[OPE-L:6595] [OPE-L:60] RE: Mirowski

P.J.Wells (P.J.Wells@OPEN.AC.UK)
17 Jul 1998 18:35:37 +0100

Mirowski's interpretations can occasionally be as eccentric as his prose style,
but -- before we spend too much time discussing whether Marx thought, or
Mirowski thinks, or Mirowski thinks Marx thought, that capitalism is rational --
two points:

1) Ideas, or systems of organisation, are only valid or rational with respect to
some frame of reference.

I take Mirowski (and Marx) to mean that if there were no conservation of value,
capitalism would be irrational (because impossible???)

If manna fell from heaven, capitalism (or any other scheme for organising
production?) would be irrational (because redundant).

In the real world capitalism is clearly possible, and its irrationality must be
demonstrated on other grounds.

2) Just a reminder that one can arrive at a true conclusion by logically valid
arguments from false premises:

All swans are elephants
All elephants can fly
Therefore all swans can fly

So capitalism's irrationality should not depend too heavily on whatever may or
may not be the case about the conservation of value.

Julian Wells