[OPE-L:6138] ideology of simultaneism and long term equilibrium

From: Rakesh Bhandari (rakeshb@stanford.edu)
Date: Fri Nov 02 2001 - 02:35:36 EST

>From Homa Katzouzian's Ideology and Method in Economics (New York University 
Press, 1980):

"...one is left wondering why we badly need a Marxian or post Marxian general 
equilibrium model which refers to 'political economic models of *competitive* 
capitalism...However, [Arun] Bose's reference to 'one "Walrasian" property 
which every theory of "general interdependence" under competitive capitalism 
must have' may give us a hint on some other reasons for his defense of the 
necessity of a general equilibrium model:

[HK then quotes Bose]:

'This is the insight which made Walras cast the problem of general 
interdependence and long run values in a competitive capitalist market system 
in the form of the equilibrium values *derived from a system of simultaneous 
equations [emphasis HK]...the Marxian theory of value, capital and exploitation 
suffered much...from the *lack* of this insight...'

"Or in other words the Marxian theory of value, etc, suffered from the fact 
that it was more realistic but less mathematical. For the recognition of 
sectoral economic interdependence itself does not require much insight; and 
even it had done so at at time that must certainly have been before the French 
physiocrats. Whereas the concept of *simultaneous* adjustments and equilibria 
is hardly a matter for *insight*; it is not even an abstraction from reality, 
but almost a figment of the imagination. Now perhaps a case can be made for the 
use of such an abstraction in theoretical analysis. But to call it an *insight* 
is clearly not a correct use of language. In any case this looks like an 
example of where a preference for the form, for mathematical techniques, would 
tend to determine the content, the research agenda, of an approach to economic 
theory." p. 176-77

TSS'ers may be interested in Katouzian's comments on the workings of invisible 
colleges in economics. Haven't read Katouzian's economic histories of Persia, 
either. Does anyone know anything about him? I enjoyed this book. 


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