[OPE-L:5569] Re: Ockam's Razor

From: Fred B. Moseley (fmoseley@mtholyoke.edu)
Date: Mon May 14 2001 - 09:43:30 EDT

I have not had time to read carefully the interesting discussion of
Ockam's Razor and value-form theory.  But on a quick reading, I agree with
Paul C: value-form theory does not have a theory of price or a theory of
surplus-value (as a quantity).  I don't think Nicky or Geert or Michael
have responded on this point (please correct me if I am wrong).  I have
argued the same point on OPEL a while back.

Therefore, Ockam's Razor does not apply in this comparison of Marx's
theory and value-form theory.  One version of Ockam's Razor (as I have
understood it) is that, between two theories that can explain the same
phenomena, the theory with the fewest assumptions is to be preferred.  But
this razor does not apply to Marx's labor theory of value and value-form
theory, because the two do not explain the same phenomena.  I would argue
that Marx's labor theory of value explains more phenomena than value-form
theory.  Marx's labor-theory of value explains prices and, most
importantly, surplus-value; but value-from theory does not explain these
all-important phenomena.

So I would say that Marx's labor theory of value is preferred to
value-form theory because it has greater explanatory power.  Value-form
theory, as I understand it, develops concepts; it does not determine
quantities.  By contrast, Marx's theory both develops concepts and
determines quantities.  That is why I think that Marx's theory has greater
explanatory power than value-form theory.

I look forward to further discussion.


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