[OPE-L:2165] Re: Depreciation for Paul

Duncan K Foley (dkf2@columbia.edu)
Sat, 11 May 1996 08:57:49 -0700

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On Fri, 10 May 1996 akliman@acl.nyit.edu wrote:

> A question to Paul C (ope-l 2132):
> What's your ("scientific") criterion for the correspondence of a value
> theory to Marx's? If the correpondence of the interpretation's
> predictions/implications to Marx's isn't at least one important
> criterion, why not?
> Would you at least agree that we have refuted the "proofs" of the
> internal inconsistency of Marx's transformation and law of the FRP?
> I.e., that under our interpretation, there is no inconsistency?
> I said "A question"; sorry it looks like several. All but the first are
> just elaboration on the first.
> It seems to me that Paul is using "scientific" in a rather unusual way.
> It doesn't refer to method, the need to demonstrate results, etc.,
> but to the topic of concern--external reality instead of Marx's theory
> itself.
> I do not accept the science vs. ideology dichotomy. As the preceding
> paragraph makes clear, the conception of science being invoked is
> quite ideological.
> And if critics of the TSS interpretation don't have an ideological
> ax to grind, then why are the acknowledgements of its success in
> refuting the Bortkiewicz (transformation), Okishio/Roemer (FRP), and
> Steedman/Morishima (joint production) "prrofs" of Marx's inconsistency
> so slow and grudging in coming? E.g., David Laibman, and to a lesser
> extent Allin, almost skip over whether the Kliman-McGlone refutation
> of Bortkiewicz's "proof" of Marx's error is successful, in their
> critiques to our interpretation (to critique our interpretation is
> *not* the same as showing that it fails to refute Bortkiewicz, unless
> the critique includes a demonstration of our failure. To date, no
> one's critique has done so.)

I don't know if I count as a critic of the TSS interpretation, since I see
it as a generalization of my own way of thinking about the labor theory of
value, but it's not clear to me that even if one accepts it it would
change the interpretation of the Okishio/Roemer FRP discussion. In my
correspondence with Andrew, it seems to me that the difference between his
and McGlone's analysis of the FRP and the Okishio analysis lies at a
different level: KM want to consider technical change as continuous rather
than as a one-shot experiment; and they have a different conception of the
relevant profit rate to look at, which needs further discussion to be
understood completely.

Having gone through something of the same type of debates over the
Dumenil/Foley "new interpretation", I doubt that the TSS group will
succeed in a frontal assault on other interpretations of the LTV, and I
would suggest that the constant challenges to other people either to
"accept" the TSS or prove that it is wrong are becoming counterproductive.
I think what gradually establishes a new interpretation in a science is
the demonstration of its effectiveness in fostering new lines of research
and clarifying confusions. Thus it might be more constructive to identify
a couple of questions of interest, and work out the consequences of the
various interpretations on them, preferably with each camp taking the
responsibility of working out the consequences of the other
interpretations carefully and accurately.


> Why do critics of the TSS interpretation alsways seem to want to change
> the subject, rather than discuss the internal (in)consistency issue
> head-on? As Alan has noted, we take your issues seriously, but many
> (not all) critics of the TSS interpretation fail to take this one of
> ours seriously. And it isn't only an issue of ours. Objectively,
> this has been THE central focus of debates of Marx's critique of
> political economy for exactly one century.
> Andrew Kliman