[OPE-L:3777] Re: predicting market prices

Paul Cockshot (wpc@cs.strath.ac.uk)
Wed, 4 Dec 1996 08:44:28 -0800 (PST)

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>The state has access to most of this data and has the revenues for
>expenditures on data collection and tabulation. Yet, state agencies are
>not able to accurately predict future market prices.

in practice the state only carries out censuses of production at
fairly infrequent intervals and to a high degree of aggregation.

>The banking community and investment brokers have access to many
>statistics related to costs and past pricing trends. Yet, these firms are
>unable to accurately predict future market prices.

no one bank or other institution has a sufficient database

>Individual capitalist firms have the data on current costs, but they also
>are not able to accurately predict market prices. Of course, they *do*
>make predictions about prices. In some cases (e.g. oligopolistic markets),
>these firms can even *set* prices (as in the case of much of industrial
>pricing). Yet, they have no certain way of knowing that the prices they
>predict ... or even set! ... will be the prices that commodities will sell
>for in markets. In other words, firms have no way of knowing whether the
>prices they predict _ex ante_ will become the actual prices _ex post_.

what individual firms lack is data on cost structures throughout
the economy. They have access to a narrow and limited database -
their own immediate costs.

>If there was a way to predict market prices, moreover, then
>speculation and much of the trading on stock markets would cease.

a speculator armed with such information would certainly do better
than one without it.
Paul Cockshott