[OPE-L:5754] Re: Re: the infinite quantity of logically plausible social theories theorem (IQLPSTT)

From: Steve Keen (s.keen@uws.edu.au)
Date: Sat Jun 02 2001 - 21:48:31 EDT

Walrasian theory isn't logically consistent Gerry: ever since Gorman 
(1953!) showed that general equilibrium depends upon all consumers having 
parallel linear Engels curves, logical consistency in the Walrasian scheme 
went out the window. What's general about general equilibrium when it is 
only valid for a single consumer and a single commodity?

There are *many* other logical conundrums in the theory--I couldn't have 
written a 350 page book on it if there weren't!

So Blaug's comment is an additional reason--even if it were logically 
coherent, it still ain't relevant to our world. But it's not logically 

At 11:20 AM 6/3/01 Sunday, you wrote:
>Re Andy's [5750]:
> > Re the notion of 'infinite logically plausible
> > theories': What do you  mean by 'logically
> > plausible'? This is a very curious phrase.
>Hi Andy.
>I agree it's a curious and awkward phrase. What
>I meant was a set of possible social theories which
>(to use expressions you also used earlier in your
>post) have the sole common characteristic that
>they are all 'logically coherent' when considered
>'by the standards of analytical logic'.
>Note that there is no requirement for the 'logically
>plausible social theories' to have any relevance to
>the contemporary real world  for the species homo
>sapiens on the planet of Earth. I would include in
>this set Walrasian theory which is 'internally
>consistent' in its own terms but (as Steve K might
>say) is 'bunk' because its characteristics are of
>some hypothetical economy which bears no
>necessary relation to a specifically capitalist
>economy. Thus no matter how 'logical' it is, it
>is essentially 'humbug' (or perhaps more
>generously, bad science fiction.)  Other
>logically coherent social theories could be
>developed for the "Planet of the Air Eaters"
>where the 'worker' humanoids live on air!
>While these theories also can be logically
>coherent theories, these defining characteristics
>mean that they can not then be applied to a
>completely different social structure (e.g. the
>capitalist mode of production on the planet
>The important point is that *no matter how
>internally consistent a social theory is*,  it must
>still pass (from a materialist perspective) a
>"relevancy test".  _One_ "relevancy test", if the
>object is to comprehend capitalism as a
>historically specific mode of production,  has
>to do with the *SPECIFICATION* of the
>theory.  If, for example, essential, defining
>characteristics of this mode of production are
>not specified as internal characteristics of the
>theory, then it must be *rejected* no matter how
>'logically consistent' it is. E.g. if a theory which
>purports to be descriptive of capitalism has no
>classes, then this constitutes a sufficient reason
>for its rejection. (Actually, I think that Blaug
>was making a similar point in the sharp critique of
>neo-neo-classical theory that Steve K reproduced
>in  5740.)  The Marxian conception of truth,
>therefore, as Alejandro VB I   believe correctly
>points out  in [5749] is practice (this is, after all, a
>consequence of a materialist interpretation of
> > Re discussing more concrete things: What you
> > say is fair enough
> > but I think the reason that abstract issues (eg
> > TP) are discussed is
> > because they have massive implications for more > concrete work.
>They _might_ have important ('massive')
>implications for analyzing more concrete subjects,
>but I don't think that there is much (any?)
>evidence to show that that is 'the reason' these
>abstract issues are discussed at length.
>In solidarity, Jerry
>PS: thanks to Gary, Allin, Steve K, Rakesh
>(and others off-list) who have wished me (a
>somewhat premature) 'Bon Voyage'.

Home Page: http://www.debunking-economics.com
Dr. Steve Keen
Senior Lecturer
Economics & Finance
Campbelltown, Building 11 Room 30,
School of Economics and Finance
s.keen@uws.edu.au 61 2 4620-3016 Fax 61 2 4626-6683
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