[OPE-L] the long and the short of it

From: Jerry Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Wed Sep 13 2006 - 11:15:03 EDT

> So you have to come down
> from total to less total, you have to draw some lines
> to frame your canvas, to delimit your subject matter
> or the object of enquiry. <snip>

> As far as I'm concerned, a short story model is
> good enough for me.


A "short story model" also requires that you frame your
canvas and delimit your subject matter or object of
inquiry.  While a short-story is desirable, where possible,
it is possible to delineate the subject matter in such a way
that the short story is _too_ short in order to explain
essential aspects of a subject.  You may ask:  what is
essential?  Well, if the subject is capitalism, then -- for
instance -- money is an essential aspect of that subject. If
one has a theory of capitalism which could  also be used
to describe non-capitalist modes of production or doesn't
have an adequate theory of money (and instead substitutes the
fiction of numeraire) then one's story is too short. Walrasian
theory, for instance, is "too short".

I am reminded of  the "short story" of _Capital_  given on PEN-L
once by Doug Henwood.  His story condensed Marx's story
in _Capital_ (all three volumes)  to a one-sentence short paragraph.
I imagine, if he were asked,  Doug could come up with a one para.
condensation of  Sraffa's _PCMC_.  Too short or good enough?  I
don't think that's merely an "aesthetic" question. (and, while of no
great import, I don't think Sraffa would think that either.)

In solidarity, Jerry

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