[OPE-L:4950] Re: determination of real wages

andrew kliman (Andrew_Kliman@msn.com)
Wed, 7 May 1997 08:20:18 -0700 (PDT)

[ show plain text ]

A comment on the discussion between Riccardo and Alejandro Ramos:

Riccardo wrote (ope-l 4914):

"You are very clever, and hence say Ajit and others to stay on the terrain of
the interpretation of the texts. But I find that a good interpretation of the
text must explain why for a century a(n alleged) wrong reading of Marx was
taken by most parties as the true one. If that is not done, that is not a good
interpretation (in my view)."

Ale responded, in ope-l 4918: "This is a very interesting question. I think
much of the explanation lies in the poverty of Marxian scholarship."

I agree both that this is a very interesting question and that much of the
explanation lies in the poverty of Marxian scholarship. Or, to be even more
precise, as Alejandro is when he illustrates the point by reference to the
"transformation problem" literature, hardly anyone in the literature ever
cared whether the Received Interpretation was what Marx actually wrote!!

The question, then, is why didn't they care? For the same reasons they still
don't care, the reasons that lead Riccardo to say that judging interpretations
by how well they correspond to texts is "clever," and that lead him and others
to throw around outlandish charges of dogmatism and orthodoxy.

I think one of the main reasons, then, as well as now, is that they attempt to
understand Marx in light of their own problematics, which leads to truncation
and distortion because their problematics differ from his. Riccardo has told
us not to mention politics here, so it is hard to get more specific, but I'm
sure he has declared politics off-limits here precisely because he recognizes
the degree to which the politics of "Meek-Dobb-Sweezy" conforms to their

If you don't want to accept our explanations of why the other interpretations
can be wrong even though ubiqitous, Riccardo, it seems there's no choice:
we'll have to go back to showing that their wrong on the basis of the textual

Andrew Kliman