[OPE-L:4887] Re: RE: Re: Give us some NUMBERS, Fred! (was: rent and the working class)

From: Steve Keen (s.keen@uws.edu.au)
Date: Tue Feb 13 2001 - 17:49:13 EST

Thanks for a reply, even if it is to say that my post puzzles you.

The implication of my post was that I believe Marx would have applied his
dialectical 'ceteris paribus' to some of the forces you allow to alter at
the same stage of analysis.

I expect that you, like Marx, would not consider technical change when
explaining that labor is the only source of surplus (an explanation I
reject, but that's by the by).

However, when it comes to mapping from values to prices (I know that
statement can be seen as dualist, but I too have a 'single system'
interpretation that doesn't see any distinction between values and prices
at the core level of analysis, so bear with me), I don't accept that Marx
allowed technical change to occur, whereas you do. By allowing technical
change (and other factors as well), you can maintain a consistency between
the claim that labor is the only source of value, and the price dynamics of
a multi-sectoral economy.

My feeling is that Marx would reject this outright in an analytic sense:
yes it is true that technical change is going on all the time, and yes at a
higher level of analysis one must incorporate and explain it; but at the
level of working out price dynamics, the occurrence of (uneven?) technical
change should not be crucial to maintaining the veracity of the claim that
labor is the only source of value.

Why do I believe Marx would reject this? Because, at least on first glance,
it allows you to put any numbers you like into your system--it brings in a
level of arbitrariness which may appear to make the elaborated system
(multi-commodity) consistent with its precept (labor as the only source of
value), but which makes it impossible to have any structured analysis of
any issue beyond that.

I concede this is a perspective garnered from reading OPE posts rather than
the original Kliman/Freeman/etc papers, so I may be misrepresenting to some
extent (I'll know for sure when I finally have time to read the originals).
But the impact of the TSS approach seems to be a methodological mayhem
which clouds rather than clarifies the workings of capitalism.

At 12:55 AM 2/13/01 -0500, you wrote:
>Steve Keen's OPE-L 4873 puzzles me.  I do not see that, or how,
>the implication of my comment is to reject the ceteris paribus
>assumption or its equivalent.  I employ that assumption all the
>As for the rest, market movements in wages weren't part of Marx's
>explanation of the origin of surplus-value, but they certainly
>*did* "form a part of Marx's
>explanation of the ... magnitude of surplus[-value]."   (For just
>one of many examples, see his discussion in Ch. 25 of Capital,
>Vol. I.)  And it is a good thing, too.  Because if Marx's
>explanation of what determines the magnitude of surplus-value
>*excluded* these wage movements, he would (by definition) have
>been claiming that the magnitude of surplus-value is NOT
>influenced by these wage movements.  And that would have been
>It is one thing to focus on some of the many determinants of a
>phenomenon.  It is another to claim that they are the sole
>Andrew Kliman
Dr. Steve Keen
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Economics & Finance
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