Value and prices in Russian economic thought (1890-1920)


Request a copy
Serval ID
PhD thesis: a PhD thesis.
Value and prices in Russian economic thought (1890-1920)
Allisson F.
Bridel  P.
Institution details
Université de Lausanne, Faculté des hautes études commerciales
Centre Walras-Pareto, Université de Lausanne, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
Publication state
Issued date
Number of pages
The subject "Value and prices in Russian economic thought (1890--1920)" should evoke several names and debates in the reader's mind. For a long time, Western scholars have been aware that the Russian economists Tugan-Baranovsky and Bortkiewicz were active participants to the Marxian transformation problem, that the mathematical models of Dmitriev prefigured forthcoming neoricardian based models, and that many Russian economists were either supporting the Marxian labour theory of value or being revisionists. Moreover, these ideas were preparing the ground for Soviet planning. Russian scholars additionally knew that this period was the time of introduction of marginalism in Russia, and that, during this period, economists were active in thinking the relation of ethics with economic theory. All these issues are well covered in the existing literature.
But there is a big gap that this dissertation intends to fill. The existing literature handles these pieces separately, although they are part of a single, more general, history. All these issues (the labour theory of value, marginalism, the Marxian transformation problem, planning, ethics, mathematical economics) were part of what this dissertation calls here "The Russian synthesis". The Russian synthesis (in the singular) designates here all the attempts at synthesis between classical political economy and marginalism, between labour theory of value and marginal utility, and between value and prices that occurred in Russian economic thought between 1890 and 1920, and that embraces the whole set of issues evoked above.
This dissertation has the ambition of being the first comprehensive history of that Russian synthesis. In this, this contribution is unique. It has always surprised the author of the present dissertation that such a book has not yet been written. Several good reasons, both in terms of scarce availability of sources and of ideological restrictions, may accounted for a reasonable delay of several decades. But it is now urgent to remedy the situation before the protagonists of the Russian synthesis are definitely classified under the wrong labels in the pantheon of economic thought.
To accomplish this task, it has seldom be sufficient to gather together the various existing studies on aspects of this story. It as been necessary to return to the primary sources in the Russian language. The most important part of the primary literature has never been translated, and in the last years only some of them have been republished in Russian. Therefore, most translations from the Russian have been made by the author of the present dissertation. The secondary literature has been surveyed in the languages that are familiar (Russian, English and French) or almost familiar (German) to the present author, and which are hopefully the most pertinent to the present investigation. Besides, and in order to increase the acquaintance with the text, which was the objective of all this, some archival sources were used. The analysis consists of careful chronological studies of the authors' writings and their evolution in their historical and intellectual context.
As a consequence, the dissertation brings new authors to the foreground - Shaposhnikov and Yurovsky - who were traditionally confined to the substitutes' bench, because they only superficially touched the domains quoted above. In the Russian synthesis however, they played an important part of the story. As a side effect, some authors that used to play in the foreground - Dmitriev and Bortkiewicz - are relegated to the background, but are not forgotten. Besides, the dissertation refreshes the views on authors already known, such as Ziber and, especially, Tugan-Baranovsky.
The ultimate objective of this dissertation is to change the opinion that one could have on "value and prices in Russian economic thought", by setting the Russian synthesis at the centre of the debates.
Russian economic thought, theory of value and prices, synthesis, Tugan-Baranovsky, Ziber, Shaposhnikov, Yurovsky
Create date
14/09/2012 17:18
Last modification date
20/08/2019 15:31
Usage data