Chaos/Marxism/anachronisms

glevy at acnet.pratt.edu glevy at acnet.pratt.edu
Sun Sep 17 16:43:36 MDT 1995


Steve K. wrote:

  Chris [S] captured well the
> issue that, in a chaotic system, unintended consequences can arise,
> and these are all the more likely the larger the change attempted.
> This is one reason that I see a traditional opposition in marxist thought
> between 'revolution' and 'reform' is misplaced.

While the issue of unintended consequences is a real one, Steve's
comments on reform vs. revolution lead me to believe that chaos theory
does not adequately capture the qualitative/quantitative dialectic. Am I
wrong?

> (2) While Marx's philosophy was dialectical, all of his mathematics was
> not.

When did Marx say that his philosophy could be reduced to mathematical form?

> As a result, Marx's often attempted to express his dialectical thinking
> in the guise of static equilibrium mathematics. While some insights
> were so found--the relationship between sector I and II outputs and
> demands, for example--many others were lost, because the maths was
> not up to the task.

The "static equilibrium mathematics" that you refer to was intended to
show the abstract, formal possibilities for equilibrium and crisis and
was not intended to be a dynamic theory. Also, you are assuming that the
reason why other insights were not found was "because the maths was not
up to the task." This remains to be demonstrated.

  It can also be
> used to enhance Marxist thought (as Alan Freeman has done
> with his difference equation work on the transformation
> problem), and indeed to express some marxian notions in
> mathematical form, as Marx himself was unable to do.

I didn't understand Alan's work on the TP to be an application of chaos
theory. Did he? Why do you?

Jerry


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