[OPE-L:4965] Re: causes of changes in prices of production

From: Drewk (Andrew_Kliman@msn.com)
Date: Mon Feb 19 2001 - 13:03:34 EST

I appreciated Paul Zarembka's thoughtful post, OPE-L 4962.

He wrote:  "Andrew once asked me the same question on another
topic, and I told him I didn't know the answer and I still don't;
I'm hoping to learn if there a way to answer such a question."

I now see the resemblance between the question I asked Fred and
the question I asked Paul.  I hadn't before, because they are
somewhat different questions, with somewhat different motivations.
The question I asked Paul concerned the verification/
falsification of a theory rather than of an interpretation.  And
unlike the question I posed to Fred (and other physicalists), I do
not (yet) have an answer of mine own to the question I posed to
Paul.  I'm writing this post to see if anyone might be able to
help formulate an answer.

The issue is whether the growth of Dept. I can outstrip the growth
of Dept. II, i.e., overcome the supposed "limits" set by demand
for consumer goods.  It was obvious to Luxemburg and it is obvious
to Paul that the answer is "no."  It is obvious to me and to
others that the answer is "yes."  As somewhat put it at the AHE
conference last year (where I posed my question to Paul),
capitalism *is* production for production's sake.

In fact, I consider the schemes of expanded reproduction in
_Capital_ II as *proof* that the answer is "yes."  But neither
Luxemburg nor Paul accept the proof.  So my motivation in posing
my question to Paul is to move beyond, to avoid rehashing, the
debates of the past.  Thus my question was:  how would you test
this issue?  What would constitute proof, one way or the other?
(I note that the issue does not seem to me to be subject to
empirical testing, since it concerns possibility ["can"] rather
than actuality ["does"].)

I'm afraid I can't think of a proof other than the kind that
Marx's schema provide.  Can anyone help?

(To clarify a point that came up before:  Growth of Dept. I can
outstrip that of Dept. II to a limited extent only when technology
and real wages are not changing, since Dept. II must be big enough
to feed both Depts.' workers.  If, to the contrary, Dept. I
*continually* grows faster than Dept. II, then, in the long run,
Dept. I's demand for Dept. II's output must exceed the supply.
If, however, continuous labor-saving technological change occurs,
this can depress Dept. I's demand for Dept. II's output to an
extent sufficient to allow the growth rate of Dept. I permanently
to exceed that of Dept. II.)

Paul also wrote:  "I notice that Fred is continuing to put Andrew
on the spot ...."

I don't feel that Fred is putting me on the spot.  He seems to be
trying to do so, to be sure, but, as I've noted, there's no point
in discussing the evidence from Part 2 if a satisfactory
alternative interpretation will not satisfy him.  He has indicated
that it will not satisfy him.  There's also the prior issue of
Fred's invention, out of thin air, of an evil twin profit rate.

I say this is prior because the *significance* of the Part 2
material depends on it.  If we were to accept Fred's evil twin
profit rate argument, which of course we cannot, then an
unsuccessful alternative interpretation of the Part 2 evidence by
me would suggest that *the TSSI contradicts Marx's theory*.  If,
however, we all acknowledge, as we all should, that Fred's
interpretation fails because there's no evidence for the evil twin
profit rate, and because his interpretation contradicts Marx's
theory once we repudiate Fred's blatant immunizing strategy, then
an unsuccessful alternative interpretation of the Part 2 evidence
by me would suggest that *Marx's theory itself is

There seems to me to be no point in entering into a discussion of
the Part 2 evidence unless and until this is settled.  Why discuss
something if the implications of the different possible outcomes
aren't clear and agreed-upon in advance?  What good would
discussion do?

Andrew ("Drewk") Kliman
Dept. of Social Sciences
Pace University
Pleasantville, NY 10570 USA
phone:  (914) 773-3968
fax:  (914) 773-3951

Home:  60 W. 76th St. #4E
New York, NY 10023 USA

"The practice of philosophy is itself theoretical.  It is the
critique that measures the individual existence by the essence,
the particular reality by the Idea."

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