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A trajectory of a temporal system is the entire set of states that it passes through between two points in time, the initial state and the end state. For a simulation, a state is defined by set of state variables describing the system. Thus for example in the capitalist simulation the state consists of everything that you see on your screen, while you are running the simulation. As time advances, the simulation moves from one state to the next. During the simulation, each successive state is recorded in an internal database. The database thus stores the trajectory of the simulation

Representation and reality

Any mathematical or programmed trajectory is a representation of reality and is not the same thing as reality itself. Philosophers differ when they speak of the relation between a representation and reality; loosely speaking, the representation provides knowledge about reality which may either help understand or explain it, or possibly predict it. The term model is sometimes used by economists to describe the relation between a representation and reality, but scholars of the [Temporal Single System Interpretation]] (TSSI) school generally avoid this language because it contains an ideological payload, confusing the two functions of understanding and representation; in most economic models, especially simultaneist or equiibrium models, becomes a substitute for understanding, or even imposes an understanding dominated by its conformity to the prejudices and private interests of the economist. Thus in equilibrium models, crisis is theoretically impossible. This is not necessarily a feature of reality; economists however frequently argue that because the model cannot contain crisis, neither can reality.

No claim is made that this simulation "models" reality in the sense that economics conventionally uses the word. The simulation is a representation.

The status of theory in the simulation

This simulation, and this wiki, pay a lot of attention to the work of Marxist writers who have studied capitalist reproduction. This includes temporal theorists like Karl Marx, Rosa Luxemburg, Otto Bauer, and Grossman and also [[simultaneist] theorists such as Leon walras, Ladislaw von Bortkiewicz, Paul Sweezy or Piero Sraffa. In the works of these writers we find theories of reality which are often expressed in numerical terms, speaking for example of price, value, quantity of use value, rate of profit, and so on. [[TSSI}} scholars divide these into two broad schools of thought - simultaneist and temporal.

All such writers, and in fact most economists, construct theories of the economy which it is represented as a trajectory: a succession of states. They differ about how the economy moves from one state to the next, about which variables should be included in the state, and about which of these variables should be treated as exogenous and which endogenous. They also differ about the meaning of these variables, although these differences are frequently concealed in simultaneist expositions, especially when these expositions employ the concept of model. This is because such models impose a meaning which derives from the representation, rather than reality; in such expositions, meaning tends to be determined by the characteristics of the representation, rather than the characteristics of reality.

Therefore, whilst there is often superficial agreement on the variables to be included in the state - so that for example, the price of each [commodity]] is included in almost all representations (although value is not always included - there are potentially enormous concealed differences about the meaning of these variables.

The simulation itself, viewed as a pure calculation, is simply a way of connecting sets of numbers at different points in time. In order to gain insight into reality from it, it should be recognised that it is a representation both of reality, and of theories about reality. Generally speaking, it is as much a tool for understanding other people's theories, than for understanding reality. If model illusion is to be avoided, therefore, the simulation cannot, and should not, be used as a direct attempt to represent reality independent of theory. Only a theory can assign meaning to the state variables in the simulation, and only a theory can assign meaning to the connection between state variables at different points in time, that is, to the trajectory of the simulation.