[OPE-L:2082] Jerry's quiz

Alan Freeman (100042.617@compuserve.com)
Sun, 5 May 1996 16:08:55 -0700

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Well I guess that makes it Steedman, but I can't find the precise passage.

Here's another quiz: not about where the following quote comes from
( it is from Steedman's Marx after Sraffa p207) but to ask who agrees
with it. This isn't a trick question; I think it would help our thought
processes. I've broken it down into points so people can be selective
(i.e. the words are Steedman, with nothing missed out, and the numbers
are mine):

"(1) On the basis of assumptions to be found in Marx's own political
economy, it has been proved that Marx's value reasoning is often
internally inconsistent,

"(2)completely failing to provide the explanations which Marx sought
for certain central features of the capitalist economy.

"(3)By contrast, these same features can be given a coherent explanation
in terms which make no reference whatsoever to any value magnitude.

"(4)Marx's value reasoning - hardly a peripheral aspect of his work -
must therefore be abandoned in the interest of developing a coherent
materialist theory of capitalism"

"(5)Some of the elements of such a theory are to be found within the
Sraffa-based critique itself.

"(6)It has been shown that the proximate determinants of the rate
of profit, the rate of accumulation, the prices of production, the social
allocation of labour, etc, are the physical conditions of production,
the real wage and the capitalist drive to accumulate.

"(7)The next step is then to investigate the social, economic,
political, technical, etc determinants of those proximate determinants"

"(8)That immense task will perhaps involve the study of, among
other things, the historical conditions under which specific capitalist
social formations developed, class relations (both at the point of
production and at the level of politics), the role of the state, the
development of scientific and technical knowledge (considered not
as a deus ex machina but as an endogenous product of the society
in question) and international relations

"(9)Such study can no doubt draw on much of Marx's work, as
one source amongst the many which will be needed.

"(10)But it will involve no reference to Marx's value magnitudes

"(11)Which are mere derivates of the things to be explained.

"(12)It can scarcely be overemphasized that the project of
providing a materialist account of capitalist societies is dependent
on Marx's value magnitude analysis only in the negative sense
that continued adherence to the latter is a major fetter on the
development of the latter"


a) In expressing views points can be taken out of context, eg I could
agree with points (5) or (9) if I can drop the word 'such'.

b) dialectical and modal constructions allowed, eg 'I do not necessarily
disagree with point (7)'

I would be particularly interested in Steve and Gil's response
to points (1) (2) (3) and (4) because Gil's pained reactions to my OPE-L 1625
leaves me exceedingly puzzled; I think I know what he thinks is wrong
with Marx's value theory, but I can't for the life of me work out what he
thinks is right with it.


(On 29/03/96 18:00:02 in [OPE-L:1635] Gilbert Skillman wrote in reply to
Alan Freeman's 1625):
1) The point of my Ch. 5 critique was not to establish that value
theory is erroneous (of course I have my doubts about the valid scope
of value theory, but these doubts apply with at least equal force to
the temporal interpretation, so this has nothing whatsoever to do
with the present argument).

2) I do not "apply this same erroneous value theory" in the present
argument, since a) my critique of Marx's use of price-value
equivalence in the account of capitalist exploitation has nothing
whatsoever to do with the present argument, and b) my counter-example
was taken directly from Marx, and applies no matter which approach to
value theory is used.