[OPE-L:3885] Re: Marxists AND Sraffians Misinterpreting Sraffa

From: Andrew_Kliman (Andrew_Kliman@email.msn.com)
Date: Tue Sep 26 2000 - 23:47:24 EDT

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In OPE-L 3872, Steve Keen wrote:

"One key difference there is how Andrew, and I think also you,
characterise Sraffa's analysis as "simultaneist", as though it alleges
that everything happens at once in the capitalist system when in fact, as
we all know, things take time."

Please! Why are you putting words in my mouth, words I have never
written? I have NEVER written even a single word in criticism of
Sraffa's book. In particular, I have never argued that Sraffa "alleges
that everything happens at once in the capitalist system." Not even that
he writes "as though" it takes place at once.

His epigones are another matter.

I am fully aware that *Sraffa's* project was not theory construction, but
the prelude to a critique. The following is my own view as well:

"In his critique of neoclassical theory, Sraffa effectively argued that
he was examining the concept of the aggregate value of capital in an
economy which had been in equilibrium for the indefinite past. His proof
that the "amount" of capital depended on the rate of profit showed that
the alleged neoclassical equilbrium of a market economy was logically

I think a retraction is in order.

I'm not sure what Steve Keen means by "Does TSS, or any other approach to
Marx which preserves the proposition that labor is the only source of
value, escape Sraffa's crucible." But Marx's theory that value is
determined by labor-time, as understood by its TSS interpretation, does
not fall prey to the problems of reswitching or capital revsersing.

These problems arise from simultaneous valuation. Get rid of the dogma
that input prices equal output prices, and you get rid of the
problems. In light of the capital controversy, the neoclassicists
realized this, got rid of the dogma, and nullified the reswitching

This is the reason why the "Sraffians" keep foaming at the mouth,
yammering on about "long period" positions. They're trying
desperately to put the jini back in the bottle. They want to convict
the neoclassicists of internal inconsistency, but to do that, they
first have to get the neoclassicists to adopt the ridiculous
long-period "methodology" that would MAKE their theory internally
inconsistent. Pretty pathetic, huh?

Of course, it is the exact same strategem the physicalists-simultaneists
try to use against us. If only proponents of the TSS interpretation
could be forced to play the absurd long-period game, "Marx" could be
convicted of internal inconsistency.


Andrew Kliman

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