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The Development of Mathematical Economics at the Siberian Branch of the USSR Academy of Sciences

Leonid Kantorovich and V. Makarov

Problems of Economic Transition, 1978, vol. 20, issue 10, 75-96

Abstract: Economists have always used numerical examples to illustrate or confirm various principles. Some of these examples have been generalized and transformed into numerical models used to make substantive qualitative analyses. For example, the Tableau économique by the physiocrat economist F. Quesnay is a numerical model that explains the origin and distribution of incomes among classes of society according to physiocratic theory. Or recall that the essence of the mechanism of expanded reproduction was explained most clearly by K. Marx through his "Models of Reproduction." The models of reproduction were no longer merely a numerical model but were also a mathematical model in the present sense of the word, since they used letters to denote variables and parameters. Marx used his model to formulate precisely the idea of the value balance, particularly the balance in dynamic form, from which he deduced the preferential growth of the means of production, etc. Marx quite frequently used numerical examples that were of a typical, general character and that encompassed the essence of a phenomenon, i.e., were models of a corresponding process. Recall, for example, his numerical model of the formation of production prices and the average profit norm.

Date: 1978
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DOI: 10.2753/PET1061-1991201075

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