Dialectics and complexity

glevy at acnet.pratt.edu glevy at acnet.pratt.edu
Sat Aug 26 21:39:27 MDT 1995

The way Steve describes it, chaos theory isn't all that chaotic after all
(or, at least, it doesn't have to be). I remain a bit skeptical. One has
to convince me that using chaos theory helps us to understand nonlinear
relationships in political economy.  I'd like to look some more at the
various mathematical properties of the different chaos models that Steve
has itemized. In the past, very few economic theorists have given adequate
attention to the technical properties and the limitations of different
mathematical techniques.

It sounds to me as if Steve wants predictive dynamic models. Any type of
formal economic model has very limited uses as a predictive tool. All
types of predictions generated by mathematical models are very
conditional. Risk and uncertainty, inherent properties associated with
market activities, are an essential part of the logic of capitalism.

Steve says: "Of course, in selecting what to model, a theoretical guide
is indispensable, so it still comes back to the validity of the
theoretical guide." I agree. What this suggests to me is that we first
have to develop our theory more before we can decide on the selection of
particular models.


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