What variables are constant?

P8475423 at vmsuser.acsu.unsw.EDU.AU P8475423 at vmsuser.acsu.unsw.EDU.AU
Thu Sep 21 19:54:42 MDT 1995

Chris B asked for "everyone to throw everything they can"
the most important variable that remains constant is
the total sum of exchange value created by all the
commodity producing labour in the world.
so here goes, briefly. The statement is OK as a point-of-time,
stock statement. But in any proper analysis of capitalism, the
sum of exchange value produced will be a moving target. There
is also the issue of the pricing of non-commodities--such as
capital assets, in my analysis--which are not necessarily based
on their costs of production (as is required to make your
statement closed).

One of the difficulties in applying dynamic analysis to
social systems, as opposed to natural ones, is that there are
few if any "closures" that can be applied. But a materials
balance approach may indeed work for part of production.

As for Chris's defence of applying chaos to social systems by
saying "what diff" with respect to natural ones, I think I
can see that putting flames in Jerry's eyes; so let me put a
twist on it.

If chaos doesn't apply, then we are saying that dynamic
processes lead to equilibrium outcomes. That statement is
even less likely to apply in social systems than it is in
natural ones--hence chaos theory, which really is an aspect
of far-from-equilibrium analysis, should apply even more
to social systems than it does to natural ones.

Steve Keen

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