[OPE-L:7047] [OPE-L:542] Announcing: TT/CS

Alejandro Ramos (aramos@btl.net)
Sat, 27 Feb 1999 12:16:15 -0600

Dear David:

Your TT/CS is welcomed. It's illuminating that you make your
"methodological framework" explicit.

You write:

>Value theory is about the underlying *structure* of capitalist
>social relations, that is, their inner essence (use of this category is not
>equivalent to "essentialism") stripped of fortuitous and accidental
>Identifying this skeletal structure, as captured by benchmark configurations
>or centers of gravitation, is at the heart of scientific method, and is what
>enables us (in principle!) to distinguish between immanent tendency and
>historical accident; to find the unavoidable core of a given social reality
>and its necessary paths of development. Values, then, are (among other
>things) what really existing prices would tend to in given social/technical
>conditions, were those conditions held constant so that the inner reality
>represented by value were allowed to reveal itself. They never are, and it
>never is! But that is precisely why we *need* value theory. Hence, CS.

I see you warned us not to read this as a "essentialist" position. But,
could you please expand more on this?

How is it possible that to "find the unavoidable core of [capitalism]" we
have to "held constant" some "conditions" (BTS, are those "conditions" the
i/o ratios?)

Reading your passage, I cannot avoid recalling a passage by Walras cited by
Alan F., somewhere. The passage in question is:

"A truth long ago demonstrated by the Platonic philosophy is that science
does not study corporeal entities but universals of which these entities
are manifestations. Corporeal entities come and go, but universals remain
for ever. Universals, their relations, and their laws, are the object of
all scientific study." Elements, Jaffe trans., p. 61.

Aren't your values those "universals" that "never are"? Aren't your "really
existing prices" those "corpareal entities" that "come and go"?