Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Expertise Devalued At Wikipedia

I have some knowledge about how 20th century English-speaking mathematical economists have treated the labor theory of value. The transformation problem is a central focus of discussions of whether the theory is internally consistent.

I have previously mentioned my dissatisfaction with the evolution of the Wikipedia entry on the Labor Theory of Value. But consider the transformation problem.

At one point, (29 July 2005) the entry was mainly written by Mario Ferretti. Although he describes neither the New Interpretation nor the Temporal single system approach adequately for my taste, I have no doubt about his expertise on linear production models. He's written, for example, "The Neo-Ricardian Critique: An Anniversary Assessment", (University of Rome seminar, 26 October 2004). This is not the post for me to go into where I agree and disagree.

Look at the current entry on the transformation problem. Basically, Ferretti's work has been stripped out.

One could talk about the difficulties of including mathematics in work that will be read by a general audience. And some supposed Marxists are impatient with the transformation problem - I also find some just don't understand the topic. But, once again, the evolution of this article doesn't seem right to me.

I might as well mention an article I'm happier with. I have some disagreements with Radek on General Equilibrium. But overall I think the evolution of this article, primarily with his rewriting, has resulted in a better organized and better referenced article than my previous attempt.

I'm not a registered Wikipedia user. If I were, I would probably vote for Aaron Swartz.


radek said...

Thanks for the complement. I'm actually pretty happy with the fact that the GE entry is almost devoid of math, though it links to some of the relevant theorems. The Transformation Problem OTOH is a specific PROBLEM, rather than a broad theory so it's hard to see how an entry on it can avoid maths completly (among other problems with the current version). So yeah, I think the previous version was much better. I was thinking about a revert but I feel like that page "belongs" more to other people so was waiting to see if any developments develop. That and little spare time recently to play around on Wiki.

Robert Vienneau said...

Thanks for the comment radek. As one can see, I'm slow to respond to everybody.