[OPE-L:6141] Re: Re: ideology of simultaneism and long term equilibrium

From: Rakesh Bhandari (rakeshb@stanford.edu)
Date: Fri Nov 02 2001 - 12:12:37 EST

Gerald_A_Levy <Gerald_A_Levy@email.msn.com> said: 

> In [6138] Rakesh quoted  Homa Katzouzian's Ideology and Method in
> Economics (New York University Press, 1980):
> > "Or in other words the Marxian theory of value, etc, suffered from the
> fact
> > that it was more realistic but less mathematical.
> Yet, non-equilibrium dynamic analysis is *more* mathematically sophisticated
> (i.e. complex)  than simultaneism, isn't it?
> In solidarity, Jerry

The common criticism of Marx from bourgeois economics is that his lack of 
mathematical sophistication disallowed him from working on the inputs and 
outputs simultaneously in the analysis of the transformation problem and 
technical change. 

The attempt to formalize Marx's arguments via the use of simultaneous equations 
putatively leads to the breakdown of his system. Because simultaneous equations 
seemed at the time seemed to be the most mathematically sophisticated approach 
available, the criticism thereby gained 'authority', though the use of 
simultaneous equations implied entirely unreasonable assumptions about the 
economy, e.g, technical change can be analyzed in terms of comparative statics. 
Form thus took precedence over content. 

(As I have argued, one can for the sake of argument successfully put Marx's 
transformation into simultaneous equations as long as one chooses the one 
invariance condition that is consistent with the critique of the adding up 
theory of value, though I do not think Marx believed that there existed the 
long term 'equilibrium' price of production implied by the use of simultaneism: 
prices of production for Marx were what was prices would have been in any 
period if counterfactually the profit rate had equalized and demand equalled 
supply; prices of production are not long term centers of gravity--indeed I do 
not even think Ricardo believed natural prices had this property.)

  It may be true that present attempts to make the formalization more realistic 
through difference equations or chaos theory are now more mathematically 
sophisticated than the older mathematicizations of Marx, but the reason for the 
superiority of such formalizations should not simply be that they are more 
mathematically sophisticated.



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