By the time I had returned home from New York on Wednesday, posted my two course handouts, and recovered a bit from the rigors of the trip, it was Thursday morning. I spent an entire day riveted by the Judiciary Committee hearings, posted my analysis of Kavanaugh’s testimony, and then was caught up in the drama yesterday that led to the one week postponement of the floor vote and the order for a “limited” FBI investigation. Only now am I able to attend to and partially respond to the flood of comments posted on this blog.
Let me begin by saying just a word or two about the motivation for the post concerning linear homogeneous functions, which may provide a context that was missing from the document itself.
The title of the course is Mystifications of Social Reality. The first mystification is the misrepresentation of capitalism designed to conceal the fundamental fact that capitalism rests on the exploitation of the working class. The Classical mystification, or ideological rationalization, consisted in presenting the worker as a petit bourgeois commodity producer whose commodity, labor power, he or she brings to a free, open, fair, uncoerced market, where, like all other commodities, it is exchanged at a price proportional to its value. With the proceeds from their commodity, proceeds which are conventionally called the wage, workers purchase new inputs into their productive activities, which is to say food, clothing, and shelter. The central aim of Capital, as I explained in my first three lectures, is to demystify capitalism and expose this rationalization as false.
In the 1870’s, the decade after Capital appeared, mainstream economic theory underwent a “triple revolution,” carried out more or less independently by Stanley Jevons, Leon Walras, and Karl Menger, in the wake of which there emerged modern Marginalist economic theory. Modern Economics has a different ideological mystification of capitalism, but with the same purpose of concealing the fact that capitalism rests on the exploitation of the working class. According to the new mystification, Capital and Labor work cooperatively to produce the social product, each one [in ideal circumstances] paid its marginal product, called respectively profits or wages. The mathematical framework for this new ideological rationalization is provided by Leonhardt Euler’s theorem concerning homogeneous functions.
Hence the handout.
There is obviously much more to be said about the mystifications of modern Economics [I said a bit about indifference curves], but I had other fish to fry in that lecture and did not linger.
I hope this helps makes sense of what I posted.