[OPE-L:5721] Re: Re: Re: Re: de-bunking the de-bunk

From: Steve Keen (s.keen@uws.edu.au)
Date: Fri Jun 01 2001 - 03:42:30 EDT

Hi Gerry (when do you set sail on water rather than the aether? -:> ),

On the first point, sure VFTs might think their position more dialectical 
than mine; I see mine as more logically derived from Marx. I read a lot of 
VFT stuff (if Diane Elson et al qualify) when writing my Masters back in 
1990, but from my starting point--which sees the assertion that labour is 
the only source of value as something Marx actually disproved--then I can't 
see any reason to delve more deeply into VFT.

The same thing applies re TSS: yes I am making an assertion, but it's based 
on the premise/expectation that any badly formed starting point (that 
labour is the only source of value) will end up contradicting itself.

The reason I don't attempt to prove that is simple: I haven't got the time. 
I had a choice as to whether I debunked the various strands of marxism, or 
I debunked neoclassical economics. Since there are many more of the latter 
than the former, and they are far more dangerous to social welfare, I 
focused on the latter--and in the process, I've developed a very nice 
critique of perfect competition, the marginal theory of the firm, etc., 
which in due time I'll write up for journal publication. Given that 
neoclassical economics is the dominant ideology today, that effort is worth 
the time. TSS and VFT are a minority of a minority of a minority. If I had 
limitless time, I would try to pull apart what I see as illogical in those 
positions. But with other obligations, I'm unlikely ever to get around to it.

So all I can express is an opinion, but I don't think that because I don't 
have the time to prove my opinion, that I should therefore not express it.

Re my papers on Marx, read again and you will see that I was careful to say 
"from the point of view of the historians of
economic thought *who refereed my papers* on this issue". My papers haven't 
been referred to in the literature--and I could speculate about why--but I 
could, possibly, locate those referees' reports (there were 4-5 in total, I 
think), and write them up for OPE.

As for Marx and uncertainty, I couldn't agree more: that's why I hammer 
those statements Marx made about Ricardo and the valuation of undeveloped 
minerals on this list: there is something very profound that Marx 
appreciated about uncertainty, and his analysis of it is expressed in 
use-value/exchange-value terms. It's those insights (and many other related 
ones) that I'm trying to keep alive in debates on OPE, and they will form a 
large part of my next major project, a book on Minsky's financial 
instability hypothesis (my chapter in the recent Bellofiore/Ferri volume 
scratches the surface on this).

And as for my personal characterisation, yes I have always (since I first 
read Capital, 28 years ago) regarded myself as a Marxist, in the sense that 
the core of my analysis of capitalism is based upon Marx's insights as I 
interpret them. But I am also not a Marxist in the same sense that Marx 
once famously said that he was not. So Post Keynesian is a less complicated 
tag to wear, if others wish to impose it on me.

I'll contribute to the discussion on what evolutionary Marxism might be if 
others take up the cue first.

Cheers--and bon voyage once more!,
At 09:26 AM 6/1/01 Friday, you wrote:
>Re Steve K's [5698]:
> > But you forget that my critique of LTV marxism > begins from a completely
>different foundation to
> > Sraffians et al. I don't start by saying "the LTV
> > leads to logical conundrums"; I start by saying
> > "the LTV is inconsistent  with Marx's dialectical > theory of value".
>I recognize this as your claim. However, I'm not
>convinced you have grasped the diversity of
>perspective among Marxists re what you call
>Marx's 'dialectical theory of value'.  I think that
>our VFTers, for example (advocates, as they
>are of 'systematic dialectics') consider their
>perspective to be every bit (and probably a
>lot more) dialectical than your own. Also:
>what you call 'LTV' they might call 'LET'
>(labour embodied theory) -- which they reject.
> > Similarly on TSS; I could, if I had the time--
> > which I don't--put TSS into a
> > general and generic dynamic form, and show that > it is internally
>inconsistent (I suspect that it too
> >  would only work with constant L/K
> > ratios in all industries).
>Again you put forward the assertion in advance
>of the demonstration. For your assertion to
>carry any weight, it must be accompanied by
>the demonstration.  Otherwise it is merely
>intuition which we have been given no reason
>to accept.
> >  From my point of view, these arguments feel a
> > bit like fighting the Black
> > Knight in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail".
> > From my point of view--and
> > from the point of view of the historians of
> > economic thought who refereed
> > my papers on this issue--I've already cut off both > legs (the belief that
> > the LTV is Marx's fundamental theory of value, > and the belief that the
> > is consistent with his theory of value).
>Presumably there are other serious scholars who
>are historians of economic thought who don't
>share your conclusion that you have cut off
>both of these legs. Indeed, has _any_ historian
>of economic thought gone on record, in print,
>supporting this assessment?  If so, what are
>their names and what are the sources?
> > what I focus on in Keynes are the very rich
> > appreciations of uncertainty and the role of
> > finance, which are largely
> > expressed in Chapter 12 of the GT and his 1937 > papers.
>Long before Keynes came on the scene, Marx
>had a _far greater_ appreciation of uncertainty
>for he not only rejected Say's Law (Bernice
>Shoul once wrote a very good article on this
>topic) but incorporated uncertainty into the
>very core of his theory: i.e. uncertainty is a
>necessary consequence of the commodity-form
>and it is developed in successive more concrete
>ways as the categories of his analysis are
>unfolded and deepened.
> > True, Kalecki is a better father of what is called > Post Keynesianism
> > Keynes. But even Kalecki would accept that
> > Keynes was the better writer,
>The question of who is a 'better writer' is an
>issue only insofar as one compares who is a
>better _popularizer_ of a theory.  That is an entirely
>secondary issue, though, when judged against
>the *merits* of their particular perspectives.
> > There are some arguments I would reject in your > statements
>below--Post-Keynesians aren't
> > marginalists (but most are static theorists,
> > which is almost as bad).
>I didn't say they were -- I wrote that Keynes
>himself was a marginalist.
> > As for myself, I can cope with being typecast
> > as a
> > Post Keynesian, but if I have the chance to apply > my own economist
> > then it is a Marxian evolutionary economist.
>To paraphrase Dick Nixon [!]: 'we are all
>Marxians now' ??!!
>This is the first time I can recall you calling
>yourself a Marxian ....
>Perhaps a constructive line of discussion might
>be to ask: what insights does evolutionary
>economics bring to Marxian economics?
>In solidarity, Jerry

Home Page: http://www.debunking-economics.com
Dr. Steve Keen
Senior Lecturer
Economics & Finance
Campbelltown, Building 11 Room 30,
School of Economics and Finance
s.keen@uws.edu.au 61 2 4620-3016 Fax 61 2 4626-6683
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