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

From: Anders Ekeland (anders.ekeland@ONLINE.NO)
Date: Sat Oct 20 2007 - 13:31:41 EDT

Mohun wrote:
>Not Gary Mongiovi, but Simon Mohun.

Yes, but I wrote purposely Mongiovi. I do not see his: "Vulgar
economy in Marxian garb: a critique of Temporal Single System
Marxism." as a role model for really engaging with people with other
points of view.

Veneziani followed up this in a contribution to the 2006 AHE
conference, better in style, but still just the type of "polemics"
that we all know to well in the seventies.

>And you are not quite right - it is because Roberto and I do not find
>the "reclaiming Marx" exercise convincing that we are not willing to
>accept what you call its "very limited claims".

I have not read your and Roberto's article, so I cannot comment on
that one in particular. My point was that Kliman and Freeman is no
worse in reporting - and trying to understand the motives of people
with whom they disagree than Mongiovi and Veneziani whom I have read.
I was addressing Jerry's call for a vote, not directly the real
issues involved.

>>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).
>The TSSI has nothing to say about how capitalism actually works - that
>is not its avowed purpose. [Since most of my own work is about how
>capitalism actually works, engaging with the TSSI is singularly

Since we agree here, and this point is very clearly stated by A.F and
A.K - so why be frustrated? Why just drop the debate about if Marx is
internally consistent? That debate is only interesting as part of a
hegemonic debate - which is very important from a political point of
view. But from a view of how capitalism does work, whether the
important results that Marx thought he had elaborated are true the
"reclaiming debate" is not the one that is going to give us the
positive theory, the real restatement of the essence of Marx' project.

To take an example: Although I disagree with Rosdolsky on several
points on how capitalism actually works, and where I think Marx (and
Rosdolsky) were/are wrong/fragmentary/limited by the historical
experiences with capitalism so far etc. - I really feel that
Rosdolsky understands Marx, that his interpretation is in Marx'
spirit, that if Marx and Rosdolsky met they would have had long,
fruitful exchanges of views. When reading Steedman, Elster, Roemer -
I do not get that feeling at all. I think Marx very quickly would
have gotten very irritated by the fundamentally static, un-dialectic
approach of the linear-algebraic method - and had no sympathy at all
for this type of "corrections" - not at all understanding why the
equality of profit and surplus value, of total value and total prices
are absolutely necessary invariants if you are going to explain
labour(time) as the source(measure) of value.

>>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.
>You can find my own approach in
>"A Re(in)statement of the Labour Theory of Value". Cambridge Journal of
>Economics 18(4), 1994: 391-412
>"Does All Labour Create Value?", pp. 42-58 in A. Saad-Filho (ed.),
>Anti-Capitalism: a Marxist Introduction. London: Pluto Press, 2003
>"On Measuring the Wealth of Nations: the U.S. Economy, 1964-2001".
>Cambridge Journal of Economics 29(5), 2005: 799-815
>"Distributive Shares in the U.S. Economy, 1964-2001". Cambridge Journal
>of Economics 30(3), 2006: 347-70

Thanks for very useful references!


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