[OPE-L:1613] Lapides & Laibman

Gerald Levy (glevy@pratt.edu)
Fri, 29 Oct 1999 12:52:44 -0400 (EDT)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 29 Oct 1999 09:25:31 -0700 (MST)
From: Kenneth Lapides <lapides@sedona.net>
Subject: Lapides & Laibman


Please post the following:

The situation is starting to look surreal. David Laibman now writes
regarding my review of Lebowitz's Beyond Capital: "But no review was ever
received, and therefore (contra the impression held by Paul Z.), no review
was rejected for publication."

Before Lebowitz breaks out the champagne and before someone else puts
his/her foot in his/her mouth, let me play Perry Mason and say to David,
"Let me refresh your memory."

I have before me a letter addressed to me on Science & Society stationary,
signed by David Laibman ("David") and dated September 15, 1992. The
following is a verbatim transcription of the contents of this letter (David,
if you like, I will send you a photocopy for you to confirm its accuracy.):

"Dear Kenneth,

"We have arrived, shall we say, at an interesting conjuncture.

"While we were reading your review of Lebowitz's book, we received from
Lebowitz a comment on your Grossmann article (copy enclosed). We like the
style and tone of his argument, although we have a predictable range of
views concerning the substance. (I personally find myself rooting toward a
position in between his and yours.) We have accepted the Lebowitz comment
for publication, and now invite you to do a 'Reply,' which would appear
together with his piece. Protocol dictates a strict word limit for the
reply - 1500 words.

"I must tell you that we have some difficulty with your review in its
present form. It seems overly petulant and negatively polemical; relies to
heavily on the earlier sections of the book; and does not give a full
summary of the book's positions. (I have read the book, and may contribute
some thoughts of my own to what might become a wider discussion in our
pages.) We also think it would be unfair to Lebowitz if you were to be
given too many turns at bat, so to speak, with *both* a review *and* a
reply. For this reason, we would like to cancel the review, and have you
fold the points you make there into the 'Reply.'

"Let me know is this is acceptable, and, if so, when we can expect to
receive your 'Reply.' Should you decide not to do one, however, we would
then have to ask for a revised version of the review, with a full summary of
the book's argument as the main criterion for final acceptance.

"With best wishes,

"David Laibman, Editor"

Although I already provided a brief history of this affair in an earlier
post, for the sake of completeness (and because false allegations regarding
my integrity have been circulated) the following is my reply dated October
26, 1992 (a copy of this is also available to you, David, if you wish):

"Dear David,

"Thank you for your letter of September 15, 1992. Please excuse my delay in
responding; as I mentioned, I was traveling and unable to reply.

"Yes, your letter does raise interesting questions, and I can appreciate
your quandary. After giving it much consideration, however, I would like to
offer these reflections:

"On receiving your request last March to review Lebowitz's 'Beyond Capital,'
I reminded you (in a letter and a telephone conversation) that I had
expressed sharp disagreement with Lebowitz in my Grossmann article. I asked
whether you were sure you wanted me to review his book, and you responded
that you did. You even mentioned that you had sent Lebowitz an advance copy
of my article and anticipated receiving a critical comment from him. You
welcomed the controversy, you said.

"Now you say you have 'some difficulty' with the review and wish to cancel
it. It is too critical, you indicate. Moreover, publishing it as well as a
reply to Lebowitz's critique of my article would be 'unfair' to Lebowitz.
(You do say that if I wish to submit a revised draft that is less critical
you will give it consideration, although its publication presumably would
prevent you from printing any rejoinder from me to Lebowitz's critique.)

"I can't help but find all this rather troubling.

"David, I remain grateful for the opportunity that you gave me to publish my
Grossmann paper, and am willing to allow that piece, for now, to represent
my views on the questions raised in Lebowitz's book and in his 'comment.'
So will you forgive me if I express the wish to extricate myself from
further involvement in this 'tempesta'?

"With best regards,

"Kenneth Lapides"

I would just like to add, in a personal note to David, that I appreciate
your effort to play the role of mediator in this debate. I do think,
however, that since I had in a previous posting recounted the story of my
ill-fated review, you might have had the courtesy to check with me first
before jumping in with your announcement that "no review was ever received."
This seems especially obvious in view of the fact that, as you say, "I don't
have records going that far back."

Frankly, I'm getting tired of having to repeatedly defend my reputation and
my work from what is beginning to look like an inquisition. I find it kind
of absurd, for example, that Jerry takes me to task for not "confronting"
the "main thrust" of his remarks, when he has ignored the fundamental
theoretical issues I have raised about the character of Marx's wage theory.
To top things off, he has not even read my book!

Best regards to all,

Kenneth Lapides

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