[OPE-L:7179] [OPE-L:697] Use and abuse of mathematics [OPE 574]

Andrew Kliman (Andrew_Kliman@email.msn.com)
Wed, 17 Mar 1999 22:01:59 -0500

A reply to OPE-L 654.

Gil Skillman's post is very long, but almost all of it either says
that the point is not yet proved, or was not proved where it was
supposed to be proved. Hence, the whole thing reduces to one point,
Marx's proof in the paragraph at the top of p. 127 (Capital I,

Gil writes:

"This passage from Marx establishes only that there are various
bundles which have the equivalent property of being exchangeable for
for a quarter of wheat. Andrew, like Marx, takes for granted what
must be proved, i.e. that this equivalence establishes that exchange
value can validly be thought of as the mode of expression or form of
appearance 'of a content distinguishable from it.'"

I think much more is established than what Gil says. Marx BEGINS
with the exchange of a qtr. of wheat for various other
commodities --
not bundles, BTW. Several moves occur between this and the
conclusion that exchange-value is simply the form of appearance of a
content distinguishable from it. The whole thing together
constitutes a demonstration.

Perhaps Gil can prove that Marx's demonstration is invalid. As yet,
however, neither he nor anyone else has done so. What Gil has done
is to ignore the intermediate steps -- in particular, he seems not
to notice the initial move from "being exchangeable for" and "being
the exchange-value of" -- and thus to argue that Marx's conclusion
isn't immediately deducible from his starting-point. Of course not,
but this has no bearing on the validity of Marx's own demonstration.

Andrew Kliman