From the Core to the Cores: Surplus Approach, Institutions and Economic Formations

CSWP 45 (October 2020)

Author Sergio Cesaratto and Stefano Di Bucchianico

Keywords surplus approach; economic anthropology; economic formations; institutions; capitalism.

JEL A12; B51; B52.

The paper moves from Garegnani’s “core” of the classical income distribution theory to propose a deeper integration of the concept of social surplus and institutions. Our main tenet is that the social surplus does not exist independently of the institutions (or social order) that oversee its production and distribution, starting from those that prevail in the sphere of production. In this sense we supplement the surplus approach with important insights from the Polanyian approach, from economic archaeology and anthropology, but also from Sraffian authors and Sraffa’s manuscripts. Taking inspiration from Garegnani’s core while also considering its specificities, this work is a premise to the design of different economic “cores” for different stylized economic formations.

Download the paper