Re: (OPE-L) Ernesto's "Damned Lies" ?

From: Riccardo Bellofiore (riccardo.bellofiore@UNIBG.IT)
Date: Mon Feb 16 2004 - 09:29:58 EST

Hi Jerry,

my answer would be:

(i) yes, Ernesto's paper are "lies", since - in my opinion - his
interpretation of Matx is unwarranted and wrong

(ii) no, they are not "damned lies", an expression of criticism on
which TSS people has specialized, and that add nothing to the issues

(iii) in sum, Ernesto's attitude towards Marx is the right one, a
critical attitude, against which it is legitimate to argue against;
what cannot be accepted is that there are critics who pretend they
have the Marx's interpretation.

About the Rome conference, as probably I told you at the time, I
received more or lessa month before a short mail by Andrew Kliman,
the content was: "will you come to the Rome conference where your
interpretation of Marx will be destroyed?".

I answered: Andrew, I cannot come to a conference I don't know it
exists, and at which I have not been invited in advance, and that I
don't even know it exists (note: of course Foley and Mongiovi etc.
must have been alerted much before). I received a kind of circular
letter some days after by Vasapollo of the Laboratorio, with the date
fixed, inviting all those who wanted to come. I had exams, defined
some weeks before, and I could not go.

Note: in the book the Old Myth which was discussed at the conference,
I was very heavily (and critically) attacked. I love that, provided
you have an opportunity to reply, on a plan of equality and in your
terms. You would expect I would have sometime been invited to have my
opportunity to rebut those criticism? Never. If my English is not
good enough, let me repeat it in several languages: Never.  Jamais,
Jamas, Mai. Alan Freeman repeatedly told me that I would have been
welcome to discuss the TSS, in their own terms of course, not in
mine. To express my views about marx was not anymore very productive.
To ask me to answer their criticism leaving me free to say what *I*
thought is something they never imagined as sensible.

This tells all about this stream of thought. In the book the Old Myth
my position was purported by Kliman and Carchedi in terms which
clearly contradicts my theses, more than that against what I have
many times said again and again. Examples: I have NEVER said that my
criticism to Marx were minor, as Andrew says, I think they are major,
and lead to major changes. I only said that in my view this changes
lead to reinstate on better terms Marx's exploitation theory. I NEVER
said, as Carchedi says about me, that there are successive
approximations in Marx, something against which I have battled all my
life. I taleked about what Rubin called the "method of comparison",
giving quotes from Marx's Capital I, and I insisted again and again
(contrary to what Carchedi says about me) that this method involves a
comparison with a situation which is fundamental and express real
magnitudes in capitalism. But it seem that what they want for (their
interpretation of) Marx and themselves has not to be allowed to
others: a fair representation of what you want to criticize.

So, you see, I very much like to discuss with Ernesto, though I
disagree with a lot of what he says about marx, likely 93%, but I
have found completely useless to discuss with (most, not all) TSS
people as long as they do not accept that, before than answers,
questions may be different among us, and methods, and styles of
thought, and that respect has to be granted not in words but in
practice for ALL, within and outside Marxism (what they often says
about Sraffa, to say one thing, is ridicolous: the more so for those
of us who were serious enough to go to Cambridge and try to
understand what really Sraffa thought about Marx).


At 8:33 -0500 15-02-2004, gerald_a_levy wrote:
>Hi Phil:
>There was a conference in Rome last year,  organised, I think,  by Laboratorio
>per la Critical Sociale.  Ernesto Screpanti's paper was entitled
>'Value and Exploitation:
>A Counterfactual Approach'.  From the first paragraph
>:.. Cavallaro's appeal to beware of mystifying labour values lets us
>hope that the
>search can proceed along correct lines today, avoiding certain
>scholastic forcings
>which we have witnessed in the past, although the interventions of Carchedi,
>Freeman and Kliman seem to want to kill this hope at birth.
>This could well elicit a response.
>Thanks for the information.  I don't think anyone -- and perhaps least
>of all, Ernesto --  would fault the author for responding to "Value and
>Exploitation: A Counterfactual Approach."   There is  a question,
>though,  about _how_ to respond.
>Do you think that Ernesto has been spreading "Lies, Damned Lies" about
>Would you agree that there should have been another title selected for the
>Kliman paper?
>In solidarity, Jerry


Riccardo Bellofiore
Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche
"Hyman P. Minsky"
UniversitÓ di Bergamo
Via dei Caniana 2
I-24127 Bergamo, Italy
direct    +39-035-2052545
secretary +39-035 2052501
fax:      +39 035 2052549

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