# [OPE-L] statistical and mechanical equilibrium

Date: Fri Apr 20 2007 - 13:41:03 EDT

```Paul Cockshott et al. explain their concept of statistical and mechanical
equilibrium on p. 158f here:
http://www.dcs.gla.ac.uk/~wpc/reports/info_book.pdf

The notion of equilibrium developed is a distributional equilibrium, as
contrasted with an equilibrium of enforced and secure private property
ownership (there could be a distributional disequilibrium, although enforced
and secure private property ownership remains in equilibrium).

What Paul Cockshott et al. really mean by a statistical equilibrium, is a
constancy or stability in income & wealth distribution, which persists
regardless of the pattern of transactions in economic exchange. The
constancy or stability is defined in terms of lack of quantitative change.

A supplementary "physical" defn is provided by Farjoun & Machover: "a system
is in a state of equilibrium when all its internal forces neutralise each
other, so that if left to its own devices the system will continue in the
same state, and will be perturbed away from it only under the influence of
outside forces. If the state of equilibrium is stable and the system is
subjected to a small disturbance by external forces, the internal forces of
the system create a negative feedback effect, pulling the system back
towards equilibrium. the system will then either converge to that state of
equilibrium or oscillate around it. Note: Which forces count as internal and
which as external depends on the way the system is conceptualised. But the
distinction is not arbitrary, inasmuch as one conceptualisation is more
appropriate than another. In any case, a given force cannot count
simultaneously as both internal and external." (Laws of Chaos, p. 33).

As I noted in a previous post (e.g. Friday 11 november 2005), numerous
different notions of equilibrium can be entertained, depending on what the
things are that are being equilibrated or balanced out. Any notion of
equilibrium is meaningless, unless we can specify what is being
equilibrated.

Jurriaan
```

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