Re: [OPE-L] how will they COPE?

From: Jerry Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Sat Sep 02 2006 - 17:01:16 EDT

If I were to respond in published form to certain perspectives
expressed by advocates of the TSSI of Marx's value theory,
it would not highlight their use of the V = 0 assumption -- an
assumption which they attempted to _impose_ upon Marx's theory
in an effort (ironically) to defend it from the critique of Steedman
et al. (The source of that assumption in the debates in
recent decades on Marx's value theory can be traced back, btw,
to '3' in 'Appendix D' of Sraffa's  _Production of Commodities by
Means of Commodities_ [CUP, p. 94]).

Rather, I would reply  to two recently-expressed perspectives:

Firstly, I would subject Alan Freeman's perspective on pluralism
(published at the New SPACE site: to critique.  His
conception that "pluralism is about ideas, not people" is, in my view,
one-sided and _anti_-pluralist (and, in context, apologetic): pluralism is
about ideas _and_ people.  If pluralism is to be _practiced_ than the
Freeman conception _must_ be emphatically rejected.  Imagine a feminist
or an anti-racist or a humanist saying that racism or sexism or humanism
was "about ideas, not people".  Hard to imagine, isn't it?  Imagine a
_materialist_ saying that, yet that's what Freeman claims to be.
Imagine someone saying "socialism is about ideas, not people".  Absurd,
isn't it?

Secondly, I would raise (as Gary and David L have done) the question
of dogmatism as it relates to the TSSI.   I would focus, I think, on the
transformation and perversion of the 11th thesis on Feuerbach:

"The philosophers have only *interpreted* the world, in various
ways: the point, however, is to *change it"


"The economists have changed Marx, in various ways: the point
is to interpret him -- correctly."

Is there any better example showing the meaning of dogmatism
in the history of Marxism?   In this new slogan -- what I call the "dogmatic
thesis" -- "the point" is no longer to interpret and change _the world_,
now it is to interpret _Marx_ "correctly".    There is thus a change in
focus from the _subject_ of "the world" to Marx's thought  (which, by any
standard, is only one small part of that larger subject).  And, instead
of _changing_ the subject (the world), the focus becomes merely
hermeneutic (interpretation).  I think I would also highlight how _none_
of the other advocates of the TSSI have challenged Freeman on his
one-sided and erroneous conception of pluralism _or_ Kliman on the
dogmatic thesis: this is symptomatic in my view of an unprincipled
combination and a  degenerate and disingenuous research program and

I would not submit such a contribution to _COPE_, of course. A more
appropriate forum, though, might be _Post-Autistic Economics Review_  since these questions are very much related to the
concerns of that journal.

Please do note that there is not a single word above about the
personalities of Freeman and Kliman: all criticism above is directed
at their stated and published perspectives.

In solidarity, Jerry

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