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Wednesday, January 29, 2003

Marxist Mathematics

In my earlier post about heterodox economics, I mildly ridiculed a book called Quantitative Marxism. I had a look at the book again (working in a university library helps) and I was right--the book barely has any equations or models. It's also, well, boring.

While searching the shelves for the above book, I found a book by Meghnad Desai called Marxian Economics. (He's now Lord Desai of St. Clement's Danes, but I digress.) This book does contain quire a few models, exploring Marx's theory of value.

Now, I haven't read it, so I can't really comment on the models in question. I wonder, though, why Professor Desai thought this necesary. He has a new book, Marx's Revenge, which has been very well received here in the UK. The Economist says that Desai "argues that Marx was misunderstood and that the great man was right about far more than he is given credit for".

I'm no Marxist--I'm a free market classical liberal. It is interesting, though, to see the lengths to which one will go to maintain one's worldview. The faith of Marxism reduced to calculus? Strange indeed.

I wonder, though, why the Marxist economists and others in the post-Autistic movement don't use model's like Desai's more often. It would be more coherent, I assume, than the arguments they make now. Would that be the point, though?