[OPE-L:1100] Re: does price affect value

akliman@acl.nyit.edu (akliman@acl.nyit.edu)
Sat, 17 Feb 1996 11:32:38 -0800

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Andrew here, with a reply to Paul C. (ope-l 1093):

He writes:

"Simultaneity is a red herring."

And he says he'd be happy with temporal value determination, just not
the dependence of the value of constant capital on past distributions
of value.

But Paul, just because *you* would be happy with temporally determined
values, that doesn't mean anyone else would be. Hence, my raising the
issue of simultaneity is certainly no red herring. In fact, other than
the proponents of the TSS interpretation, you seem to be the ONLY one
willing to admit that Marx's values are temporally determined. The
"non-dualists" who are simultaneists fight us tooth and nail on this
issue. Have you been following the discussion between us and Fred
for instance?

Or how about my discussion with Gil (and some others) on the meaning of
Marx's statements that a commodity's value is determined by the labor
time needed for its production or contained in it? Gil and others
have claimed that the meaning of this is univocal, that values are
uniquely determined by current production conditions. In other words,
values are solely a function of the current A matrix and L vector.
If you accept temporal valuation, you undercut this position in a
massive way. At the very minimum, you are admitting that values are
not determined purely by "current" technology, admitting that there
are two parts to commodity value (dead as well as living or "current"
labor), and admitting *multiple possible interpretations* of Marx's

Now, if there are *multiple possible interpretations* of such statements,
then one can no longer use their alleged univocal meaning as the basis
for saying that past distribution of value has no effect on subsequent
values. One needs to find clear textual support in Marx for this view.
I maintain that there is none. I maintain that he says the opposite
many times, and my recent posts have indicated many places, in both Vol.
I and Vol. III, where he does so.

What folks are going to face up to is that I and others simply interpret
the text differently from you. You all think your reading is more
plausible, natural, etc. I maintain that it only seems this way because
you're all so used to it:

"empty tradition is more powerful in political economy than in any other
science"--Karl Marx (TSV III, p. 331).

To reject the TSS interpretation because one will not budge from one's
preconceptions regarding the meaning of the text is, quite franky,
sheer dogmatism. Anyone who is not a dogmatist should be able to specify
clearly the conditions under which one would acknowledge that Marx held
that different distributions of value in the past will affect subsequent
It is impossible to have a reasoned discussion with anyone who does not
do so. No argument of textual evidence I bring forth will do a damn
thing to alter such people's view. Apparently the only way to alter
such people's views is to make the alternative "appealing." But this is
irrelevant, intellectually shoddy, and thus something I refuse to do.

But let me be clear--I do not think I have to convince even the non-
dogmatist that my interpretation of this or that particular concept or
passage is "better" (whatever that might mean). If we have different
interpretations, the superior one is the one that can best make sense of
the work as a whole--including by repeatedly replicating Marx's
theoretical conclusions, partly on the basis of the disputed concept or
passage. And so I will make a SECOND GENERAL REQUEST for those who are
not yet convinced of the superiority of the TSS interpretation to
specify clearly the conditions under which they would accept it. Again,
if one cannot specify conditions which I am in principle able to fulfill,
i.e., not "if Marx rose from the dead and said the TSS interpretation is
right," then one is, like it or not, a dogmatist.

Paul, I'm sorry to use this particular reply to vent my frustration, but
this has been going on for 10 years and my frustration has reached the
point of explosion.

So the frustration is, again, directed generally, not to you in particular.

Andrew Kliman