[OPE-L:1419] Re: Math and numbers

Paul_Cockshott (wpc@cs.strath.ac.uk)
Mon, 11 Mar 1996 01:45:14 -0800

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Usually the only way we can bring out these implicit postulates
is to confront a model with numerical examples which break its
restrictions, as I do. I am becoming alarmed that we are still
awaiting a reply to these examples, some of which have been posted
three times now.

Therefore, your statement to me sounds back to front. The
problem is surely not to use models to impose assumptions on
data; it is to use the data to reveal the assumptions behind

That is why I deliberately construct numerical examples in
which prices change while production is in progress, precisely
because an *implicit* assumption of the simultaneist
construction is that this cannot happen. When we apply the
simultaneist construction to these examples, it breaks down and
the hidden assumptions become clear. Without the numbers,
this assumption would never become apparent.

The reason that I find these numerical examples
rather uninformative, is that they too have all sorts
of hidden assumptions: discrete time, synchronised
production, no fixed capital, no output stocks etc.
At least in a formal model you can explicitly analyse
the effects of taking these into account, and state
what you are assuming about them.