[OPE-L:2299] Re: TSS

akliman@acl.nyit.edu (akliman@acl.nyit.edu)
Mon, 20 May 1996 13:02:58 -0700

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In response to Allin, ope-l 2292:

Allin is right that my memory was rather hazy. With respect to pp.
264-65 of _Capital_ III, in which Marx distinguishes clearly between
the cost-price of the commodity and the value of the means of production
(and labor-power?] consumed in its production, I had written:

"As to Allin's reinterpretation of pp. 264-65 of Vol. III, it doesn't
work. The reason is that Marx doesn't have two systems of values and
prices the way you [Allin] do."

This is a crucial point, because Allin, Gil and Paul C. use Marx's state-
ments that the value of a commodity is determined by the labor-time needed
to reproduce it, or embodied in it, to argue that the TSS interpretation
is inconsistent with Marx's value theory. I was contending, and still
contend, that their interpretation of such passages produces a contra-
diction between such passages, on the one hand, and passages such as pp.
264-65 on the other. Under my interpretation, there is no incompatibility.
Hence, if one wants to make sense of the text *as a whole*, which Allin
now says he wants to do, which interpretation is to be preferred.

Anyway, here is the actual sum and substance of Allin's reply to
my point (from his ope-l 1110), quoted in full:

"Begs the question. I offered a detailed reading of a specific passage
that supported the "two systems" reading."

The problem with this response, as I noted the other day, is that it
produces an internal inconsistency within the very same chapter of the
text. Allin's argument is based on there being a "value" cost-price and
a "price" cost-price, but for Marx they are one and the same. This
is not even a matter of interpretation--it is there is black and white.
No one has ever disputed it. I agree that Allin has the right to
dispute it, but what is his argument, where is his evidence?

I agree with Allin (and I'm sure everyone else on the list does too) when
he says that he and I disagree sharply on the interpretation of Marx.
But I do not accept this as a way of settling the issues (which it may
or may not have been meant to be), just as Allin would be quite right in
protesting someone's attempt to brush aside his evidence of high
correlations between vertically integrated labor coefficients and prices
by saying they disagree that the coefficients are high. In both cases
there is need to employ the evidence at hand to settle the dispute.

Interpretation is not a matter of taste; it must be able to account for
the evidence.

Andrew Kliman