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

From: Gary Mongiovi (MONGIOVG@STJOHNS.EDU)
Date: Wed Oct 24 2007 - 08:39:04 EDT

To Ian again. You write that: 
I agree that it is a `simple fact' that a cake gets divided between
classes. We don't need theory to make this observation. But your claim
that capitalists are nonproductive, and that this division therefore
represents an injustice, begs the question. As you know, theories of
economic value have traditionally been employed to affirm or deny
this. For example, Marx talks of uncovering the "secret" of capitalist
profit by using the LTV to demonstrate what capitalist profits
actually represent, their true 'substance'.

I have trouble imagining how it is possible to objectively discuss
distributional justice without a theory of economic value. Otherwise
we have different classes with their contending claims, all of which
are 'simply one way to look at what is going on'.

This just reinforces my point that the LTV nowadays mainly has an ideological as opposed to a scidentific function. (For Marx it's function was scientific in the sense that it enabled him to expose the interconnections between wages, profits & prices.) Questions of distributive justice are an altogether different sort of animal from questions about how a capitalist system functions. 
I am fully aware that science & ideology interconnect in significant ways. But that doesn't mean we ought to warmly embrace the interconnection and plunge full-steam-ahead with the integration of value judgments into our statements about how the world is objectively constrcted. The other alternative--trying as best we can to separate the two realms of discourse--is a better way to move forward if we want to have useful conversations with people who have different ideological perspectives. 


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