Re: [OPE-L] A startling quotation from Engels

From: Ian Wright (wrighti@ACM.ORG)
Date: Mon Aug 20 2007 - 17:52:28 EDT

> I will be visiting Dr Gondzio at Edinburgh University tomorrow to discuss the work he has
> been doing on solving linear programming problems with one billion variables with
> novel algorithms. So this area is experiencing very significant advances in the last
> few years.

I wonder if the problem is not one of computation but of
representation? One billion variables implies one billion explicit
definitions of distinct commodity types. It requires work to create
such definitions (e.g., defining the thousands of different kinds of
apples) and to categorise concrete instances of commodities. Plus, new
commodity types will appear and old ones will die, requiring continual
maintenance work to maintain the active list of commodity types that
constitute the dimensions of the IO matrix. Maybe you have a creative
solution to this problem, or accept the social cost. But perhaps a
linear programming representation of an economy is not a good one,
even for planning?

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