[OPE-L:4424] Laws of motion

Paul Cockshot (wpc@cs.strath.ac.uk)
Tue, 18 Mar 1997 07:24:59 -0800 (PST)

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> I have already --- almost two years ago --- told Paul that the TSS
> interpretation of Marx's transformation is simply not intended as a
> of actual prices. Therefore it cannot be tested in this manner, and any
> alleged test along these lines is meaningless.

Either the Kliman transformation procedure is an accurate interpretation
of Marx's or it is not. Let us assume for the sake of argument that it
is and see what Kliman's assertion implies.

Marx claimed to be uncovering the 'laws of motion' of capitalist
society. This phrase is not accidental. It is a direct borrowing from
mechanics, the queen of the sciences. It implies an ambitious goal, to
be able to detect in economic development, processes with a law governed
regularity comparable to the laws Newton discovered to underly planetary

The Marxian law of value is as central to the argument of Marx as the third
law was to Newton. Newtons laws gained their immense theoretical status
they were both elegant and supremely accurate at predicting reality.
Marx's law of value is certainly elegant, but to be accorded the status of
a 'law of motion' it must make testable predictions about reality. In fact
one can test it and it passes its tests very well. However if Kliman is to
be believed, and such tests are meaningless, then, for the sake of
Marx's transformation against Bortkiewitz's critique, Kliman has destroyed
Marx as a scientist. If his laws of motion are correct he can take his
alongside Newton and Darwin as one of the greatest scientists of history.
Take away testable laws of motion and he becomes just another political
philosopher or moralist.

> I hope that the paper which he and Allin will present will discuss these
> issues and the conclusion to which they lead, that his empirical results
> without implications for the theoretical questions addressed by Marx's
> transformation and the TSS interpretation of it.

What is the 'theoretical questions' theories about?
They are surely theories about the behaviour of the matterial world,
and as such subject to test.