[OPE-L:5846] Re: HES: QUERY -- reswitching

From: Steve Keen (s.keen@uws.edu.au)
Date: Sat Jun 09 2001 - 16:49:39 EDT

Yes Mark,

But there is also the question of whether an empirical retort is suitable 
for a logical critique.

In some circumstances, it is: for example, the 'Friedmanian retort' (which 
itself is probably not true, of course) that Galileo ignored air resistance 
when developing a theory of the effect of gravity, which of course Friedman 
'answers' by saying that air resistance is negligible in the circumstances 
of his experiment.

I don't believe the same can be said of this topic, since it goes to the 
logical foundations of the analysis--and especially the theory of income 

If it can, then there's another equally devastating logical critique which 
could then also be said to legitimately dismiss a logical critique on the 
ground of empirical evidence: the labor theory of value.

There are at least some modern-day proponents of that theory (Paul 
Cockshott, Allin Cottrell and perhaps a few others) who argue that the 
logical critiques of the LTV are irrelevant, since on their statisticalr 
research, embodied labor values are better predictors of relative prices 
that Sraffian or other input-output derived imputed prices.

So if some economists are willing to excuse the reswitching controversy 
(and the other aspects of Sraffa's 1960 critique, including the income 
distribution and capital measurement challenges) on the basis of empirical 
irrelevance, are they also willing to accept that the labor theory of value 
could be valid, on the basis of the empirical irrelevance of the 
transformation problem?

Steve Keen
At 01:35 PM 6/8/01 Friday, you wrote:
>----------------- HES POSTING -----------------
>Yes, any attempt to bypass the reswitching conundrum by purely theoretical 
>arguments must obviously fail. The only argument,as I have endlessly but 
>fruitlessly contended, is an empirical one:noone has ever shown that 
>reswitching actually occurs in any even quasi-realistic model. The analogy 
>with positively sloped demand curves is perfect!
>Mark Blaug
>------------ FOOTER TO HES POSTING ------------
>For information, send the message "info HES" to lists@eh.net.

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