[OPE-L:7034] [OPE-L:530] Equality and Equivalence I [OPE-523]

Alan Freeman (a.freeman@greenwich.ac.uk)
Fri, 26 Feb 1999 14:12:40 +0000

Steve writes "I see no prima facie reason to assume that exchange must
necessarily be taken to take the form of an equality. Indeed, I see many
presumptive reasons not do so, namely one being that the vast majority of
economists who think about exchange do not."

Steve, as a person who has acquired a great deal of sympathy with
post-modernism through my very positive practical encounters with the
Rethinking Marxism current, I'm surprised at you.

1) There is more than one way of thinking about exchange.

2) In my experience anything the 'vast majority of economists' think, is
wrong. Leastways, I can't think of anything they got right.

3) Why should anyone presume that Marx thinks like the vast majority of

4) Why should *we* think like the vast majority of economists?

I'm surprised to find myself hectoring a post-modernist about this, but
your way of theorising exchange isn't the only way to think about it, and
you write as if it is.

In a separate post I've set down the textbook definition of equality used
by mathematicians. I think that if one reads Marx as applying the textbook
algebra definition of equality, it makes perfect sense.

I agree that if one reads Marx as thinking like 'the vast majority of
economists', it makes nonsense.

As a post-modernist, you should at least consider the possibility that

(a) Marx might have thought like a mathematician instead of a neoclassical

(b) the reason it makes nonsense to read Marx like the vast majority of
economists, is because the vast majority of economists are talking