Re: [OPE-L] Truncating Marx's "Capital"

From: David Laibman (dlaibman@SCIENCEANDSOCIETY.COM)
Date: Fri Aug 31 2007 - 11:03:12 EDT

Hi Fred,

    Well, very quickly.  In my *Science & Society* article, "Rhetoric
and Substance ... The New Orthodox Marxism," which was reprinted in the
TSS-edited collective work, *The New Value Controversy and the
Foundations of Economics*, I argued -- and, I like to think, pretty much
demonstrated -- that the sequential calculation has to go in one of two
directions.  Either you embrace a theoretical conception of time by
working out the value-formation process under assumed constant social
and technical conditions of production; or you allow technology, the
rate of exploitaton, etc. to change as the iterations proceed.  The
former corresponds to the Shaikh-Morishima-Nuti iterative solution, and
leads to the stationary result also obtained by simultaneous calculation
(Meek, Sraffa, etc. -- and Laibman!).  I call this the *Theoretical
Time/Consistent Structure* Interpretation: TT/CS.  It is based very
clearly, I believe, in Marx's premise that value theory is about laying
bare the underlying structure in a given set of market-based social
relations.  The alternative -- the TSSI variety of "temporal" analysis,
in which everything constantly changes and therefore no convergence
takes place -- is, in my view, the abandonment of any chance at a
theoretical perspective; it is pure empiricism, the systematic
confounding of fortuitous experienced phenomena with their
deep-structural determinants.  It is not really a "single system"; it is
rather an eclectic mishmash in which values, prices of production and
market prices are all merged into one another and cannot be
distinguished, and in which theory, in Marx's sense, plays no role.  It
is ironic, and in fact rather sad, that this retreat into total eclectic
empiricism is put forward in the name of "reclaiming" Marx!

    While I am on the subject, I should say something about the "new
orthodox Marxist" characterization in my article title.  This is due
entirely to me, and it was coined before the term "TSS" came into use
(that term is due to Gil Skillman, by the way).  Kliman et al have made
clear that they do not accept the "new orthodox Marxist" label -- they
have even replaced the term with its abbreviation, N....O.....M...., on
a Wikipedia talk page, after the fashion of religionists who write "G-d"
in place of "God" -- and so I will not use it from now on, following the
OPE requirement that we use terms that are acceptable to all
participants in a debate.  But, on reflection, I now think that "new
orthodox Marxist" is, in a sense, *too generous* a characterization of
the TSSI.  The TSSI supporters reject the very concept "Marxism"; Marx,
after all, must be reclaimed from the nefarious Marxists!  And, properly
defined, there is, I think, nothing wrong with being "orthodox," if this
simply means serious continuing efforts to derive as much as possible
from Marx and Engels, and to relate one's current work to the core of
the tradition begun by those seminal thinkers.

    In solidarity,

Fred Moseley wrote:
> Riccardo, why do you think they should converge?
> David, can you help us out on this question?

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