Income Distribution and Environmental Sustainability: A Sraffian Approach (Hardback) book cover

Income Distribution and Environmental Sustainability

A Sraffian Approach

By Robin Hahnel

© 2017 – Routledge

152 pages | 9 B/W Illus.

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About the Book

Any economics that does not deal forthrightly with economic inequality is no longer suitable for the twenty-first century. Similarly, any economics which does not provide a coherent way to integrate environmental sustainability into economic analysis will fail to command allegiance in the century ahead. This book demonstrates how the Sraffian framework provides important advantages in both areas.

Divided into three chapters, Income Distribution and Environmental Sustainability provides a rigorous exposition of Sraffian theory emphasizing what it means for the economy to be productive, extends Sraffian theory to address environmental sustainability, and adds a normative theory of income distribution to Sraffa’s positive theory. In Chapter 1, a rigorous version of the basic Sraffa model is presented which focuses on what it means for the economy to be capable of producing a physical surplus, explains the origin of profits, and shows how to measure changes in overall labor productivity resulting from any technical change. In Chapter 2, the basic model is extended to incorporate primary inputs from the natural environment, rigorously measure changes in environmental throughput efficiency, and establish sufficient conditions for environmental sustainability. In Chapter 3, an explicit "normative" theory of economic justice is elaborated which is a natural extension of Sraffa’s "positive" theory of income determination and consistent with modern egalitarian literature on distributive justice.

This book is of interest to academics and students who study political economy, economic theory, and philosophy, as well as those interested in the work of Piero Sraffa.

Reviews

‘Any economics that does not deal forthrightly with economic inequality is no longer suitable for the twenty-first century. Similarly, any economics which does not provide a coherent way to integrate environmental sustainability into economic analysis will fail to command allegiance in the century ahead. This book demonstrates how the Sraffian framework provides important advantages in both areas.’ — www.urpe.org (February 16, 2017)

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION

PART 1: SRAFFA AFTER FROBENIUS-PERRON

1.0 Introduction to Part One

1.1 Mathematical Notation, Definitions, and Theorems

1.2 The Dominant Eigenvalue and Right Eigenvector of the Economy

1.3 A Subsistence Economy

1.4 A Productive Economy

1.5 Division of the Net Product

1.6 Basic and Non-Basic Industries

1.7 Technical Change and the Rate of Profit

1.8 Technical Change and Social Efficiency

1.9 Resolving a Conundrum

1.10 Measuring Increases in Labor Productivity

Appendix A: Proofs of Mathematical Theorems.

PART 2: ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY IN A SRAFFA MODEL

2.0 Introduction to Part Two

2.1 Price and Income Determination with Multiple Primary Inputs

2.2 Measuring Environmental Throughput

2.3 Measuring Increases in Throughput Efficiency

2.4 Defining Environmental Sustainability

2.5 Implications for Steady-State and De-Growth Economics

2.6 Generalizing to Heterogeneous Nature

2.7 When Time Matters

PART 3: PRODUCERS AND PARASITES

3.0 Introduction to Part Three

3.1 It’s the Economy that’s Productive, Stupid!

3.2 The Prima Facie Case that Capitalists and Rentiers are Parasites

3.3 Arguments in Defense of Profits and Rents

3.4 What Counts: Contribution or Sacrifice?

3.5 Guilty, as Charged!

Appendix B: Reward for Effort and Modern Theories of Distributive Justice.

CONCLUSION

About the Author

Robin Hahnel is Professor Emeritus at the Department of Economics at American University Washington DC, USA, as well as the Co-Director of Economics for Equity and the Environment.

About the Series

Routledge Frontiers of Political Economy

In recent years, there has been widespread criticism of mainstream economics. This has taken many forms, from methodological critiques of its excessive formalism, to concern about its failure to connect with many of the most pressing social issues. This series provides a forum for research which is developing alternative forms of economic analysis. Reclaiming the traditional 'political economy' title, it refrains from emphasising any single school of thought, but instead attempts to foster greater diversity within economics.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUS000000
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / General
BUS023000
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Economic History