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Emmanuel Farjoun and Moshé Machover
Probability, Economics and the Labour Theory of Value
In our book Laws of Chaos, published by Verso in 1983, we advocate a fundamental methodological shift in the foundations of political economy.  Economists and economic philosophers have often pointed out the essentially indeterminate and statistical nature of economic categories such as price and rate of profit.  Marxists, in particular, have recognized that this indeterminacy is rooted in the disorderly, uncoordinated and chaotic nature of capitalist market relations.  Yet, in (theoretical) practice, the approach taken by all economic schools, Marxist and non-Marxist alike, is predominantly determinist: basic economic categories are theorized as determinate numerical quantities, interrelated by means of determinist laws. In loc we advocate the abandonment of this methodology in favour of a thoroughly probabilist conceptual framework, which does not merely pay lip-service to the statistical nature of basic economic categories, but actually builds it into its theoretical models. These categories, we argue, should be theorized as probabilistic ‘random variables’, interconnected by statistical laws.
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