From: <JulioHuato- at -aol.com>
Subject: Re: Logic and its application.
I'd like to push the discussion about math and economics a bit further.
Cyril says that underlying quantitative staments about human capacities (e.g., labor power) is the conflation of people and things. Human capacities (also the exercise or expenditure of those capacities, e.g., labor time, the resulting products, etc.), to the extent that they all are 'quantitatively determined' are treated as algebraic variables.
It seems to me that such a thing is adequate. People are things, things of an essentially distinctive sort, but things -- susceptible to qualitative/quantitative determination. Conceivably, this would be so even in the midst of social relations firmly under their control, relations not mediated by money or any other hardened oppressive institution. Therefore, quantitative statements about human capacities, etc. should be admissible.
It seems to me that the problem with the use of math in economic analysis has to do with the qualitative determinations underlying those 'quantitative statements'. If we have them wrong -- if social forms and material processes are fused -- math will cover up more than elucidate. And vice versa ...