[OPE-L:3766] Re: Average Commodity

aramos@aramos.b (aramos@aramos.bo)
Tue, 3 Dec 1996 07:43:58 -0800 (PST)

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> >My (Alejandro) questions:
> >
> >Could you please indicate me the place(se) in Marxs text
> >where he presents this "duplication" of the concept of
> >"organic composition of capital"?
> >
> Certainly not. If we are to restrict our attention on
> this list to issues that Marx specifically addressed, then
> it would be serving no useful political or scientific purpose.
> I take it that the intention of the list is to address
> open problems. If we can only address issues that were
> specifically addressed in Capital, you condemn historical
> materialism to sterility.
> Marx may have had some awareness of second order price/value
> deviations or he may not, but they remain logical possibilities.
> Whether they are significant or not is an empirical question.
> To attempt to impose an ideological closure and exclude them
> from our problematic, serves no usefull purpose, and is in any
> case futile since the questions are in the public domain.
> Paul Cockshott
Dear Paul:

Certainly my question had not the intention to "impose an
ideological closure". I agree completely with your
response. Perhaps I can explain better my intentions:

1. We have Marx's text of Capital, which certainly is not a
work prepared for publication. This introduces a lot
of "reading problems". Many (most?) interpreters have not
been aware of this situation and, then, the pure "technical
interpretative" work has been largely neglected by Marxists
(an others). (This is not the case, e.g. of Aristotle's

2. Since Marx's work has these serious problems, what we can
do is to formulate "reading hypotheses" in order to make
sense of his statements. Tugan and Bort. dualistic
"reading" is one of these possible hypothesis. The single-
system view is another.

3. Tugan, Bort. et al. presented this PARTICULAR hypothesis
as the ONLY possible reading of Marx text. They also
concluded, on the basis of this reading, that Marx's
theoretical project was a failure.
Actually, what happens is that the "dualistic reading"
implies a lot of "anomalies" regarding some fundamental
Marx's statements. Two examples: Twin equalities, average
commodity (price = value). These clear and fundamental Marx
results cannot be reproduced using the two-systems

Anti-Marxists of all kinds alleged that this is a
consequence of the erroneous nature of Marx theory. So,
Tugan, Bort. et al. presented what is an "anomaly" of their
PARTICULAR "reading paradigm" (e.g. "the twin equality
cannot be obtained") as a "Marx's error". In my opinion,
what these "anomalies" show is simply that the dualistic
"reading paradigm" is erroneous and we have to look for
another which permits one to make sense of Marx's proposal.

4. So, obviously it is perfectly legitimate to "deduce"
concepts from Marx's text (like "price organic composition"
and "value organic composition") in the light of one or
another "reading paradigm". The problem with these "tools"
is that they cannot permit us to replicate fundamental
Marx's affirmations. Their results do contradict another
statements that is easy to find in the text. This is not
the case of the "deductions" done on the basis of the non-
dualistic view.

5. It seems to me that you follow an strategy of
"minimizising" the "anomalies" produced by the two-systems
view (e.g.: actually the twin equalities are not relevant).
I undestand this because your goals are mainly "pragmatic":
your problem is to obtain correct predictions using
empirical data. However, I think that you would understand
that other people are concerned for the "internal
consistency" of Marx's theoretical project.

Alejandro Ramos