Open email to Sraffa Scholars and others interested worldwide announcing Digital Sraffa Online Project

Email below sent on August 29, 2016 announcing the Digital Sraffa project:

Dear Sraffa Scholars and others interested worldwide,

This email is bcc’d to over 230 Sraffa scholars and others interested in the archival legacy of the Italian Cambridge Economist Piero Sraffa. Please free free to forward this to anyone, as well as post on various blogs, etc.

My name is Scott Carter, Associate Professor of Economics at The University of Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA. I am happy to announce a project of mine called the Digital Sraffa. This is one of three independent projects that deals with Sraffa’s archival material, the other two being (i) the Selections project under the guidance of Heinz Kurz, et. al., and (ii) the online project led by Giancarlo de Vivo and his colleagues charged with putting the entirety of the archive on the web. As I say in my blog (see below), we may be from famine to feast in relatively short order! So interested scholars get ready!

I am very excited about these other two projects and their impending release and will certainly ensure that the Digital Sraffa interfaces nicely with them so that interested scholars will be able to navigate through the 3 different projects with relative ease.

My project is specific to the section of the Sraffa papers archived as D3/12; these are Sraffa’s Notes on Production of Commodities (PCMC).  This section is the heart of the archive in my opinion, and amounts to 115 file folders and over 7000 mostly handwritten pages.

I am happy to report that I have a complete color digital copy of all of the content in D3/12 – all 115 file folders and 7000+ pages, and the Digital Sraffa is the electronic interface of this material in its entirety. If and when allowed to be uploaded on the web, it is to be set in a user-friendly environment thus allowing for easy searching and downloading of these color images by scholars everywhere as it is my hope to be able to provide complete and unfettered access to this material worldwide. The images were taken with a handheld Canon Powershot and saved as JPEG files.  Each individual piece of archive is its own file, which means that with the Digital Sraffa people will be able to sort and search the material in D3/12 robustly according to various conventions as well as how they please.

There are many beautiful aspects of the Digital Sraffa, one of the main ones being that with the entirety of the material available as complete color images a mere click away, the overall meta-structure of the archive can be better understood. It is important to emphasize that since my project focusses on the larger meta-dimensions of the material in D3/12 only, it is a complement to the other Sraffa archive projects. In a word, here for the first time Sraffa’s archival material on PCMC can be studied as a complete organic text absent of the interpretational issues that scholars who are not fortunate enough to make their way to the Wren Library, Trinity College Cambridge, often must ford in their study of and interests in the objective content of Sraffa’s notes.

My work is meant to provide a bridge to D3/12 for interested scholars so that they can easier connect their work and that of others to the objective content of the material in the archive.  Believe me, as somebody who has had the privilege to study this material as a complete organic text using digital files which can be (re)assembled and sorted (unlike study at the Wren Reading Room where scholars are given one or two files at a time), I assure you the material in D3/12 is very fertile intellectually and subject to different but often no less valid interpretations.  After all, Sraffa himself said his book was only a Prelude; in my opinion the Prelude needs to be drawn to a close, and let the symphony truly begin! This will best happen in my opinion once interested scholars everywhere are able to access the material in its entirety, and read the content of the material on its own merit thereby making their own minds up as to the significance and ready-to-be-unleashed potentiality contained in those notes. Then scholars can see for themselves the amazing process whereby this brilliant mind winnowed-down these 7000+ pages into a monograph on the pure theory of value and distribution of less than 100 pages.

I am also happy to announce my blog, dubbed Heretical Sraffa: Furtive Thoughts on Economics and Economic Theory.  This will be devoted to the endeavor and I will be blogging on many aspects of section D3/12 of the Sraffa Papers. The blog can be found at the website: and also there is my twitter account

I will be blogging on this matter from now on; there is so much I have to share with those interested in understanding the structure and overall content of the section of Sraffa’s archival material devoted to Notes on PCMC archived as D3/12.

Please note that I look forward to developing the positive and constructive aspects of the material in D3/12; accordingly any criticisms I may have with other scholars will be amicable ones of substance regarding the theory and material. I hope that this is reciprocated by scholars critical of my work and efforts.

I look forward to the future of Sraffa scholarship. We are at a very exciting time and I know that the majority of Sraffa scholars will be very happy to know that perhaps the material will be made available for unfettered scientific study in short order.  Making such happen is my major impetus and motivation.

Kind Regards,

Scott Carter

Published by Scott Carter

Associate Professor of Economics The University of Tulsa Oklahoma USA