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I agree with Patrick. Anything worth measuring (particularly in
the social sciences) is likely to be attended by a host of
measurement problems, both conceptual and technical, but that is
not sufficient reason to say: It's impossible.
When we're talking about value, there are two distinct skeptical
lines. One emphasizes practical problems (e.g. Michael P.).
Fair enough, but see above. The other is more radical, and says
that the "quantity" at issue cannot be measured /in principle/.
I don't think everyone has realized just how strong a
self-denying ordinance the latter view is. If you take that
view, you can't talk coherently about price-value divergences
(so that, for instance, the "transformation problem" is solved
by fiat, without the need for any of the apparatus that people
from von Bortkiewicz to Farjoun and Machover, to Andrew Kliman,
have thought necessary to figure it out). You throw out
altogether all the "classical" (Smith/Ricardo/Marx) stuff about
gravitation of prices to values. Your value theory is then
purely a matter of qualitative analysis of "forms". I suspect
Michael W. may be comfortable with this, but that some others
haven't seen the full implications.
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