1981), Structural Change and Economie Growth, Cambridge, Cambridge University


RICARDO, D. (1951), Works and Correspondence, edited by P. Sraffa, Cambridge University Press,

VoL I.

RICOSSA, S. (1981), Teoria unificata del valore economieo, Torino, Giappichelli.

SCHUi1PETER, J,A. (1934), Theory ofEconomic Development, Cambridge, Mass., Harvard University

Press (orig. Genn. edo. 1912).

SCHUMPETER, JA. (1939), Business Cycles - A Theoretical, Historieal and Statistical Analysis 01 the

Capitalist Process, New York, Mc Graw - Hill.

SRAFFA, P. (1926), "Tbe Laws of Returns under Competitive Conditions", Economie Journal,


SRAFFA, .P. (~960), Production 01 Commodities by Means 01 Commodities, Cambridge, Cambridge

Umverslty Presso

SYLOS LABINI, P. (1969), Oligopoly and Technical Progress, Cambridge, Malis., Harvard University

Press (orig. ItaI. edn. 1956).

SYLOS LABINI, P. (1982), Lezioni di economia - Microeconomia, Roma, Ateneo.

SYLOS LABINI, P. (1984), The Forces ofEconomie Growth and Decline, Cambridge, Mass., The MIT


TARSHIS, L. (1939), "Tbe MovementofReai and Mooey WageRates", EconomieJournal, March




How to Cite

SYLOS LABINI, P. (2013). The great debates on the laws of returns and the value of capital: when will economists finally accept their own logic?. PSL Quarterly Review, 41(166).