[OPE-L:2951] Re: Okishio and the poverty of mathematical economics

andrew kliman (Andrew_Kliman@msn.com)
Tue, 3 Sep 1996 12:40:41 -0700 (PDT)

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In ope-l 2929, Allin asks for my response to Steve's judgment that "lurking
behind an equal-rate-of-profit condition is an (not always explicit)
assumption of methodological individualism."

It seems to me that Steve is right when, but only when, (a) the equal
rate-of-profit condition is invoked as the (realized or unrealized) outcome of
a competitive process of individual capitals seeking maximum profit AND (b)
the search for maximum profit is attributed to some "pre-given rationality"
(to use Steve's expression) shared by the individual capitals. It is not
clear to me that, for instance, Wolff/Callari/Roberts invoke (a) when they
assume a uniform profit rate. I think that Bruce (Roberts) justifies this
assumption as a structural abstraction, not the outcome of a process. And I
think that Marx, for instance, does not adopt (b), but argues that competition
forces capitals to try to maximize profit.

Having read and reviewed (for ROPE) Steve's book on the FRP debate, I think he
is on more solid ground in his broader argument that the Okishio theorem
debate has taken place on the terrain of the Cartesian totality and
methodological individualism. Were Steve to have included the work of John,
Alan, or I in his discussion of the debate, however, I think that this
argument would be weakened, since we dispute the theorem on value-theoretic
grounds, and not in terms of its modeling of individual goals and behaviors.

Andrew Kliman