Two translators: Gramsci and Sraffa

CSWP 1 (April 2014)

Author Andrea Ginzburg

Keywords Sraffa, Gramsci, Ricardo, Surplus Approach, causality

JEL B00, B24, B51

Through the Prison Notebooks and the papers left by Sraffa, it is possible to attempt a reconstruction of the intellectual paths taken by the two authors and discover unexpected convergences, as well as obvious differences. The key concept employed here is that of the 'translatability of scientific languages'. From this concept, Boothman has argued, stems the ‘open’ character of Gramsci’s Marxism. The theme of the translatability of languages is also present in Sraffa: in a Note written after the important theoretical turning point of the summer of 1927, he states his intention to write a book that will consist in the translation of Marx into English, that is in the translation of the ‘metaphysics’ of Hegel into that of Hume. It can be shown that issues that have a prominent importance in Gramsci’s thought help us to understand the meaning and importance of Production of Commodities by Means of Commodities.

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