Re: [OPE-L] measuring causes

From: michael a. lebowitz (mlebowit@SFU.CA)
Date: Sat Dec 17 2005 - 15:43:20 EST

         What you are doing is decomposing the rate of profit (and
there could be other variations-- eg., taking into account turnover
insofar as the appropriate rate of surplus value is the annual one),
but is that the same as identifying causes?
At 14:54 16/12/2005, Paul C wrote:
>Mike wrote:
>          This is a great opportunity for a systems-illiterate person
>like me to get an answer from a specialist. Assume that we have what
>Marx called a 'structure of society, in which all relations coexist
>simultaneously and support one another.' If you have a system with
>substantial interaction, feedback, etc (eg. change in X produces
>change in Y which produces change in Z which produces change in A
>which produces major change in Y), then how can we reason from the
>quantitative results of change to the weight to be assigned to
>causes? The unambiguous results you suggest would certainly be true
>if we assume no interaction effects (ie., that we can assign weights
>to factor A and to factor B but the value of AB approaches zero), but
>then the conclusion is embodied in the assumption.
>I cited that example because it ( with slight changes to the figures )
>came out of a conjectural analysis of the UK that Allin and I did
>back in 1976. The interaction effects here are negligible because
>Marxist economics gives us clear formulae for the rate of profit
>as a function of the other variables. One can take the partial
>of the rate of profit with respect to them along with the known
>data on the change in each of the individual variables and determine
>from this how much the change in c/v, s/v and p/s would, taken by
>themselves have produced as a change in the rate of profit.
>The point is that the whole formula captures the interaction between
>them, and since it is an analytic formula, you can compute its
>  On the other hand,
>how can we come to a weighting of causes from the empirical results?
>          in solidarity,
>          michael
>Michael A. Lebowitz
>Professor Emeritus
>Economics Department
>Simon Fraser University
>Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6
>Currently based in Venezuela. Can be reached at
>Residencias Anauco Suites
>Departamento 601
>Parque Central, Zona Postal 1010, Oficina 1
>Caracas, Venezuela
>(58-212) 573-4111
>fax: (58-212) 573-7724

Michael A. Lebowitz
Professor Emeritus
Economics Department
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6

Currently based in Venezuela. Can be reached at
Residencias Anauco Suites
Departamento 601
Parque Central, Zona Postal 1010, Oficina 1
Caracas, Venezuela
(58-212) 573-4111
fax: (58-212) 573-7724

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