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Robert Vienneau



Articles by Robert Vienneau

The Sraffian Combinatorial Explosion

6 days ago

[embedded content]Mirowski On Markomata
In the title of this post, I introduce a new technical term.
Consider a Leontief input-output matrix characterizing the technique in use, in physical terms. Suppose n industries
are producing n commodities. If an alternative process is available in one industry, then a problem of the choice
between two techniques arises. If two processes are available in each industry, the choice is among 2n techniques.
If three processes are available in each industry, 3n techniques exist.

Some researchers are quite aware of the challenges posed by combinatorics.
Christian Bidard has what he calls a market algorithm.
I have written a bit about a similar algorithm in
my 2017 Review of Political Economy article.
I think
Yoshinori Shiozawa,
Masashi Morioka, and

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Elsewhere

13 days ago

The field of economics shouldn’t exist, a video on Tik-Tok.
A revived Christian Democracy as a Catholic alternative to neoliberalism. A article by Anothony Annett for Commonweal.
The worldy turn, by Tom Bergen, for Aeon.

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Causes Of Inflation

20 days ago

Social norms exist about what wages can be expected from various types of jobs.
And norms also exist for what the rate of profits or markups will be.
Inflation arises when these norms conflict and institutions exist to
fight about these norms.

There is no single rate of profits or a single wage for all jobs.
In some jobs, you can expect to have a standard work week, weekends off,
benefits, some asurance that your job will exist next week, and so.
And in other jobs you cannot expect such. Here I am alluding to the
theory of dual labor markets.

By the way, whether a job is in the formal or informal sector
is not a matter of ‘skill’. "The suggestion that any job is ‘low skill’ is a myth
perpetuated by wealthy interests to justify inhumane working conditions, little/no healthcare,
and

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Variation Of Prices Of Production With Time In An Example Of Intensive Rent

29 days ago

Figure 1: Variation of the Wage Frontier with Technical Progress
I continue to explore perturbations of an
example
from Antonio D’Agata. I have found a new type of fluke switch point, in models of intensive rent.
Here I explore structural dynamics along a path in which technical change overwhelms the scarcity
of land.

In this post, I repeat the data on technology, with a specific parameterization.
Table 1 presents the available technology.
Iron and steel are produced in processes with inputs of labor and circulating capital.
Corn is grown on homogeneous land, and three processes
are available for producing corn. One hundred acres of land are available, leading to the possibility
of two processes being operated side-by-side with positive rent.

Table 1: The Coefficients of Production

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The Production of Commodities by Means of Commodity and Money

December 21, 2021

Money is a medium of exchange (or means of purchase), a unit of account, and a store of wealth.
I think Sraffa (1960) implicitly assumes an economy in which money is used. How would one
explicitly and formally introduce money into Sraffa’s scheme? I think one would want
a theory of endogenous money, maybe as in a circuitist theory. How should the
references below be extended? Which should I make an effort to read? I am
aware that Sinha (2021) has a couple of other chapters about money and that
Bellofiore and Passarella (2016) and Giuseppe and Realfonzo (2017) are introductions
to special issues of ROKE and Metroeconomica, respectively. Any
guidance to the literature, including these pointers, would be useful.

Reference
Bailly, Jean-Luc, Alvaro Cencini, and Sergio Rossi (eds.) 2017.

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A Pattern For Non-Uniqueness

December 17, 2021

Figure 1: The Wage Frontier And Rent
I continue to explore perturbations of an
example
from Antonio D’Agata. I have found a new type of fluke switch point, in models of intensive rent. In this post, I repeat
the data on technology, with a specific parameterization.

Table 1 presents the available technology. Corn is grown on homogeneous land, and three processes
are available for producing corn. One hundred acres of land are available, leading to the possibility
of two processes being operated side-by-side with positive rent.

Table 1: The Coefficients of Production
InputIndustries and ProcessesIronSteelCornIIIIIIIVVLabor111(11/5) e(5/4) – σte(1/20) – φtLand001e(5/4) – σte(1/20) – φtIron001/10(1/10) e(5/4) – σt(1/10) e(1/20) – φtSteel002/5(1/10) e(5/4) – σt(1/10) e(1/20) –

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A Mistake In Kurz And Salvdori (1995)?

December 11, 2021

On page 299 of Kurz and Salvadori (1995), they write:

System (10.10) is identical with system (8.13).

The above statement is correct only if the steady state rate of growth is zero. The analysis
presented around system 8.13 applies to any rate of growth lower than the rate of profits.

Chapter 8 is about joint production in general. Equations 8.13a through 8.13e specify a long-period position for joint production.
Equation 8.13c specifies quantity relations and is:

zT ( B – (1 + g) A) ≥ cT

Equation 8.13d is a duality condition known as the rule of free goods. It is:

zT ( B – (1 + g) A) y = cTy

A full exposition would explain the notation above.

Chapter 10 is about land rent. Equations 10.10a, 10.10b 10.10c, 10.10f, and 10.10g specify a long-period position with land

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Geoffrey Harcourt (1931-1921)

December 8, 2021

This overview of Geoff Harcourt’s work is insufficient. He was
interested in economics as a means to a better world. Consequently,
he offered political advice, sometimes in the form of ‘package deals’,
in the context of Australian politics, which I know nothing about.
Also, I do not know Austrian rules football, rugby, or cricket.
Apparently, he was very good at mentorship and at introducing
young scholars to the professional community. Capital theory
is a very contentious topic, but Harcourt was on good terms with
all sides.

Geoffrey C. Harcourt was born on 27 June 1931. He married Joan Bartrop in July 1955.
Their children are Wendy, Robert, Timothy,and Rebecca. I had not known that the
economist Claudid Sardoni married Wendy and was his son-in-law.
He died on 6 January.

Harcourt

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Three Patterns Across The Axis For The Rate Of Profits In A Model Of Intensive Rent

November 27, 2021

Figure 1: Three Patterns Across the r Axis and One Three-Technique Pattern
This post begins a perturbation analysis of an example of intensive rent from D’Agata.
I have previously claimed
that certain structures in parameter space are universal in some sense.

Table 1 presents the available technology. Corn is grown on homogeneous land, and three processes
are available for producing corn. One hundred acres of land are available, leading to the possibility
of two processes being operated side-by-side with positive rent.
Processes III and IV undergo technical progress through time.
Table 2 shows the processes operated in each of the six techniques available.

Table 1: The Coefficients of Production
InputIndustries and ProcessesIronSteelCornIIIIIIIVVLabor111(11/5) e(5/4) – σte(1/20) –

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Elsewhere

November 22, 2021

Many articles from the Thames Papers in Political Economy to 1989 are now available open access.
The articles in Political Economy: Studies in the Surplus Approach, from 1985 to 1990, are also available open access.
There is now a Post Keynesian Discord server, whatever that is.
Here is a Post Keynesian blog, on this newish substack thingy.

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A Disconcerting Example of Intensive Rent From D’Agata

November 13, 2021

Figure 1: The Wage Frontier And Rent1.0 Introduction

This post is another worked homework example, problem 7.8 in Chapter 10 of Kurz and Salvadori (1995).
The example illustrates the possible non-existence of a cost-minimizing technique with intensive rent.
I once looked at
an example from J. E. Woods of joint production. I claim that that example does not make the desired point,
given the possibility of a price of zero for some produced good. I do not think this example of
rent can be resolved like that.

Kurz and Salvadori suggest to me how I might apply my perturbation techniques: "…calculate what will happen
if either only process (4) or only process (5) were missing."

2.0 Technology, Techniques, and Requirements for Use

Anyways, Table 1 presents the available technology. Corn

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An Example Of External Intensive Rent From D’Agata

November 3, 2021

Figure 1: The Wage Frontier And Rent
This post is merely a worked homework example, problem 7.10 in Kurz and Salvadori (1995). I have not
considered yet which parameters I want to explore perturbing.

As a matter of history, Anderson, West, Malthus, and Ricardo took extensive rent as the paradigm case,
and confined it to land. They imposed no limit on the production of industrial commodities. Ricardo,
at least, also discussed the case of intensive rent. The marginalists, on the other hand, took the
case of intensive rent as the paradigm case and extended it to all commodities and, sloppily,
extended the explanation of rent to payments to capital and labor. I still do not get well-behaved
supply and demand relationships in models of intensive rent. Marginalism remains mistaken
and lacks a

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Post-Sraffian Terminology

October 29, 2021

Terms that include the word ‘pattern’ are my own creation, as inspired by my research program. The remainder are, as far as I am concerned,
standard terminology, some of which you would be introduced to if you were taught price theory properly. (Most of what is in mainstream microeconomic
textbooks is, at best, wrong.) The definitions are my own, although obvious inspired by my reading.

Absolute rent: A price paid for a year’s services for land under cultivation due to barriers to entry to agriculture that would be otherwise manifested in persistent higher rates of profits in farming.
Basic commodity: A commodity that is productively consumed, either directly or indirectly, in the production of each commodity produced in an economy.
Capital reversing: The association of a higher

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Elsewhere

October 22, 2021

[embedded content]Why Rationality is WrongAbove is a video by "Dr. Skeleman", first in a series.
Nick Romeo, in The New Yorker, on The CORE textbook.
Steve Keen’s obituary of Janos Kornai.
J. Barkley Rosser’s comments on Kornai’s passing. I feel I should have more to say. I recommend autobiography, By Force of Thought: Irregular Memoirs of an Intellectual Journey, although it is somewhat dry.
J. Barkley Rosser’s obituary of Peter Flaschel

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Some Kinds Of Rent

October 21, 2021

Special Cases in the Analysis of Rent
TypeLandAgricultural ProcessesIndustrial ProcessesExtensive rentMultiple types of land, each of a given qualityFor a given type of land, one process producing corn is availableFor a given commodity other than corn, one process for producing it is availableIntensive rent properOne type of homogeneous landFor the given type of land, multiple processes are available for producing cornFor a given commodity other than corn, one process for producing it is availableExternal intensive rentOne type of homogeneous landFor the given type of land, one process for producing corn is availableFor a given commodity other than corn, multiple processes for producing it are available
Economists have explored several kinds of rent in post-Sraffian price theory (Kurz and

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On David Card’s Nobel

October 16, 2021

The Sveriges Riksbank prize in economic sciences in memory of Alfred Nobel this year goes to
David Card, Joshua Angrist, and Guido Imbens. I cannot say much about instrumental variables,
Angrist, or Imbens. Since I
have
been
pointing to Card’s work with Alan Krueger on
minimum
wages
for decades, I thought I might say somthing about his half of the prize.

I do not have much new to say. I find both natural experiments and
meta-analysis intriguing.

Both Card and Krueger’s natural experiments with minimum wages and their meta-analysis
have been superceded. Maybe ‘transcended’ or ‘replicated’ would be better terminology.
That is why, in my 2019 paper
in Strucutral Change and Economic Dynamics, I reference Andrajit Dube and his colleagues,
not Card and Krueger. Also, David Neumark’s

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A Structure in Parameter Space with Three Patterns Across The Wage Axis

October 9, 2021

Figure 1: Three Patterns Across The Wage Axis And One Three-Technique Pattern
This post continues the approach in this
post
and in this post.
As previously stated,
I consider the same two examples. In both examples, three processes
are known for producing the numeraire, called "corn". In the example
for the left panel, corn is a non-basic commodity, and a different
basic commodity is used in each of the three techniques. In the example
for the right panel, all three corn-producing processes require
inputs of labor power, corn, and iron (in different proportions),
and managers firms know of a single process for producing iron.
Both commodities are basic in this second example. The examples
are also parametrized differently.

In both panels, loci for three patterns of switch points on the

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A Structure in Parameter Space With Three Patterns Across The Axis For The Rate Of Profits

October 2, 2021

Figure 1: Three Patterns Across The r Axis And One Three-Technique Pattern
This post continues the approach in this post.
I consider the same two examples. In both examples, three processes
are known for producing the numeraire, called "corn". In the example
for the left panel, corn is a non-basic commodity, and a different
basic commodity is used in all three techniques. In the example
for the right panel, all three corn-producing processes require
inputs of labor power, corn, and labor (in different proportions),
and managers firms know of a single process for producing iron.
Both commodities are basic in this second example. The examples
are also parametrized differently.

These examples are all part of my investigation of
how reswitching, capital-reversing, a reverse substitution of

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Elsewhere

October 1, 2021

Alex Thomas on Krishna Bharadwaj as an ideal economist.
Her daughter, Sudha Bharadwaj is a political prisoner.
The first page of this Jeremy Rudd paper is getting noticed. A lot of mainstream economics is "arrant nonsense."
National Public Radio has a rememberance of Charles Mills.
Liam Bright has a tribute, too.

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A Structure In Parameter Space

September 26, 2021

Table 1: A Common Structure Example1.0 Introduction

This post presents partitions of (a part of) parameter space for two examples of models of prices of production with a choice of technique.
The examples have a different structure and are parametrized differently. Yet, I want to argue, the partitions are the same, at some level of
abstraction.

2.0 Thing 1

The first example is an instance of the Samuelson-Garegnani model.
Table 1 presents the coefficients of production for this example. Each coefficient specifies the units of input needed to produce
a unit output of the commodity for the given industry. Corn is the numeraire, and is not an input into any industry. It is non-basic
in Sraffa’s terminology. Three processes are available for producing corn, each distinguished by the

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John Stuart Mill Illustrates Charles Mills’ Racial Contract

September 21, 2021

Here is John Stuart Mill stating a principle that sounds noble, and then
immediately making a strange caveat.

"The object of this Essay is to assert one very simple principle, as entitled to govern
absolutely the dealings of society with the individual in the way of compulsion and
control, whether the means used be physical force in the form of legal penalties, or the
moral coercion of public opinion. That principle is, that the sole end for which
mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of
action of any of their number, is self-protection. That the only purpose for which
power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against
his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not

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Summary of Some Conclusions From My Research Program

September 11, 2021

This blog, over years,
presents a
welter of
fluke cases.
I created many of the numerical examples to illustrate the reswitching of techniques, capital reversing, or
some such so-called ‘perversity’. Fluke cases can be combined. For example, a fluke switch point at a rate of
profits of zero can also be a fluke switch point at which three wage curves intersect. Or two switch points on
the wage frontier can both be fluke switch points at which four wage curves, not necessarily the same, intersect.
Numerical examples remain to be developed for some possibilities.

Selected Fluke Cases
Pattern of switch points over the wage axisPattern of switch points for the reverse substitution of laborPattern of switch points over the axis for the rate of profitsReswitching pattern of switch

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Mark Twain On The Wages Of Whiteness

September 9, 2021

In Mark Twain’s novels, Huckleberry Finn is just a kid in what you might
think is the most despised group in society. His mother ran away, and his father, who
rarely is home to look after him, is the town drunk. Huck does not go
to school, dresses in rags, and often sleeps outside in some barrel
down by the waterfront. But Huck is quite conscious that some hard-working
adults are looked down on worse than him by respectable people.

‘That’s all right. Now, where you going to sleep?’

‘In Ben Roger’s hayloft. He lets me, and so does his pap’s
nigger man, Uncle Jake. I tote water for Uncle Jake whenever he wants
me to, and any time I ask him he gives me a little to eat if he
can spare it. That’s a mightly good nigger, Tom. He likes me,
becuz I don’t ever act if I was above him. Sometime

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The Four Circuits Of Capital

September 4, 2021

The Four Circuits of Capital
Marx describes
three circuits of capital
in the opening chapters of Volume 2 of Capital.
But when I draw a diagram, as above, a fourth circuit seems to be missing. So I have
added the circuit of advanced capital.

The circuit of advanced capital begins with commodities, consisting
of means of production and labor power, in the hands of or under
the direction of capitalists. They have purchased these commodities
with monetary advances. The capitalists, at this point, care
about the use values of these commodities, and they have
purchased them to be in specific proportions.

The sphere of circulation is left behind in the next step in the circuit.
Workers apply labor to the means of production, under the formal and
real subsumption of capital, to produce

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How To Find Fluke Switch Points

August 28, 2021

Figure 1: Convergence to a Pattern of Switch Points over the Axis for the Rate of Profits1.0 Introduction

This post illustrates how to find fluke switch points. As usual, I proceed by example, in this case, as taken from
my paper
in Structural Change and Economic Dynamics.

2.0 Technoplogy

In this example of
a capitalist economy, two commodities, iron and corn, are produced. One process is known for producing iron. In the iron industry, workers use inputs of iron and corn to produce an output of iron.
The output of the iron industry is one ton with the inputs shown in Table 1.
Two processes are known for producing corn.
Each corn-producing process shown in Table 1 produces an output of one bushel corn from inputs of labor power, iron, and corn.
Assume constant returns to scale.

Table

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Ben Franklin, Proto Marxist

August 20, 2021

Ben Franklin was one the founding fathers of the United States. He participated in the
constitutional convention. He was the first Postmaster General. He did experiments with electricity,
when the Leyden jar was a new thing. There is a story about flying a kite in a thunderstorm.

He also wrote about the wealth of nations:

"Finally, there seem to be but three ways for a nation to acquire wealth. The first is by war, as
the Romans did, in plundering their conquered neighbors. This is robbery. The second by commerce,
which is generally cheating. The third by agriculture, the only honest way, wherein
man receives a real increase of the seed thrown into the ground, in a kind of continual miracle, wrought by
the hand of God in his favour, as a reward for his innocent life and his virtuous

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An Intensive Rent Example From Freni

August 14, 2021

Figure 1: A Pattern Diagram1.0 Introduction

Aside, perhaps from the above visualization, nothing novel is presented in this post. It follows
an example presented by Freni (1991). I know of this example from problems 7.7 and 7.29 in
Kurz and Salvadori (1995). The oddities of this example can be seen in an earlier and
more complicated example from D’Agata (1983).

This is an example of intensive rent. When the requirements for use are large enough, capitalists will use more than one process
to produce a commodity on homogeneous land. The scarcity of land is expressed in the emergence of rent. This example, though,
is a challenge to Sraffa’s work. The cost-minimizing technique is a unique function of the wage, but it is not a unique
function of the rate of profits. The wage frontier is not

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Elsewhere

August 7, 2021

[embedded content]John Eatwell On The Bomb Sraffa Planted At The Foundations Of EconomicsJames Galbraith on Dismal Economics, reviewing books by Mason Gaffney and Fred Harrison, Stephen Marglin, Alessandro Roncaglia, and Robert Skidelsky.
Jane Gleeson-White, in the Guardian, on accounting, unpaid care work, and the biosphere.
A blog post pointing out Bob Murphy’s confusions and mistakes on the implications of the Cambridge Capital Controversy for the Austrian school. Compare and contrast with here.

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What Is Socially Necessary Abstract Labor Time?

July 31, 2021

To me, this is an easy question. SNALT, for a capitalist economy, is:

L = a0 (I – A)-1y

The notation is from Luigi Pasinetti’s Lectures on the Theory of Production.
The idea can be empirically applied with data from national income and product
accounts (NIPAs), using techniques explained in, for example,
Ronald Miller and Peter Blair’s Input-Output Analysis

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Extensive Rent For A Reswitching Example

July 23, 2021

Figure 1: Wage Curves and Rent1.0 Introduction

I might as well illustrate an example with extensive rent and reswitching. I find it incredible that
the agents in these sorts of models understand the implications of, say, a variation of the
distribution of income for their self-interests.
Nevertheless, I try to note the consequences of variation in the distribution of income
and perturbations of model parameters on prices of production. And I do not
worry too much about disequilibria.

2.0 Technology and Requirements for Use

Consider a capitalist economy in which two commodities, iron and corn, are produced. One process is known for producing iron.
In the iron industry, workers use inputs of iron and corn to produce an output of iron. The output of the iron industry is one ton with
the

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