[OPE-L:5184] Re: Censoring Ajit?

andrew kliman (Andrew_Kliman@msn.com)
Thu, 5 Jun 1997 06:39:23 -0700 (PDT)

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In ope-l 5169, Ajit first writes that he "suspect[s]," and a mere three
sentences later that he "know[s]," that I want to censor him.

Let me assure you that this is not the case at all, my friend. Indeed, I
would like to invite you to speak on a panel that I'm organizing. The panel
will discuss the Internal (In)consistency of Marx's Value Theory, as part of
the International Working Group in Value Theory sessions at the Eastern
Economic Association Convention at the end of February, in New York. I will
need to clear this with the other co-organizer of the IWGVT, but I don't
expect that it will be a problem. The idea is to have both Marxists and
non-Marxists on the panel, and both those who challenge the allegations of
internal inconsistency as well as those who defend it.

As one whose work and ideas have been subject to so much suppression and
distortion, and who fights against Marxists' and non-Marxists' use of false
"proofs" of Marx's nonexistent "errors" and "self-contradictions" to suppress
his philosophy of human liberation and body of ideas as a whole, I assure you
that I stand firmly for the free development of ideas, and for the testing of
ideas as the road to truth.

Indeed, the ope-l record speaks loud and clear: far from desiring to censor
you, I keep trying mightily to get you to speak up and tell me -- nay, tell us
all -- the set of prices that will satisfy the conditions of the challenge I
have put forth.

(For those who haven't been following the challenge, a bit of background.
Since he came onto this list, and even before, at the ASSA in January, Ajit
has consistently attempted to deny the TSS interpretation the right to exist
-- "You CANNOT have a theory of prices which is determined by prices, as your
interpretation of Marx does" (emphasis added). And since Marx's value theory
appears to be internally inconsistent without the TSS interpretation, Ajit is
effectively attempting to deny Marx's value theory the right to exist.

Specifically, Ajit has alleged that the TSS interpretation of Marx's value
theory is "absurd," because it permits the prices of two periods to differ,
even though the non-price determinants of prices are the same in two periods.
Despite my best efforts at explanation, I was unable to convince Ajit that
there was nothing absurd about this, though I did in fact demonstrate what I
needed to demonstrate.

I therefore decided that explanation and argument were of no use and that the
propositions in question needed to be subjected to a test. Only a test would
prove to be definitive. So here's what I came up with.

The reason that the prices of two periods MUST be able to differ, even though
the non-price determinants of prices are the same, is that

Proposition A
the output prices of one period must equal the input prices of the next
(assuming a circulation time of zero), since there's only one transaction.

Ajit acknowledges that proposition A is correct; in fact, he calls it a
"tautology." But he seems not to have recognized that it implies that the
prices of two periods must be able to differ, even though the non-price
determinants of prices are the same, because he repeatedly maintained

Proposition B
if the non-price determinants of prices are the same in two periods, the input
prices and the output prices of both periods must be the same.

The crux of the challenge is to test whether Propositions A and B are
compatible or, as I maintain, self-contradictory. (See my ope-l 5085 for the
challenge itself.) It therefore provides a clearcut test of whether Ajit has
been right to claim that the TSS interpretation is "absurd" because in it
input prices become determinants of output prices, or whether it is Ajit's own
price theory that is self-contradictory.

If the latter is the case, one of the propositions that Ajit holds has to
give. The right thing to do, of course, is to continue to affirm the
tautology, Proposition A, and throw overboard Proposition B. That is exactly
what the TSS interpretation does. All simultaneism violates the tautology.

Ajit wants to have it both ways. But he has yet to show that it is possible to
do so.)

Why have you not provided us with the set of prices that will satisfy the
conditions of the challenge? The stakes are very high! If you meet the
challenge, then you will have succeeded in destroying the TSS interpretation
(and a good deal of temporal economic theory, as well)! It is now 16 days
since I issued the challenge. In that period of time you have written 6 posts
in response to the challenge. In perhaps 1 of them do you even attempt to
provide a set of numbers that meets the challenge. But as I demonstrated, it
fails to meet the challenge.

In your latest post you write "I think, I'm going to demonstrate the
phoneyness of your so-called challange once and for all," but you do not do
so. Instead, you keep trying to ridicule what we have to say -- or your
version thereof. You make many errors in doing so. But it is pointless for
me to discuss any of this, because it would just be diversionary. It would
divert the discussion away from the central -- nay, the ONLY -- question: can
you or can't you produce a set of numbers that acquits your price theory of
the charge of internal inconsistency?

If you can, do so already. If you can't, admit that you can't.

What you seem not to have understood about my last post, to which you respond,
is that it clears up a misconception that you seem to have had. My post
explained how and why the challenge permits you to measure prices in ANY WAY
you choose, as long as you have a consistent standard of price. You do not
need to assume a money commodity with a constant price. So you have no reason
to avoid the challenge any longer.

I asked you to clarify one thing you wrote before that made no sense, but you
didn't do so. So I'll ask you ask what you meant by "When I said that when an
output is bought as in input, it is one transction, and by definition there is
only one price here, and there is nothing wrong with it."

Ajit also writes: "The one question I wanna ask Andrew is: how many people
responded to his prize challange about how many days it would take Ajit to put
some numbers where his mouth is? If he did not get any response, he should
know that his game is over."

That is one possible interpretation, but only one. Another is that people
think you will never be able to produce a set of numbers that vindicates the
internal coherence of your price theory. They therefore think that it would
take forever until they'd be able to claim their prize, so why bother.

Andrew Kliman