Re: [OPE-L] the point of a dynamic model?

From: Jerry Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Wed Mar 14 2007 - 11:55:34 EDT

> Robin Blackburn wrote "The traditional aim of socialist thought has been
> to
> become nothing less than the self-awareness of capitalist society. In a
> society profoundly ignorant of itself, it was the task of socialists to
> comprehend the principles on which the society worked. By discovering the
> real nature of capitalism, they were attempting to recapture an economic
> system that had escaped social control. Today the task remains as
> formidable
> as ever, because capitalism is by the law of hits own nature in a
> continual
> state of restless transformation. The true character of capitalism has to
> be
> discovered by each new generation". ('The new capitalism", in Robin
> Blackburn, ed., Ideology and Social Science, Fontana, 1976, , p 164). The
> point here is that, let's face it, any comprehensive and sophisticated
> understanding of the capitalist system as a whole, such as it exists now,
> is  simply lacking among the current generation.

Hi Jurriaan:

In other [very familiar] words, "The philosophers have only *interpreted*
the world, in various ways: the point, however, is to *change* it".

I understood part of the rest of what you wrote to mean that we not only
have to understand capitalism and then act on that understanding by changing
to a non-capitalist system  but that we also need to consider  the "morality
of power and the power of morality" in a socialist society.

Compare the XIth Theses on Feuerbach (and what you have written) to the
"1st Thesis on Marxian Economics":

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

Is that and should that be "the point", Jurriaan?

> In reply to Jerry:
> I think that is not quite fair to Freeman/Kliman, on two counts.

I think I have been quite fair to them -- perhaps too much so (but
that's another story).

>  Marx
> tried to discover how the law of value would operate in a developed
> capitalism, but he never got around to finishing his manuscripts on it.


> Therefore he didn't trace out and formulate the full implications of his
> own
> idea, insofar as he understood them. Thus one could claim consistency with
> Marx in this regard, while acknowledging some implications were not
> recognised by Marx himself.

Where have Kliman  and Freeman recognized that the perspective that they
have been presenting has been their own?   They have emphasized over and
over again that theirs is an *interpretation* of Marx (indeed it's the "I"
in TSSI).   Riccardo made the claim the other day  that they have *invented*
a Sraffa to critique; I think it could also be said that they have
*invented*  a Marx of their own making to show that his quantitative theory
was free of logical  inconsistencies.

> Marx comes close to saying that in particular
> situations there would be no determinate relationship between prices of
> production and labour-values, especially of course in situations where the
> supply of a good was monopolised and surplus-profits were obtained from

Have Freeman and Kliman also said that there is "no determinate relationship
between prices of production and labour-values"?

They have what appears to me to be an interpretive and ontological
commitment to quantitative determinism.  Thus,  in Freeman's model
of moral depreciation, there is simply a redistribution of value among
capitalists rather than also a loss of capital values.   He has taken a
dynamic topic and reduced it, imo,  to a simple determinate relationship.

> 2) I don't think Kliman/Freeman would claim at all that getting back to
> Marx actually said and intended is the whole story.

No, they wouldn't say that.  Instead, Kliman has said that *the point* is to
interpret Marx  "correctly".   Although they have made claims about dynamics
and capitalism their *focus* has been squarely and clearly on interpreting
Marx *rather than developing dynamic theory* -  or understanding and
changing the world, for that matter.

Ask yourself how the TSSI modest forays into "dynamic theory" compare
to what Anders said the other day (3/12) a Marxian model should be able to

Saying that capitalism has a temporal (and spatial) dimension which needs to
be grasped and that capitalism is a non-linear system is all well and good.
If the TSSI  comrades want to address  those issues then they have to leave
[their reinvention of] Marx's nest and fly for themselves.   They would also
have to shift their focus away from how there has allegedly been a Global
Anti-TSSI Conspiracy by the "Marxian economists"  to "suppress" their
perspectives.   Alas, they show no signs of doing this.

In solidarity, Jerry

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