[OPE-L:2978] Re: Math Theorems, Economic Theorems

Allin Cottrell (cottrell@wfu.edu)
Fri, 6 Sep 1996 12:14:37 -0700 (PDT)

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A few comments on recent postings...

1. On Jerry's birthday card, congratulations and thanks for
taking the initiative in setting up ope. We have done pretty
well in terms of generating sustained discussion with a
relatively low rhetoric quotient.

2. On Stephen Cullenberg's "I think it is a dodge for [amyone] to say
that an equal rate of profit condition is a structural abstraction and
not the outcome of a process. Why this particular structural
assumption?" -- d'accord.

3. On Andrew's response re. my remarks on the maximum profit rate:
Fair enough, this was too sloppy. I wonder, though (I haven't yet
attempted to think this through in detail) to what extent the
counter-argument (i.e. that what happens to r-max cannot be
used to make non-trivial inferences about what happens to r)
depends on r-equalization? That is, on everything being
measured in prices of production. If -- as Paul C and I have
urged -- we conceive of prices as being stochastically
distributed around values, exactly what difference does that
make to the argument? I know that Roemer, for instance, does
talk some about the trajectory of the value rate of profit in
an Okishio-type context... (to be continued, I hope).

4. Andrew on Okishio and Perron-Frobenius: I don't think
you can say that the "economic content" of Okishio is just
an arbitrary assignment of economics-sounding strings to
mathematical objects. For one thing, it seems clear that
thinking about Okishio has forced greater explicitness regarding
certain economic matters. Are we sure that Marx had a definite
assumption in mind regarding whether or not input prices
equalled output prices? Surely it is reflection on Okishio
that has made this appear as an issue.

Allin Cottrell
Department of Economics
Wake Forest University