[OPE-L:3432] Re: assumptions, assumptions, assumptions

Gerald Lev (glevy@pratt.edu)
Tue, 15 Oct 1996 14:32:24 -0700 (PDT)

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I will respond to Alan's [OPE-L:3431] in two parts. In this post I will
deal with substantive issues related to the "accumulation of capital
revisited" (and "assumptions, assumptions, assumptions") threads.

> I know
> Jerry doesn't rate the distinction between a model and an
> illustration - but we do.

Alan -- *you* have *repeatedly* referred to what you were constructing in
many OPE-L posts as models. Moreover, when others in the Okishio thread
like Duncan, John, and Fred referred to what we were discussing as a
"one-sector model", you did not object.

> I am in no doubt that Jerry considers the assumption V = 0
> to be wrong. The fact that I haven't replied to him does
> *not* mean that I haven't heard him. I hear it quite clearly
> and I've considered it very carefully.

Read below.

> Since I'm sure
> I'll make mistakes, author's corrections to the Freeman
> interpretation of Levy are welcome. This is:
> 1)we can only model reality if our assumptions are all
> realistic.

I never said that or suggested that. In fact, I have said *over and over
and over again* that this is not my objection.

> 2)we can only discuss reality if our assumptions are all
> realistic.

I did not say this nor did I suggest it -- as the archives will

> This only follows from (1) if we also assert
> 3)the only way to discuss reality is to build a model of
> it.

Another postulate that I did not advance.

> I think Jerry is interested in something different from us.
> His position seems to be, with nuances, a general criticism
> of nearly all deployment of simplifying assumptions in
> economic analysis, related to what seems to be the idea that
> the goal of economic theory is the construction of models.

I did not say that nor did I imply that. Quite the contrary. What I have
stated -- what seems like countless times -- is that I object to the
vacating of fundamental categories related to understanding the subject at
hand. The assumption of v = 0 is *more than* a simplifying assumption. As
we have seen, it is also a claim about the category of wage-labour and
relates to other categories as well such as commodities, money, markets,
prices, profit, etc..

I do wish that you would have read my posts more carefully.

In Solidarity,