When Cosma Shalizi started to blog about an old marxian econphysics book, I though he would talk about some book by Ducan Foley. However, he discuss a book by Farjoun and Marchover, authors that I never heard about before (but this doesn’t mean that much, it’s been a while since I stopped to follow marxist literature seriously).
It’s an interesting discussion for anyone interested in marxist economics. However, I notice that he failed to mention the Temporal Single-System Interpretation (Kliman and McGlone, 1999, apud Souza, 2007) to solve the so famous transformation problem, namely, how to transform value into price when there is heteregoneity in the capital composition. I wonder if he doesn’t know anything about this solution, or if he just thought it wasn’t directed related to the book (since the book is old, maybe the solution was developed only later. I don’t know when it was proposed for the first time).
I don’t have much more to add, but to suggest that interestesd readers to follow the link and read the whole piece. As usual, he has a sharp mind and poses good questions.
Another feature that caught my eyes was his statement that empirically the average profit rate doesn’t tend to fall, as claimed by marxist economics. I am no expert here and I understand that the data to teste this proposition is not easy to gather, but my impression was that empirically it was roughly true. Maybe some readers can point me to articles that show this trend (Zé Paulo?? are you there?).