[OPE-L] Fw: [OPE-L] Prof. Perelman and the quantification problem

From: Jurriaan Bendien (adsl675281@TISCALI.NL)
Date: Wed Jun 20 2007 - 11:28:00 EDT

----- Original Message -----
From: "Michael Perelman" <michael@ecst.csuchico.edu>
To: "Jurriaan Bendien" <adsl675281@tiscali.nl>
Sent: Wednesday, June 20, 2007 3:11 AM
Subject: Re: [OPE-L] Prof. Perelman and the quantification problem

> thanks. i was joking about the prof. insult.
> On Tue, Jun 19, 2007 at 09:02:07PM +0200, Jurriaan Bendien wrote:
>> Michael,
>> That is most gratifying, but I did not mean to insult you, or really
>> intend
>> something pejorative. I think generally "Prof." is more an honorific
>> title,
>> used with respect. I've referred to "Dr" Kliman sometimes where I think
>> he
>> substitutes argument from authority for fair argument, in a wiki context,
>> but that is another story. Being a Professor is a perfectly honorable
>> occupation, I mean I'd like to be one often, except I don't have a string
>> of
>> publications in refereed journals etc. which you need. I guess the
>> downside
>> of the occupation is, that you still have to spend quite a bit of time on
>> administration, rather than on research.
>> I think you're correct, it is almost impossible to measure abstract
>> labour
>> and to find a valid MELT is difficult, although you can theorise about
>> it. I
>> say that because at various times I have tried to calculate labour
>> quantities empiricaly, and tried to identify all the measurement problems
>> (among other things, paid labour hours do not necessarily inform us about
>> actual work done). But you can develop some indicators, which raise
>> interesting questions. Why does South Korea work significantly more
>> hours,
>> for a proportionally lower GDP than Holland, for instance? Although to my
>> knowledge nil research has been done in this area, it would be possible
>> to
>> demonstrate very large disparities internationally, between actual work
>> done, the output value of that work, and the incomes gained from it. We
>> have
>> available fairly good dollar-value data on GDP measurements, but we know
>> very little about the workers who PRODUCED that GDP. The ILO still
>> doesn't
>> have an internationally comparable and complete data set for labour force
>> variables. Quite spectacular, if you think about it.
>> It's just that you suggested once that Marx's theory is more a
>> qualitative
>> theory than a quantitative one. That doesn't seem quite correect to me,
>> some
>> aspects you can measure - directly or indirectly - while some aspects you
>> cannot. In reality, a lot of cutting-edge economics these days is just
>> intelligent guesswork, i.e. working out the probabilistic relationships
>> between variables empirically thought to be influencing an outcome in
>> important ways. We could call it the "mathematization of Capital".
>> As I suggested before, one of the purposes of measurement, apart from
>> testing a theory, is to get very exact about what we operationally mean
>> by
>> our concepts. So even if it turns out we cannot measure something, at
>> least
>> we have the knowledge of what it operationally means.
>> The trouble with many Marxist MELT theories to my way of thinking is that
>> they take the concepts of inputs and outputs for granted, whereas in
>> reality
>> a lot also depends on how you define inputs and outputs within an
>> accounting
>> system of transactors, and what system of grossing and netting you use.
>> The
>> Gross Output concept itself relies on a definition of the boundaries of
>> production, and Net Output relies on a definition of the boundaries of
>> intermediate consumption. Marx never really talked much about "inputs and
>> outputs", he was talking about a sum of capital being converted into a
>> larger sum of capital. Sure, an input or output is a sum of capital, but
>> any
>> accountant can tell you, that a stock of capital assets is not
>> necessarily
>> the same as a stock (or flow value) of inputs and outputs.
>> Sincerely,
>> Jurriaan
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: "Michael Perelman" <michael@ecst.csuchico.edu>
>> To: "Jurriaan Bendien" <adsl675281@TISCALI.NL>
>> Sent: Tuesday, June 19, 2007 3:01 AM
>> Subject: Re: [OPE-L] Prof. Perelman and the quantification problem
>> >I don't see anything here that I cannot accept, except the pejorative,
>> >Prof.
> --
> Michael Perelman
> Economics Department
> California State University
> Chico, CA 95929
> Tel. 530-898-5321
> E-Mail michael at ecst.csuchico.edu
> michaelperelman.wordpress.com
> --
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> 15:02

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