[OPE-L:5331] Re: Re: Re: is technical change continuous or discontinuous?

From: Steve Keen (s.keen@uws.edu.au)
Date: Wed Apr 04 2001 - 15:48:36 EDT

"Keynesian" doesn't mean what you find in the typical macro textbook--at 
least not to Post Keynesians. The discussion in textbooks is normally some 
asinine piece of neoclassicism, and the framework of analysis is static so 
that technical change is effectively ignored.

Continuous doesn't mean "constant rate of change". My more advanced 
aggregate models have an endogenous change component, so that the rate of 
technical change slows down during slumps and rises during booms.

No, Goodwin wasn't looking at those issues--he did assume a constant rate 
of change and ignored issues of capital ageing, depreciation, etc. However, 
others have added those features to his models, and the post keynesian 
tradition has a large number of technical papers on these topics. Geoff 
Harcourt's work is a reasonable place to start, but there's also Garegnani, 
Pasinetti, and many others.

At 02:13 AM 4/5/01, you wrote:
>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

Dr. Steve Keen
Senior Lecturer
Economics & Finance
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School of Economics and Finance
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