Re: [OPE-L] Incoherence of the TSSI - consensus?

From: Anders Ekeland (anders.ekeland@ONLINE.NO)
Date: Mon Oct 22 2007 - 15:21:59 EDT

Dear Gary,

We seem to agree that you could have chosen a less provocative title,
but on the other hand the TSSI'ers should not let themselves be provoked.

Regarding the substantial issues - what kind of models are
appropriate for discussing ("proving") exploitation - that for me is
still an open question, but I have started to question the
fruitfulness of Smith/Ricardo - and to a certain extent Marx' use of
"long term equilibrium" when analyzing a system where technological
change - driven by competition is the main feature of the system.
Sorry not to be more advanced on this point.

I am no expert on the relationship between Smith, Ricardo and Marx,
but that is not that straight forward, i.e it changes like Marx view
of subsistence wages - the implications of which IMO Marx did not
discuss at length ASFAIK.

Regarding dynamics - where analytical solutions are impossible,
simulation can bee a tool, maybe we can learn something from Malerba
et al. "History friendly models". (Franco Malerba, Richard Nelson,
Luigi Orsenigo and Sidney Winter (2001) History-Friendly models: An
overview of the case of the Computer Industry Journal of Artificial
Societies and Social Simulation vol. 4, no. 3,)

Again - I will come back to these issues when I have more substantial
things to say.


At 17:24 22.10.2007, you wrote:
>Hi, all. Two quick responses to Anders.
>I agree that my title "Vulgar Economy in Marxian Garb" is
>provocative. It was intended to be so. But then, referring to Marx's
>precise definition of vulgar economy (as opposed to classical
>political economy, which he regarded as a genuinely scientific
>enterprise, albeit one that is flawed in  serious ways), the paper
>lays out why I think the charge is apt. One TSSI position is that
>since actual prices change over time, a theory which views them as
>long-period centers of gravitation must be false, hence cannot
>cannot capture central features of reality. This argument strikes me
>as akin to mistaking surface phenomena for appearances, exactly the
>mistake which Marx attribued to the vulgar economists who sought to
>explain value in terms of the proportion of demand to supply (the
>mercantilists, Malthus, Say, Bastiat). Many TSSI models trace out an
>intertemporal sequence of short-period prices, much as modern
>intertemporal genral equilibrium models do, and therefore suffer
>from the same methodological defects of those GE models. I argued
>also that there is substantial evidence that such models run counter
>to Marx's own methodological outlook.
>So I wasn't just trying to poke the TSSI school in the eye: I was
>attempting to call them out on what I believe to be their very weak
>arguments, and I was hoping for a serious rejoinder.
>But I don't feel that they have really responded to my specific
>criticisms. I've only skimmed Andrew Kliman's book, but I don't see
>that he has engaged my specific points; mainly he just dismisses
>them There were some stirrings, a year or two ago, of a strategy
>that might be in the works, though perhaps it has fizzled out. (I
>base this speculation on some comments I heard in debate at an
>Association for Heterodox Economics conference in London in 2005 or
>2006.) In my 2002 paper I argued that the TSSI denies what Marx
>explicitly acknowledged--that he was building on insights he
>discovered in Ricardo. At the London conference there were hints
>that the Sraffians are not only interpreting Marx incorrectly, but
>that they don't really understand Ricardo either. Yes, Marx drew on
>insights from Ricardo, that is obvious; but Ricardo, it turns out,
>was a temporalist as well, not an adherent to long-period
>equilibrium analysis. I've not seen the argument committed to print,
>so perhaps, as I say, it has been abandoned. But that position is,
>in my opinion, even more indefensible than the TSS interpretation of
>Marxian value theory.
>Anders also asked whether I have done any work on economic dynamics.
>I didn't mean to give the impression that I have done that sort of
>work myself. I haven't. I meant only to say that I support such work
>and believe it to be important. I don't think the particular
>approach to economic dynamics taken by Kliman, Freeman et al. is
>useful, and I would add that I have reservations about some of the
>Sraffian literature on accumulation & growth. Pasinetti's work in
>this vein is ambitious & insightful, but it shows also the
>limitations of a mathematical approach. I would favor a more
>historical or instituional approach.
>-----Original Message-----
>From: OPE-L on behalf of Anders Ekeland
>Sent: Sun 10/21/2007 12:54 PM
>Subject: Re: [OPE-L] Incoherence of the TSSI - consensus?
>         Dear Gary,
>         Maybe I was too quick on the trigger here, but that was certainly my
>         impression after reading the "Vulgar economy paper". Can you give me
>         a couple of references to your dynamic, non-equilibrium work.
>         I have a deadline Tuesday, so I can only get seriously back on this
>         after that - and when I have had time to study your dynamic,
>         non-equilibrium work.
>         Regards
>         Anders
>         At 19:37 20.10.2007, you wrote:
>         >May I just correct an inaccurate statement by Anders? He
> writes that:
>         >
>         >"Mongiovi and Veneziani only accept static equilibrium (input prices
>         >= output prices, Bortkiewicz, Sraffa, Steedman kind of models). They
>         >seem very unwilling to look outside this very limited paradigm."
>         >
>         >I don't believe I have ever suggested, and I know I have never
>         >believed, that the "static equilibrium paradigm" is the only
>         >legitimate framework for analyzing the world, or for interpreting
>         >Marx. On the contrary, I am on record as saying that Marx, like his
>         >predecessors Smith & Ricardo, was primarily concerned with issues
>         >that cannot be analyzed within that framework and that these issues
>         >are important. I have argued, however, that in his analysis of
>         >value, price determination & the main determinants of the profit
>         >rate, Marx adopted much the same method & approach of Smith &
>         >Ricardo, in which the objects of his investigation were conceived as
>         >long-period centers of gravitation.
>         >
>         >Gary
>         >
>         >

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