[OPE-L:3027] Re: The "Scorecard"

Gerald Lev (glevy@pratt.edu)
Sun, 15 Sep 1996 07:20:18 -0700 (PDT)

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Andrew wrote in [OPE-L:3026]:

> As I have mentioned maybe 100 times on this list, I fully agree with
> the point Tony Smith expresses as: "an interpretation of _Capital_
> must be able to account for the main features of the work as a whole."

That quote should end with "all three volumes."

I have lost count of how many times you made that point, but *my* point
was that "your" point has also been made by others, including Tony.
Another point behind my quotation from Tony's book was to get us to
recognize that other interpretations have made the same claim and both
the "canon" itself and the particular interpretations of others regarding
whether other interpretations meet this "test" need to be confronted and

> Both of us have read Tony's book. Ted wrote a review of it several years
> back, and I have addressed Tony's argument as presented in the 1993
> collection Fred edited in a review of that collection (Marx's Method
> in 'Capital') for Rethinking Marxism. In discussions with Michael W.
> on this list, I have expressed a number of reasons why I don't think
> the method of _Capital_ is describable as a systematic dialectics.

I would like to see this question discussed more directly. Hopefully,
Tony, Mike W, and/or Geert will find some time -- either soon or
eventually -- to respond (Tony is finishing a book he is writing on "Lean
Production" and is otherwise engaged in the joys of parenting; Mike W is
busy but may have some time soon to respond; Geert is buried under the
deadweight of teaching and administrative responsibilities until October).

> Jerry: "While critically evaluating and interpreting Marx is obviously
> important, I believe that it is similarly important for Marxists today to
> avoid *hermenutics*.
> "Do others agree?"
> I don't. If interpretation is "obviously important," one had better
> understand and employ wisely the principles of interpretation, which
> is what hermeneutics is about.

Interpretation is *part* of the process of investigation. The problem
with hermeneutics is that those who are engaged in the realm of
interpretation can find themselves trapped in that realm.

> In response to an earlier question by Jerry, I had mentioned that David
> Laibman did not challenge the "score," i.e., the empirical results of
> my test. In fact, Jerry's response to the test and its results is
> arguably the most direct response I have heard to date, except from
> proponents of the TSS interpretation. I would appreciate getting an
> even more direct response to the evidence.

The "scorecard" presents the "empirical results" from your perspective.
To respond adequately to the results, others would have to respond to the
*particulars* of the TSS interpretationS that derived the results. In the
Spring -- as all listmembers who were here at the time will recall -- we
had an extensive critical dialogue on such topics as the TSS (and other)
perspectives on the valuation of constant capital and the transformation.
While no "agreements" were reached by the participants in that exchange,
I think it is most unfair to suggest that we did have "direct" responses
to the TSS (and other) interpretations. In fact, I would assert that the
TSS interpretations have had a fuller hearing and been more directly
discussed on *this list* _than anywhere else_.

Of course, the dialogue *will* continue (on OPE-L, at least). It may not
develop in the way that you desire, but the issues -- slowly but surely
-- are coming to the fore. In that regard, let me simply note that it is
my desire for *all* of the issues that listmembers think are important to
be eventually discussed (and many of my posts should be read with that
intent, i.e. with the intent of furthering discussion and getting the
issues put on the "table").

> The lack of direct response (since February) to the "scorecard"
> concerns me, since it is exactly what Ted refers to as "critical
> dialogue fall[ing] apart."

Since the 'scorecard" was presented on OPE-L for the first time on Friday
the 13th (strange timing!) the lack of response can hardly be attributed
to whatever has or has not gone on on this list. The process of "critical
dialogue", though, is crucially dependent (at least in a Net forum such
as OPE-L) on whether the participants believe that they are being invited
to a *dialogue*. When others sniff rhetoric (whether it is intended or
not; whether it is rhetoric or not), they tend to "tune-out." Of course,
"flames" (which we have, with few exceptions, been free from) have a
similar (but worse!) affect of inhibiting dialogue.

In OPE-L Solidarity,