[OPE-L:2923] Andrew's #2919 Challenge Re the Okishio Theorem

Gerald Lev (glevy@pratt.edu)
Fri, 30 Aug 1996 08:03:52 -0700 (PDT)

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Andrew wrote in [OPE-L:2919]:

> That is, *if* Okishio or Roemer state (E) or the
> equivalent explicitly in their major presentations of the "Okishio Theorem,"
> then the theorem has not been refuted in the narrow sense. However,
> *if* they do not state (E) or the equivalent explicitly, then the
> theorem has been refuted, even in the narrow sense. <snip>
> We will then have a simple, unambiguous empirical test of my claim to
> have refuted the theorem in the narrow sense (though John came first,
> of course).
> Upon presenting a statement of (E), or the equivalent, made by Okishio or
> Roemer, the presenter will have proven my claim to be false. I will retract
> it publicly, explicitly, in print (if I'm allowed). Otherwise, a valid
> counterexample to the theorem has been put forth, and this should be
> acknowledged.


I did a little homework and blew away the dust on some articles and books
in my apartment.

Regarding Okishio's "Technical Changes and the Rate of Profit" (_Kobe
University Economic Review_, 1961), I did not find a statement of (E) or
the equivalent.

I also did not find (E) or the equivalent in the following other articles
by Okishio:

-- "Fixed Capital and Extended Reproduction" (_Kobe University Economic
Review_, 1975);

-- "A Formal Proof of Marx's Two Theorems" (_Kobe University Economic
Review, 1972);

-- "A Mathematical Note on Marxian Theorems" (_Weltwirtschaftsliches
Archiv_, 1963);

-- "Monopoly and the Rates of Profit" (_Kobe University Economic Review_,

Of course, not all of the above articles dealt with the Okishio Theorem.

Regarding Roemer, I did not find (E) or the equivalent in "The Effect of
Technological Change on the Real Wage and Marx's Falling Rate of Profit"
(_Australian Economic Papers, June, '78).

I also did not find (E) or the equivalent in Roemer's books _Analytical
Foundations of Marxian Economic Theory_ (Cambridge University Press, 1981)
or _Value, Exploitation and Class_ (harwood academic publishers, 1986).


One of the following three possibilities remains:

(1) I missed something.
I consider this unlikely since I sincerely doubt that Andrew would
make such a strong challenge and claim unless he was prepared to back
it up. I do think, though, that in the interests of good scholarship,
others should also examine the "empirical evidence."

(2) One could object to the nature of Andrew's challenge.
If so, what are the objections?

(3) The Okishio Theorem has been refuted.
Of course, this does not mean that other critiques of Okishio are
not valid.

In OPE-L Solidarity,