Dialectics and complexity

P8475423 at vmsuser.acsu.unsw.EDU.AU P8475423 at vmsuser.acsu.unsw.EDU.AU
Sat Aug 26 13:57:38 MDT 1995

Re Jerry's comment that:
ago. The question is rather whether this type of modelling can allow us
to better understand the dynamics of capitalism.  Fancy mathematical
models can be elegant and produce astonishing graphic results but tell us
little, if anything, about capitalist accumulation.

A lot of what has been done re chaotic modelling fits into the category
of the second sentence above. But I believe that chaos is an accurate
characterisation of social (and many natural) processes, and that
therefore if we're going to tell (not so much accurate as plausible)
stories about capitalism, our models have to be chaotic.

To do both simultaneously--produce chaotic models and characterise
capitalism--a guiding perspective that allows for complexity is
still needed. Neoclassical economics doesn't have such a
perspective--their driving motivation has been the attempt to
prove that a capitalist economy necessarily settles down to a
solitary, socially optimal equilibrium. So they really try to
twist the tools of chaos theory to that end (and it's hard work;
good to see them sweat, at least!).

Hey, I haven't had an argument for a while; why not?!! I also
feel that any theory which has a driving motivation to prove that
capitalism will necessarily break down will also end up twisting
the tools of chaos, rather than applying them.

Steve "Ahab" Keen

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