From: Paul Cockshott (wpc@DCS.GLA.AC.UK)
Date: Sun Apr 22 2007 - 17:35:19 EDT
Rakesh: Agreed. Just saw Murray Milgate's entry on equilibrium in the Palgrave which he edited. Will have to copy it later. Equilibrium as supply and demand balance, as absence of internal or spontaneous source of change, as the outcome position towards which the system moves (eg equalized returns for capital, labor and land) ------------ Paul The above is a fair summary of the classical mechanical idea of equilibrium. The Boltzman idea is different, instead of the system in equilibrium being static, it is undergoing constant change, but macroscopic probability density functions that describe the system remain constant. Particles in the gas under go constant random motion but the PDF of particle energies remains constant. The distribution takes the form of the Gibbs-Boltzman PDF. Applied to political economy, it implies 1. That there is no one price for a commodity, but a random spread of prices at which individual sales take place 2. That the mean price of the commodity sold in any time interval will itself be randomly distributed. 3. That individual prices in equilibrium are governed by a stable PDF , typically the ratio P/L (price/Labour value) will have a log-normal distribution with mean of 0 4. The temporal means will also have a log-normal distribution, with mean 0, but with narrower standard deviations than shown by individual prices As Jurrian implied the same concept can be applied to income distribution. A given set of production relations will induce a characteristic PDf for incomes, empirical work and Ians simulations indicate that for capitalist relations of production these take the form of a power law distribution. For simple commodity production Ians work and that of Yakovenko indicate that the characteristic PDF is the Gibbs-Boltzman one. --------------------- or a stable centre of gravity around which price moves--these are themselves quite different meanings of equilibrium and each of them has multiple meanings too. Which aspects of equilibrium does Marx accept, if any? We of course need clarity here.
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