[OPE-L:1265] Re: Labor and Language

akliman@acl.nyit.edu (akliman@acl.nyit.edu)
Thu, 29 Feb 1996 19:40:35 -0500

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Andrew here, replying to Gil and Paul C.

Of course I don't think Marx used language arbitrarily. I do think he
used it differently from both of you. And contrary to Gil's blustering,
if Gil doesn't like my proof the the consistency of the TSS interpreta-
tion with Marx's concept that value is determined by labor-time required
for production, on the basis of how *I* understand Marx to be using
the term "labor," then YES, the burden of proof is on GIL. GIL must
*show* that Marx did not use the term labor in the way I claim and
give evidence for (although I didn't prove, or have to prove, how
the term was used).

Gil calls this "coercive." No more coercive than Gil's repeated
attempts to make everyone prove him wrong. Moreover, since the
TSS interpretation, unlike others, does replicate Marx's theoretical
results again and again, the burden of proof is DEFINITELY on its
critics to show that it CANNOT, under any circumstances, be compatible
with Marx's _Capital_.

Gil also calls me a "True Believer." I find this offensive, I resent it,
and I state in no uncertain terms that it is not true. Indeed, Gil
has heard me state PUBLICLY a case in which I think Marx was unequivocally
in error. "Belief" in the sense of "faith" is not at all at issue. Had
I wanted to take anything on faith, I would have just dissed neo-
Ricardianism, etc., as so many have, and said, "Marx is right no matter
what you've proved."

Instead, I've spent 10 years investigating the whole complex of relevant

Finally, Paul doesn't even attempt to explain the category "dead labor,"
and Gil doesn't do much better. The simple point is--as YOU construe
Marx's concept of "labor," is it possible for dead labor to dominate
living labor? I have every right to reject a reading of "labor" that
cannot make sense of this concept, no matter how obvious in "context"
(i.e., in isolation) anyone thinks it is.

Andrew Kliman