[OPE-L:7344] Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: interpreting Marx's texts

From: Steve Keen (s.keen@uws.edu.au)
Date: Thu Jun 06 2002 - 04:14:52 EDT

C'mon guys.

Matrices doesn't have to be mean statics: matrix analysis can and is used 
in dynamics as well. If you want an example, take a look at my paper 
critiquing Steedman in ROPE 1998.

Steve Keen
At 12:47 AM 6/6/2002 Thursday, you wrote:

>This is a reply to parts of Diego's (7324).  Diego, thanks again.
>On Tue, 4 Jun 2002, Diego wrote:
> > This is a reply to Fred's (7310).
> >
> > > But, more importantly, I
> > > would argue that "matrix algebra Marxism" does not really provide a 
> theory
> > > of exploitation at all, or that its theory of exploitation does not 
> really
> > > explain the real world, actual surplus-value, but rather explains a
> > > theoretical, hypothetical "surplus-value", that is equal to the "direct
> > > prices" of surplus goods.  Furthermore, this hypothetical
> > > "surplus-value" plays no essential role in the determination of the real
> > > world, actual surplus-value.   The real world, actual surplus-value 
> can be
> > > derived without any reference to this hypothetical "surplus-value" or
> > > surplus labor.
> >
> >
> > I think that were Marx alive he would use matrix algebra.
>I don't think so.  Because matrix algebra does not fit with Marx's logical
>method.  Matrix algebra Marxism assumes that the rate of profit is
>determined simultaneously with prices of production and that the initial
>givens in Marx's theory of values and prices of production are the
>physical quantities of inputs and outputs.  Marx's own logic, to the
>contrary, assumes that the rate of profit is determined prior to prices of
>production, by the Volume 1 analysis of capital in general, and that the
>initial givens are quantities of money-capital (constant capital and
>variable capital), quantities of abstract labor, and the money-value
>produced per hour of abstract labor.
> > I agree with
> > Rakesh's recalling of the important point made by Shaikh on the
> > difference between real or material determination and mathematical or
> > formal determination (this is why I have underlined two words in your
> > paragraph). We can say about surplus-value the same things as about all
> > values: we have actual values determined by real labor processes and
> > expressed as real actual money prices. In order for us to theorize and
> > understand the movement in real time of these values and prices we need
> > theoretical values and prices. Marx constructed theoretical prices in
> > Capital I and III (individual values, direct values and production
> > values) to explain how competition interferes twice in the individual
> > (at the firm level) labor processes, ie how individual-firm-exploitation
> > is doubly mediated, and thereby socialized, by intra-sectoral and
> > inter-sectoral competition. Real people just work once, real prices and
> > values are just the actual set of prices (money-prices) and values
> > (labor-prices). But we theoriticians need theoretical prices and values
> > as well, and these differ from actual prices becausewe want to explian
> > how actual prices are formed.
>I have already stated in my last post (7328) that I don't understand
>Shaikh's distinction between "real determination" and "conceptual
>determination" (what you call "mathematical or formal
>determination").  According to Shaikh, in the "real determination", values
>supposedly determine physical quantities (although no explanation is
>presented to explain how specific quantities of labor-value determine
>specific quantities of physical inputs and outputs).  But in the
>"conceptual determination", there is the opposite direction of
>causation:  physical quantities determine values, which are then
>transformed into prices of production.  Samuelson and Steedman have
>pointed out that one can derive the same prices of production directly
>from the given physical quantities, so that the "conceptual
>determination" of values plays no essential role in the "conceptual
>determination" of prices of production.
>Diego, would you please explain further what is meant by "real
>determination", as opposed to "conceptual determination"?
> > > In other words, I think that Samuelson's "eraser" critique or Steedman's
> > > "fork" critique of "matrix algebra Marxism" is essentially correct - that
> > > the labor-values derived in the "value system" play no essential role in
> > > the determination of prices of production in the "value system".  I think
> > > this critique is logically indisputable.
> >
> >
> > Samuelson and Steedman are wrong --and this is the essential point-- in
> > believing that the so-called physical quantities can be determined in
> > real life with independence of labor processes. They can not. The real
> > quantities of things and direct labor which are combined in real
> > production are what they are because they are mimimized as containers of
> > the social labor richness historically defined at any point in time.
>I doubt if Samuelson and Steedman think that in the real world the
>physical quantities can be determined independently of the labor process.
>But Samuelson and Steedman's critique has to do with their interpretation
>of Marx's *conceptual determination* of values and prices of production in
>Capital, an interpretation that Shaikh accepts.  According to this
>interpretation, physical quantities determine value and prices of
>production.  Furthermore, the determination of values plays no essential
>role in the determination of prices of production, so the determination of
>values can be dispensed with, without the loss of explanatory power.
>Shaikh tried to evade this critique of his interpretation of Marx's
>"conceptual determination" of prices of production by inventing "real
>determination".  But this does not answer the critique of his
>interpretation of Marx's "conceptual determination" of prices of
>production.  Values play no essential role in this "conceptual
> > > Marx's theory, by contrast, explains the actual, real world surplus-value
> > > as proportional to surplus labor, thereby clearly exposing the essential
> > > nature of capitalism as the exploitation of workers.
> >
> >
> > When you say "proportional", do you mean that any couple of single
> > workers with the same working day and wage create the same actual
> > surplus-value?
>No, I do not mean that.  These two individual workers may have different
>skills or may have different intensities of labor, and thus my produce
>different amounts of value in the same working day.  I mean that aggregate
>surplus-value is proportional to aggregate surplus labor, where surplus
>labor (and labor in general) is measured in terms of average social labor,
>or abstract labor, or unskilled labor of average intensity.
> > > That is why I think Marx's theory is superior to "matrix algebra
> > > Marxism".
> >
> > May be, but in my opinion Marx would use today matrix algebra to
> > improve the accurateness of his theory
>How does matrix algebra improve the accuracy of Marx's theory?  It seems
>to me that the matrix algebra interpretation of Marx's theory only imputes
>to Marx's theory a logical contradiction that otherwise would not be

Home Page: http://www.debunking-economics.com
Associate Professor Steve Keen
School of Economics and Finance
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