[OPE-L:5328] Re: Re: is technical change continuous or discontinuous?

From: Gerald_A_Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@email.msn.com)
Date: Wed Apr 04 2001 - 12:13:01 EDT

Re Steve K's [5327]:

> Technical change is one of those processes
> which is clearly discrete at the
> individual level, but which is suitably modelled
> as continuous at the  aggregate level.

Thanks for the food for thought, but ...

I guess the question, then, is whether technical
change is, as you assert , suitably modeled as
continuous at the aggregate level.

This of and in itself raises the question of the
whether there is a *feedback mechanism*
between the level of individual branches of
production, the micro level, and aggregate,
macro, activity. In the Keynesian model,
the aggregate level is all there is. Within Marx's
theory, where competition is a necessary form
appearance of capital, the perspective is

> For example, birth and death are clearly discrete events at the individual
> level. But population models which presume a continuous rate of population
> growth are very accurate for large populations. A similar perspective is
> possible for technical change.

I think this is a poor analogy and we can not
assume that  the same way of modeling
changes in population growth (_or_ decline)
can be used for modeling technical change.
Moreover, population _growth_ is, btw,
not continuous and for long periods of time
might be declining or stable.

> As for which Marxist first began to model technical change as a continuous
> process, that's possibly a question better asked of the HES list. However,
> clearly this concept was used by Goodwin in 1957.

But Goodwin didn't look at quite the same
issues, e.g. the age stratification of constant
fixed capital and the discontinuous process
of moral depreciation, did he?

In solidarity, Jerry

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