Re: [OPE-L] Incoherence of the TSSI - consensus?

From: Anders Ekeland (anders.ekeland@ONLINE.NO)
Date: Sat Oct 20 2007 - 09:42:30 EDT

Dear Jerry,

I am again surprised over your eagerness to "take a vote" on the
TSSI. I am not quite sure if I am "outside of the proponents of the
TSSI" or inside. But I have discussed a lot of issues with Alan
Freeman - and to a lesser extent Andrew Kliman. We have disagreements
on both economic and political issues, but I think that they are no
worse than most others in their reporting of the views of those with
whom they disagree, and certainly not worse than Veneziani and
Mongiovi, which to me are not willing to accept the very limited
claims of the "reclaiming Marx" exercise.

Mongiovi and Veneziani only accepts static equilibrium (input prices
= output prices, Bortkiewicz, Sraffa, Steedman kind of models). They
seem very unwilling to look outside this very limited paradigm.

The limits to the TSSI, i.e. that it is not a real positive theory,
i.e. a model that shows how capitalism works, are not recognized,
because the Sraffa model is of course even more totally unreal
(nothing changes).

As I have said before it is an open question to me if one can make an
static equilibrium model of capitalism that is interesting. Certainly
not for policy issues (competition policy, innovation policy, welfare
policy) - since endogenous technological development is the key issue
here. A static model only make you blind to what is important.

An even deeper issue is if one can prove exploitation in a static,
simple reproduction model in a meaningful way, because as soon as the
model becomes static, simultaneous - nothing is actually the cause of
anything - and the prices will only depend on the technical coefficients.

The arbitrariness of such a model where only "basic goods" determine
the profit rate - clearly in contradiction to the actual dynamics of
the tendency to equalization of profit rates in real life capitalism
- in my opinion shows that such models cannot be the basis to build
any robust political results on.

IMO we are in a situation where the TSSI is starting the process of
getting rid of the old thoughts so that it will be easier to think
the new thoughts - to use a metaphor from Keynes. The new thoughts
have still not crystallized.

To take a vote in such a situation in my opinion only hampers the
fresh and daring thinking/discussion that we need.

We do not need a consensus condemning Kliman and Freeman, if they
were that hopeles then we could just leave them alone. The point is -
as Jerry's post proves - they are stimulating discussion and should
get some credit for that even if one disagrees on major or minor points.


At 16:19 19.10.2007, glevy@PRATT.EDU wrote:
>A reply by Simon M and Roberto Veneziani to Kliman and Freeman,
>published by _Capital & Class_ (Summer, 2007), is online:
>Is there anyone (anywhere in the world) who has actually debated K & F
>who would disagree with the following understated conclusion?
>"In their use of logic, their reporting of the views of those with whom
>they disagree, and in the elaboration of their own fundamental categories,
>Kliman and Freeman leave something to be desired."
>Is there - outside of the proponents of the TSSI - consensus or
>near-consensus on that conclusion?
>In solidarity, Jerry

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