Julian Wells

Met via: https://thenextrecession.wordpress.com/2018/02/02/trading-economics-the-chinese-way/#comment-101123

Julian Wells Says:

Wang Zhenying’s musings seem to be so much blether; but in principle agent-based modelling with heterogenous (types of) agents has much to offer, especially if combined with explicit consideration of networks. Even so-called zero-intelligence models can provide food for thought — see Ian Wright’s “Social Architecture of Capitalism”: see https://arxiv.org/abs/cond-mat/0401053

  • Arthur Says:

    Thanks for the ref. Only skimmed it. Hope to study it and related literature carefully. Statistical Mechanics is an improvement from 17th Century mechanics but it looked like a long way to go before actually modelling laws emerging from production relations rather than imposing them. When doing that it will look more like Systems Biology models and less like Statistical Mechanics. Continuum mechanics (especially rheology) would be an important intermediate step beyond Statistical Mechanics.

    • Julian Wells Says:

      Agreed: the importance of the statistical mechanics analogy (econophysics) is precisely that it opens the way to models in which law-like behaviour of the system is an emergent property — in other words, to the complexity perspective.

      I claim that Marx’s approach to political economy was fundamentally probabilistic in character, and that he is hence a precursor of modern complexity science; the argument is sketched in my article “Of fat cats and fat tails” http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1108/S0161-7230%282013%290000028008 (paywall, I’m afraid).

      You may also find Cockshott et al. (2009) “Classical Econophysics” of interest.

    • Arthur Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation.

      Thanks! Will study it closely. Paywalls not a problem with “Library Genesis” (google):


      Have seen Cockshott.

      Am broadly aware of Agent Based Computational Economics (Tesfatsion et al) and complexity science as well as ABM generally (got Machover and Farjoun when first published).


      Unfortunately I am only just getting back into study and have a LOT of catching up to do.

      From quick scan of your article I broadly agree, but also sort of take it for granted ie don’t see how anyone could actually read Capital and NOT notice it is about emergence. (Hence don’t regard most “marxian economics” as having anything to do with Marx).

      Am doubtful about trying to model finance without first having a plausible toy model of prices fluctuating with business cycle. Believe semiquantiative “pure model” of Marx’s theory of “The Capitalist Cycle” by Maksakovsky could be illustrated as emerging from production relations with ABM. Links for free download or paperback order are at:


      Sort of thing I have in mind is mentioned in this comment here:


      Would be very interested in references/suggestions on how to work on above.

      Continuum Mechanics (especially rheology) has concepts like viscosity, plasticity, elasticity that seem to me much closer to emergent laws in economics than the more “thermodynamic” laws that emerge with just Statistical Mechanics. Rheology is about “flow” and so is economics.


      My blog above won’t be ready for quite a while but if you want to chat, please leave me a message there so I can email you.

Emails (from 2018-02-05) julianwells@gn.apc.org

PhD is an attempt to investigate their [Machover and Farjoun] gamma hypothesis; download here; http://oro.open.ac.uk/22347/

Only skimed thesis and above links. Worth studying later.

From email 2018-02-06:

Re your point 2:
2. Will be particularly interested in how you handle the asset valuation problem.
My assumption is that it is fundamentally intractable – fixed capital stock valuations depend on capitalizations of expected future profits at expected future average rates. Hence inherently uncertain rather than merely stochastic. If particular sections of your thesis could be read on that before I have time to work through from start, please give page numbers.
I don’t really deal with *how* to deal with expectations, since I take the opposite line — that the first question is *whether* to do so, and that the answer is *no*. Chapter 2, section 1, deals with this and argues that conventional accounting data *should* be used, and the rest of the chapter deals with more technical questions.
In Ch 2.1 you will see that I rely on Rob Bryer’s work; since then he has produced much more in the same vein, including now a book:

Have now read thesis Ch2.1 and skimmed rest of chapter 2 which has useful survey of theories on rate of profit etc.

Agree on importance of accounting and will return to study details. Must get recommended Robert Bryer book (meanwhile will read working papers especially those related to thesis).

Surprised to see support for TSSI (and interest in “transformation problem”) but looks much more interesting than I would expect from that.

No option but to use accounting data (carefully massaged) both for what Julian is doing in thesis and for the variables available to agents and observers of the ABM toy model I want to do.

But the price and profit rate fluctuations that must emerge from any useful toy model of business cycle are characterized by regular crises and bankruptcies from divergence between accounting appearances and actual underlying realities. Comparison between book values of assets and market caps suggests their correlation is cyclical (market caps way above now and will crash to way below). This is what Marx and Maksakovsky were studying and I want to illustrate with ABM.

Robert Bryer


Should lookup published papers above.

Have downloaded working papers:


Accounting for Value in Marx’s Capital The Invisible Hand

Robert Bryer

(07 Sep 2017) not yet in Library Genesis


ebook: Adobe DRM STG 108

Hardback: Used from STG 59.54 to new 63.38




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