[OPE-L:5559] Re: William of Ockam's Razor and Political Economy

From: Gerald_A_Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@email.msn.com)
Date: Sun May 13 2001 - 10:18:52 EDT

Re Ajit's [5558]:

OK, I re-checked your original post [5541].
As you wrote, you did not refer to a 'traditional
interpretation' (this was Rakesh's paraphrase).
You referred to two positions -- 1 of which (the
one that you sought to critique) was the
'predominant interpretation of the first chapter of

You seem to think I am confused -- on this point
you are correct. I am confused *by what you
wrote* and hence asked what I thought to be a
very simple and straight-forward question in 5557.

To understand the source of my confusion let's
look again at parts of your original contribution
to this thread in 5541.

In 5541, which btw was a response to a post by
Howard Engelskirchen, you wrote:

> Of course, i don't know the details of what
> has gone on before but from what I see it seems > the debate is hovering
around the
> Hegelian interpretation of value and value-form.

So, it would seem that you believed your
comments are supposed to have some bearing on
VFT. OK, but then you go on to write:

> The first thing we have to establish is what is this > "real" but
> thing called "value"? There are two ways of
> approaching this elusive thing "value"
> by taking Marx's writings as a guide. One way is > to see it in terms of
> division of labor, i.e. somehow value refers to
>  the  division of total social labor into various
> different sectors, and exchange-
> value or the prices of production is
> the form the value takes. The other way is to
> approach it as a representation of
> technology of production, which is the underlying > determinant of
exchange value or
> prices of production.

There are *more than 2* ways of approaching value, though, using Marx's
writings as a guide.
What you seem to be confronting, then, is
*not VFT* but:

> Now, for the first approach, which would be the > predominant
interpretation of the
> first chapter of *Capital*,

yet *very clearly* a VFT reading of the first
chapter is *by no means* the 'predominant
interpretation.'  No one says that -- no one
believes it.  Thus, the point of my 5557 was to
ask whose perspectives are you subjecting to

> to be acceptable one will need to establish some > kind  of relationship
between the social division
> of labor and the prices of production,
> and nobody has succeeded in doing so to the
> best of my knowledge.

Nor should we expect the 'predominant reading'
of the first chapter of Vol 1 to establish any kind
of relationship whatsoever about POP. So again
I am confused by what you wrote: *either*we
are discussing the 'predominant' interpretation of
Vol 1  *or* we are discussing a subject at a level
of analysis where POP are already formed.

You suggested at the end of 5558 that "all you
need do" is read one or both of a couple of
articles you wrote to understand which group
of authors you are referring to. I have the draft
that you sent me many years ago (btw, thanks
for that) of your "A Critique of Part One of
_Capital_ Volume One: The Value Controversy
Revisited" in front of me now.

When you identify authors near the beginning of
that paper (p. 6 in the draft) it is in reference to
the theory of commodity fetishism. Is that the
subject that you want to discuss now? If so,
please connect that topic to what you have
written on this thread.

For the 'orthodox side' on the subject of
commodity fetishism (which is _only one_ of the
subjects that concerns Ch 1), you identify Piling, Shaikh and Weeks.  OK,
_for the sake of
argument_, I'll accept that these 'orthodox'
writers put forward the 'predominant' reading of
Ch. 1.  Yet, none of these authors could be said
to represent VFT: indeed, some are harshly
critical of VFT.  I also note that in your 5 page
bibliography in which there are 89  sources listed,
only 1 (Tony Smith's book on _The Logic of
Marx's Capital_) is listed which could be said to
put forward a VFT perspective.

In conclusion, I like to know whose theories
are being debated so that I have a clear
understanding  of the nature of the debate (and
so that I can refer to the original sources for
clarification). Otherwise, confusion reigns.
So, until I know which authors and perspectives
are being critiqued, I guess I will have to stay out
of  this sub-thread.

In solidarity, Jerry

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