[OPE-L:1405] Re: Math, methodology and political economy

glevy@acnet.pratt.edu (glevy@acnet.pratt.edu)
Sun, 10 Mar 1996 11:48:08 -0800

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Gil asked me to "return the favor" by addressing the "questions" he posed
in [OPE-L:1389]. I could only find one question proper:

> How do you determine the tendencies and counter-tendencies of a
> system? What would be an example of this?

A short answer from Mino's book:

"The tendencies are primary in the sense that they are the state towards
which the counter-tendencies constantly gravitate while the
counter-tendencies are secondary in the sense that they are deviations
from the tendency. This means ... that the tendency either cannot
manifest itself at all or can manifest itself either only partly or only
cyclically. Be that as it may, the tendency can only exist in conjunction
with its counter-tendencies. The reason for this is that the same
determinant instance which determines the tendency also determines the
counter-tendencies." (_Frontiers of Political Economy_, p. 300). An
example follows on pp. 300-301. Of course, in Marx the best-known and
most contentious example is the "law of the tendency for the general rate
of profit to decline" and its "counteracting factors."

I would have to say, in addition, that one can only identify the
tendencies vs. counter-tendencies logically in term of the overall
structure of the theory. In other words, this is a question of
theory-building rather than an empirical question.

In OPE-L Solidarity,