[OPE-L:4205] Re: Re: Part Two of Volume III of Capital

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@Princeton.EDU)
Date: Sat Oct 21 2000 - 17:41:06 EDT

On Sat, 21 Oct 2000, Rakesh Narpat Bhandari wrote:

> Re Steve's 4189
> >A more technical statement of my frustration with your approach is that
> >appeal to a system which, if stated in the form of dynamic equations,
> >have more unknowns than equations.

I agree with Steve: the problem I have with your mode of
argument is not that you're dodging empirical refutation, but
that you're dodging theoretical refutation, by introducing
complicating assumptions as the argument goes along so that your
opponent (e.g. me) is unable to pin you down to any particular
proposition and is eventually forced to give up.
You are kidding, right?
I introduced one (count it: ONE) complicating. albeit utterly realistic,
assumption to your non complex but utterly unrealistic simple reproduction
tableau--that productivity would be 5% greater in this period than in the
last. I followed out the logic of this one UTTERLY REALISTIC modification
to your scheme. Then I showed that this implied completely realistic
interperiodic changes in prices of production, s/v, total value/price even
if we kept r constant. I then suggested that the ability to demonstrate
such realistic change should, if anything, count in favor of Marx's
transformation procedure which necessarily implies all variables must be
time subscripted. (If we don't keep r constant, then the other variables
change less.) How this is not a realistic time path for the system you have
not explained. Why the completely unrealistic, anachronistic system of
simple reproduction should be preferred over this you have not explained. 

How someone as smart as you has not been able to keep track of the original
situation, i.e. simple reproduction, is truly beyond me as I only suggested
one simple, reasonable change and then examined its consequences.  My ideas
are difficult only insofar as you don't want to follow them. Anybody with
an 8th grade education in math could understand what I did to your simple
reproduction scheme. 

Allin wrote:
As regards the transformation, I have this diagnosis.  One
coherent view of the issue is that stemming from Bortkiewicz.  
I reply:

This is not coherent. The average rate of profit should have no place in
simple reproduction.  See my response to Paul C. 
Allin wrote:

There is a clear argument showing that Marx's two equalities
cannot both be sustained.  This argument is usually developed in
relation to a simple tableau showing simple reproduction.  Now
it would be weird and wonderful if one could show that while
Marx's two equalities don't hold in *that* case, they
nonetheless *do* hold in the case of extended reproduction with
ongoing technical change. 

I reply:

They do, you are doubtless an unmeasurably better economic model builder 
than I; so go ahead and construct such a case if you don't like how I
modified your original situation. Don't be scared; see where it leads you. 

Allin wrote:

 I don't believe you've shown anything
of the sort. 


I reply:
So are you not denying that someone smarter than me could do such a thing? 


Allin wrote:

 You've just complexified the example to the point
where we lose track of the original situation we're trying to
transform, then "anything goes".
I reply:

Allowing for interperiodic increases in labor productivity is
overcomplexification? You cannot seriously believe this. 
Allin wrote:
  You've said several times that some
further adjustment is called for due to the fact that Marx's
inputs are assumed to be priced at value, but you refuse to
follow out the logic of that admission.  Well then, consider the
I reply:

Have you yet even tried to meet my challenge that Marx never called for the
inputs to be transformed into the same prices of production as the outputs?
Once you remove that constraint to a solution--exactly because labor
productivity is increasing interperiodically so unit values cannot be
constant--then the transformation problem disappears, while all the
variables must necessarily be time subscripted. It's truly that simple. I
am confident that you understand exactly what I am saying.

All the best, Rakesh

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