[OPE-L:5518] Statistical conservation of value

Duncan K. Foley (dkf2@columbia.edu)
Wed, 24 Sep 1997 09:55:10 -0700 (PDT)

[ show plain text ]

I'm struck by a parallel between some of Paul's remarks on price-value
relations and an episode in the history of quantum physics.

In the 1920s Bohr wrote a paper suggesting that the conservation of energy
held only as a statistical average, and might be violated at the quantum
level. This ran against the consensus theoretical view of the time, and
Bohr dropped it after experimental results seemed to limit the statistical
fluctuations in the conservation of energy to a very small magnitude.

I think Paul's position on the conservation of value is analogous to Bohr's
on the conservation of energy, The NS, for example, posits an exact
conservation of value created in money value added, while Paul and Allin
argue that the conservation is in fact statistical. Now, in macrophysics,
there is no observable difference between the two positions, because the
statistical variation in energy becomes vanishingly small at the classical
scale. Similarly, it seems to me that there's very little observational
difference between positing the exact conservation of value and the
statistical conservation of value at the macroeconomic level.

Cheers, Duncan

Duncan K. Foley
Department of Economics
Barnard College
New York, NY 10027
fax: (212)-854-8947
e-mail: dkf2@columbia.edu