Marxism and Mathematics

John Landon nemonemini at
Tue Feb 13 23:35:45 MST 2001

My statement about infinitesimals may not due just to
Robinson's idea. I am glad someone is going to get his

As to Julio Huato's post: This is a fascinating
mini-discourse. I will consider the parts of it over
time. You are determined to examine the standard
equilibrium models, and I am not all determined to
argue otherwise, explore. I was on a descant as to
Mirowski's interesting challenge in More Heat Than
Light, which really asks how we should model a social
science with the same fundamental rigor as a hard
science. And that remains a tough question.
Let us note that we are free, at least in principle
(!), to turn off, amend,revolt against,  or rewrite
the rules of the economies that we, not nature,
create, and that is basically a Marxist thought. As
Karl Polanyi notes in his The Great Transformation,
the nineteenth century experiment in free trade
liberalism was just that, an experiment, and so far
from being an inevitable development, was a rigged
game elites wished to impose on others, with chaotic
 The intent of proponents of capitalism is to convince
us that we must submit to our fate in this regard,
when in fact, we can simply change the whole game,
however unrealistic that may be in practice. That was
the urgency that Marx seemed to have felt, act before
the system gels.

Also, I came across an elegant book by Robert Paul
Wolf, a well-known Kant scholar, called Understanding
Marx, an interesting exploration of a premarginalist
mathematical model suing linear algebra only based on
the classical thinking shared in its core by Smith,
Ricardo and Marx.
These models of another kind have a funny clarity that
seems lost in the later style.

John Landon


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