[OPE-L:4266] reproduction schema and equilibrium

Gerald Lev (glevy@pratt.edu)
Sat, 1 Mar 1997 07:48:16 -0800 (PST)

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I wrote previously in [4263]:

> What was important, simply, is that *some* arbitrary
> assumption about production periods was necessary from the standpoint of
> further understanding the turnover time of different elements of capital
> and the period of the reproduction of the total capital. Had Marx not
> made these assumptions, then how would he have been able to model the
> reproduction and accumulation processes?

Rakesh then asked in [4264]:

> Yet couldn't these models be read as to reveal the absurd assumptions one
> would have to make in order to demonstrate a real tendency towards
> equilibrium?

I assume you are referring to the reproduction schema from V2. The simple
answer to your question is -- no. The purpose of the schema within the
archiotronic structure of _Capital_ was more than an attempt to reveal
the "absurd assumptions" of classical political economy related to
equilibrium. In this section of _Capital_ Marx investigates the
reproduction of the different parts of the aggregate social capital in
terms of both the reproduction of value magnitudes and material
reproduction within the context of an examination of the process of
capitalist circulation. The assumptions made in the reproduction schema
thus relate to the level of abstraction of V2 in which "many
capitals" and competition is abstracted from.

[btw, I think that Paolo G's entry on "reproduction schema" in Tom
Bottomore ed. _A Dictionary of Marxist Thought_ is excellent].

> By clarifying the assumptions required to model the reproduction and
> accumulation processes as equilibriated, Marx demonstrates the
> impossibility of equilibrium.

Marx didn't demonstrate the impossibility of equilibrium. Quite the
contrary. He demonstrated the _formal, abstract, possibility_ of

To be able to explain disequilibrium, one first has to examine the
conditions under which equilibrium is possible. That is, a prerequisite
for disequilibrium analysis, is an explanation of the possibility and
meaning of equilibrium. After all, how could one even say that an economy
has a chronic tendency towards disequilibrium unless one has first
examined and defined equilibrium?

In solidarity, Jerry