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

From: Gary Mongiovi (MONGIOVG@STJOHNS.EDU)
Date: Tue Feb 17 2004 - 13:27:37 EST

Sorry for piping into this discussion so late.  Ernesto's piece "Value & Exploitation: A Counterfactual Approach" was published in the April 2003 issue (Vol. 15, no. 2) of The Review of Political Economy (which I co-edit with Steve Pressman).  I gather that Andrew Kliman has submitted a response to this piece, but North American submissions go to Steve Pressman, and I don't know the status of the piece.
I agree with Gerry that it is not helpful to constructive discourse to label the arguments of one's opponent lies. I have no idea whether Steve Pressman, should Andrew's piece be accepted, will ask for a change of title, or even if that is the title of the piece Steve has. He & I are always quite scrupulous about not interefering in each others' editing activities.
 I'm not sure the issue is solidarity so much as civility.  There's no reason why Andrew should feel solidarity with views or individuals with whom he is in very strong disagreement. But we can't even come to a better understanding of our differences (let alone reconcile them)  if we don't treat each others' positions with respect and if we don't interact in a civil and constructive fashion.  There is also a self-interest argument that is relevant, if I may venture into such terrain.  I've not seen Andrew's piece, so I have no position on the soundness of his argument.  But the bombast of the title is apt to raise doubts about whether its purpose is to clarify a disagreement, or instead to crush an enemy. A catfight's usually more interesting to watch than a chess game, but serious people regard catfights with some measure of distaste.

	-----Original Message----- 
	From: OPE-L on behalf of Gerald A. Levy 
	Sent: Tue 2/17/2004 9:43 AM 
	Subject: (OPE-L) Ernesto's "Damned Lies" ?
	Hi again Phil.  I had a longer version of the following 
	butI edited it to ensure that the focus stays where I
	think it should remain.
	> I have not seen Andrew Kliman's paper so I cannot 
	> really comment on title selection. 
	It's the *title* of the paper which is so damning (excuse 
	the pun). By picking that title any possible discussion 
	of the article contents (good or bad) is -- almost inevitably 
	-- blocked  and the focus of discussion then is (and should
	be) re-directed to the title itself.  It is thus a self-defeating act.
	Had someone who was critical of the TSSI  written an
	article directed at an interpretation of Marx by a TSS
	supporter named  'Omega'  entitled  "Lies, Damned 
	Lies, Omega's Critique of Marx",  would you still have to
	see and read the paper before commenting on title
	Whether I agree or disagree with Ernesto is really besides 
	the point.  There is an important political point here related 
	to solidarity.  And, btw, had there really been an 'Omega' 
	and had someone written an article with the title above, 
	then I would have called the attention of the list to it.  The 
	issue here is more important,  imo, than disputes over 
	TSS vs. SSS interpretations of the quantitative aspects of 
	Marx's theory.
	> I do not agree with either the orthodox theory or Screpanti's, 
	> but that is irrelevant.  It is the charge of incoherence that - 
	> I would guess-  would attract the 'Damned Lies' bit.  
	One can have a mistaken interpretation of Marx, but that
	doesn't mean that *lies* are being spread.  And here I differ
	a bit with Riccardo who suggested that Ernesto spread
	lies but not "damn lies".  In the English language to say 
	that something is a lie is a much stronger statement than 
	to suggest that someone's perspective is mistaken or in 
	error.  I don't know Ernesto personally, but I find the implication 
	(and how else could one read the title as suggesting 
	anything other than this?) that he is a *liar* to be *highly* 
	offensive and objectionable.
	In solidarity, Jerry

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