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

From: glevy@PRATT.EDU
Date: Sat Oct 20 2007 - 13:57:33 EDT

> 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.

Hi Anders:

I was half expecting you to reply and am happy that you did.

As for your suggestion that K & F have stimulated discussion, for which
they should receive credit, I have a different take on that question based
on a different rememberance of the circumstances that led to the
over-abundance of discussion (in various forums, in print, in person at
conferences, and online) on the TSSI.

Here's the way I remember what happened.

Various advocates of what became known as the TSSI wrote papers on Marx
and were then disgruntled by what appeared to them to be the lack of
responses to those papers.  Freeman and Kliman then founded the
International Working Group on Value Theory (IWGVT) as a forum not merely
to discuss value theory in general, but _their_  perspectives in
particular.  Those who presented papers at the IWGVT were confronted
(sometimes bullied) by the organizers who asked them for responses to the
TSSI.  In many cases this worked: i.e. presenters were "guilt tripped"
and/or harassed into writing papers on the TSSI to satisfy this demand and
in appreciation of the efforts of the conference organizers to secure a
venue for the discussion of value theory. (These mini-conferences later
degenerated and disappeared, but that's another -- albeit, related --

Back when OPE-L was founded in the Fall of 1995 they again claimed that
their perspectives were being ignored.  They suggested -- without putting
forward a shred of evidence -- that their perspectives were being
"suppressed" by Marxian economists and journals.  You can go to our
archives to see how others responded. Basically, everyone else from _all_
perspectives said that they _also_ were waiting for responses to what they
had written. In other words, what Freeman and Kliman claimed was
"suppression" was experienced -- not as suppression, but as the norm -- by
everyone else.

So, basically what happened -- the way I remember it -- was that K & F
cried and protested about how their perspectives were being ignored and it
was *that* which led to the large amount of articles written since about
the TSSI. In other words, the response was _not_ caused by a belief that
_in any way_ the TSSI "contribution" was somehow intrinsically important.
Basically, people just felt sorry for them and wrote critiques so that
they wouldn't continue to cry about how their perspectives were ignored.

Yet, how else could all of that time and intellectual energy have been
spent?  What _other_  stimulating and pressing questions could have been
discussed without this extended engagement with this small TSSI grouping?

Frankly, I think the period from the early 1990's to the current period
will be remembered in the history of Marxian thought as


At a crucial time in world history, it will be remembered that Marxian
economists wasted a huge amount of their time discussing insignificant
Marxological questions which were divorced from understanding the way
capitalism actually works and struggles against that system.

It wasn't exactly a complete waste of time, but there were far better ways
for Marxists to spend their time.  Do Freeman and Kliman deserve "credit"
for that?  Well, in a way.  "Credit" or "blame" - it's the same thing.

Have they been "stimulating"?  Their form of "stimulation" we can do
without, imo -- just as we can do without tick bites as a form of

In solidarity, Jerry

PS: I wasn't proposing a "vote", Anders.  It just seems to me that after
12-15 years of debating these topics, people should begin to state clearly
what just about all of us agree on.  And then move on.

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