[OPE-L:3021] Re: empirical verification of interpretations of Marx?

From: Patrick L. Mason (pmason@garnet.acns.fsu.edu)
Date: Fri May 05 2000 - 12:56:34 EDT

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I think Jerry's posting on empirical verification is quite interesting.
However, I would offer a slightly different version of the same question.
Namely, forget about trying show whether there is doctrinal justification
in the hallowed texts for a particular interpretation. Rather, I'd love for
Andrew (and others) to create a table like the following:

                Approach to Value Theory
Outcome X1 X2 X3 X4 ... X5

Each row speaks to a particular empirical implication, while each column
says something about whether a particular approach is in agreement or
disagreement with the empirical implication. For example, Y1 might be the
falling rate of profit, Y2 might be the link between relative prices and
the value content of commodities, Y3 might be the relevance of the
productive/non-productive labor distinction, Y4 might whether competition
eliminates differential wages, etc.

Surely, this would be a publishable paper.

Such a table would tell us empirical types a great deal about why theorists
get so excitded about a particular approach to value theory. Further, one
of the great claims of Marxism is the superior ability to explain observed
reality - especially in comparison to neoclassical economists. Okay, let
the various value theorists show precisely how and why this is true.

One of the things I found most disgusting about papers submitted to RRPE on
value theory is that they almost universally feared/refused/found it
unnecessary/found it beyond their paper/studiously avoided ... engaging the
empirical implications of their approach or suggest theoretical refinement.

This is a cop-out.

peace, patrick l mason

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