[OPE-L:5615] RE: Karl Marx in _The New Yorker_

andrew kliman (Andrew_Kliman@CLASSIC.MSN.COM)
Thu, 16 Oct 97 17:10:56 UT

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In response to Jerry's PIAF

From: owner-ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu on behalf of Gerald Levy
Sent: Thursday, October 16, 1997 10:18 AM
To: ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu
Cc: multiple recipients of list
Subject: [OPE-L:5615] [OPE-L] Karl Marx in _The New Yorker_

James Farmelant is a bit imprecise concerning what Cassidy says about Marx's
value theory, which is of course understandable, though unfortunate.
According to Farmelant, Cassidy's view is that "Marx was clearly mistaken on
several points, including his theory that labor is the source of value." What
Cassidy actually wrote, however, is

"His mathematical model of the economy, which depended on the idea that labor
is the source of all value, was riven with INTERNAL INCONSISTENCIES and is
rarely studied these days." [Caps added, p. 252, New Yorker 10/20-27/97.]

The difference is, of course, quite important. The myth of internal
inconsistency allows Marx's *own* value theory to be rejected from the outset,
and allows, even requires, that others reject or "correct" it.

Moreover, it is hard to argue with someone's "opinion" that Marx was
"mistaken," but TSS research, especially, has demonstrated conclusively that
the "proofs" of internal inconsistency are invalid, and therefore we can
definitely challenge Cassidy on this point. I will be doing so in a letter to
the New Yorker today. (The letter will also explain why Marx's conception of
capitalism makes sense to investment bankers, etc., as Cassidy notes, whereas
neoclassical economics doesn't: the former tries to understand capitalism,
the latter to justify it). Unfortunately, it only prints about 4 letters per

In any case, Cassidy's claim makes clear that the "internal inconsistency"
issue remains THE central point of dispute over Marx's value theory, one that
is not going to go away. That this claim appears in the popular press also
makes clear that the "internal inconsistency" issue is not some abstruse
academic issue, but one with important social significance. Indeed, the
one-sentence claim of internal inconsistency is the ONLY thing Cassidy says
about Marx's value theory, in a very long article that is in most other
respects very sympathetic to Marx. Yet, if one thinks that Marx's value
theory is internally inconsistent, then what more needs to be said?

Cassidy's article challenges those of us who have refuted the "proofs" of
internal inconsistency to redouble our efforts to combat this fiction. It
challenges those who have tried to downplay or sidestep the internal
inconsistency issue to recognize that they cannot redraw the battle-lines
willy-nilly. The battle-lines have already been drawn for over one hundred
years now. One simply stands on one side or the other.

Andrew Kliman