[OPE-L:6191] econometrics

From: Gerald_A_Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@email.msn.com)
Date: Sat Nov 17 2001 - 13:11:21 EST

I received the following from former listmember Jurriaan
Bendien <j.bendien@wolmail.nl:

> Hi Jerry !
> Insofar as econometrics is concerned with the measurement of economic
> trends in order to build models and extrapolate future trends (make
> predictions), this is surely a worthwhile pursuit for the followers of
> Marx. As I mentioned in a post quite a while ago, towards the end of his
> life Marx corresponded with Samuel Moore about the possibility of
> the ups and downs of the trade cycle statistically and mathematically. The
> main problem at the time, however, was that no satisfactory statistical
> data were available to do the job properly.
> So there is ipso facto no reason at all to believe such a pursuit is
> "unMarxist".
> The main issue is rather how we go about it - in an eclectic, empiricist
> manner (bringing in exogenous variables as soon as the model fails to
> explain a trend) or instead with the benefit of a theory which postulates
> causal relationships between key variables, and with due regard to
> historical circumstances ? Fundamentalists like Ira Gerstein and Geoffrey
> Pilling claimed once that value relations cannot be measured. Similarly
> "theoretical practice" of Althusserianism is undisciplined by empirical
> research. But such "theoreticism" obviously has nothing in common with the
> approach of Marx and Engels, who were actually the first to attempt to
> measure the rate of surplus-value empirically.  The point of economic
> research is rather to bring theory and the data closer together, so that
> theory is disciplined by the data of experience, and the study of the data
> is informed and guided by theory. Econometric techniques are certainly
> useful in this regard !
> I have just been reading Chris Freeman & Fransisco Louca's book "As Time
> Goes By" (Oxford University Press, 2001) which makes a powerful case for
> the combination of causal theory, statistical analysis, and historiography

> in order to understand the long-term evolution of capitalism. It isn't a
> specifically "Marxist" book but I recommend it anyway !
> Regards
> Jurriaan

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