[OPE-L:3344] Re: Measurement of value

From: Patrick L. Mason (pmason@garnet.acns.fsu.edu)
Date: Thu May 25 2000 - 12:24:04 EDT

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No offense intended, but you are engaging in the same obsfuscation
neoclassicals are accused of.


When neoclassical economists point out the mediating influences on their
theoretical models, anti-neoclassicals say they are apologizing for the
status quo.

I have same several times, and will now repeat, empirical analysis is
simply the most concrete form of theoretical development. So, the process
goes something like the following:

high theory --> theory with mediation --> concrete macro- and
micro-analysis --> empirical work

to see affirm/disaffirm expected correlations.

In the process of doing the empirical analysis, we may very well discover
that the theory is insufficiently developed -- even if we are able to
affirm the expected correlations.

Note: I am not arguing here that that statistics "prove" anything. Every
econometrics professor I've ever had in graduate school, from Jan Kmenta on
the right to David Gordon on the late, has suggested and I wholeheartedly
concur that Theory proves. Statistics merely captures or fails to capture
the expected correlations.

At the end of the day, Marxists must have something to say about concrete
reality. I've always thought it was a point of pride among Marxists that
they could explain growth, exploitation, profit, prices, wages, etc better
than neoclassicals. Is this no longer true?

peace, patrick

At 12:56 AM 5/25/00 EDT, you wrote:
>Patrick Mason says:
>A claim of Marxian economics is that it provides a superior understanding
>of social reality, in comparison to the supposedly obsfuscating tendencies
>of neoclassical economics. If this claim is true, let's go to the data and
>prove it.
>My comment:
>I object to the attempt to relate scientific concepts to empirical
>without mediation. Mediation is what Marx's value theory is about. I think
>that this approach (ie, the attempt to bypass mediations which exist in the
>real world, rather than to try and explain why and how they exist) is due to
>the influence of the dominant (neoclassical, empiricist, positivist)
>methodology upon the Marxian research programme.
>(The analogy with race might work for market price-price of production, but
>it does not work for value.)
>In my view, the empirical relevance of value is revealed by, for example,
>existence of class conflict in production and circulation, the endless
>for labour-saving technical change, the recurrence of crisis, etc - not by
>anyone's ability to come up with a number and say, 'hey, presto, this is

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