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I'm willing to retract the first part of what I said, since Andrew says he
concurs with my reading of Sraffa on this point.
But what I can't interpret--and I doubt that Andrew can explain to me in
emails alone--is how this perspective on Sraffa is consistent with the
second half of his post, in which he says, inter alia, that
"These problems arise from simultaneous valuation. Get rid of the dogma
that input prices equal output prices, and you get rid of the problems. In
light of the capital controversy, the neoclassicists realized this, got rid
of the dogma, and nullified the reswitching critique."
I find this difficult to interpret on a number of grounds. It appears to
argue that neoclassical economics is now a disequilibrium theory. Unless
you want to see game theory in this perspective, I find that proposition
difficult to swallow. Instead, the Arrow/Debreu GE approach is completely
devoid of time processes, working in the realm of the formal existence of
equilibrium, rather than any alleged time processes which might get it
there. But that is a side issue.
More importantly for our debate, this appears to accuse Sraffa of what
Andrew says he doesn't accuse him of: being "simultaneist". How else can I
read "These problems arise from simultaneous valuation. Get rid of the
dogma that input prices equal output prices, and you get rid of the
problems". Are you not accusing Sraffa of a "dogma"?
Why is this "long period" methodology "ridiculous" if you say you read
Sraffa as I do, to be considering "an economy which had been in equilibrium
for the indefinite past", and then showing that the (neoclassical) presumed
equilibrium of this dynamic system cannot, in fact, be an equilibrium?
If you read it as the charge that everything happens simultaneously, or
that dynamic processes can be ignored, then I agree it's ridiculous. But
firstly you say that you're not reading it that way (in the first half of
your reply), then you appear to do just that in your second half.
This, to my eyes, is a "reindeer game"--or perhaps a kangaroo court.
At 11:47 PM 9/26/00 -0400, you wrote:
>In OPE-L 3872, Steve Keen wrote:
>"One key difference there is how Andrew, and I think also you,
>characterise Sraffa's analysis as "simultaneist", as though it alleges
>that everything happens at once in the capitalist system when in fact, as
>we all know, things take time."
>Please! Why are you putting words in my mouth, words I have never
>written? I have NEVER written even a single word in criticism of
>Sraffa's book. In particular, I have never argued that Sraffa "alleges
>that everything happens at once in the capitalist system." Not even that
>he writes "as though" it takes place at once.
>His epigones are another matter.
>I am fully aware that *Sraffa's* project was not theory construction, but
>the prelude to a critique. The following is my own view as well:
>"In his critique of neoclassical theory, Sraffa effectively argued that
>he was examining the concept of the aggregate value of capital in an
>economy which had been in equilibrium for the indefinite past. His proof
>that the "amount" of capital depended on the rate of profit showed that
>the alleged neoclassical equilbrium of a market economy was logically
>I think a retraction is in order.
>I'm not sure what Steve Keen means by "Does TSS, or any other approach to
>Marx which preserves the proposition that labor is the only source of
>value, escape Sraffa's crucible." But Marx's theory that value is
>determined by labor-time, as understood by its TSS interpretation, does
>not fall prey to the problems of reswitching or capital revsersing.
>These problems arise from simultaneous valuation. Get rid of the dogma
>that input prices equal output prices, and you get rid of the
>problems. In light of the capital controversy, the neoclassicists
>realized this, got rid of the dogma, and nullified the reswitching
>This is the reason why the "Sraffians" keep foaming at the mouth,
>yammering on about "long period" positions. They're trying
>desperately to put the jini back in the bottle. They want to convict
>the neoclassicists of internal inconsistency, but to do that, they
>first have to get the neoclassicists to adopt the ridiculous
>long-period "methodology" that would MAKE their theory internally
>inconsistent. Pretty pathetic, huh?
>Of course, it is the exact same strategem the physicalists-simultaneists
>try to use against us. If only proponents of the TSS interpretation
>could be forced to play the absurd long-period game, "Marx" could be
>convicted of internal inconsistency.
>IN YOUR DREAMS! WE WILL NOT PLAY YOUR REINDEER GAMES!
Dr. Steve Keen
Economics & Finance
University of Western Sydney Macarthur
Building 11 Room 30,
Goldsmith Avenue, Campbelltown
PO Box 555 Campbelltown NSW 2560
firstname.lastname@example.org 61 2 4620-3016 Fax 61 2 4626-6683
Home 02 9558-8018 Mobile 0409 716 088
Home Page: http://bus.macarthur.uws.edu.au/steve-keen/
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