[OPE] Reply to the thinker

From: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@tiscali.nl>
Date: Sat Mar 14 2009 - 05:46:44 EDT

Well, you can't have it both ways - if you ask for a brief summary, you cannot also demand the long story with chapter and verse.

I base my interpretation of VFT very exactly on what scholars committed to VFT (including Jerry) themselves argued, to the point of quoting each point near-literally from different authors, though I admit that different value-form theorists alse disagree with each other on specific points. You can also consult the OPE-L archives, to see for yourself what is being argued.

I am not going to pursue this however since the VFT supporters just "dialectically" adopt first one position and then its very logical opposite the next, and in this way you can always "prove" your case, since if it is proved false, it is true "in another way" and you just shift the meaning somewhere else. It is a pure tyranny of concepts, a pure dictatorial dogma. It is a waste of time debating it.

Besides, you people insult me with your accusation of ranting, whereas my interpretation is arrived at from very lengthy personal experience, reading the literature and working personally with some of the scholars who seriously uphold these ideas, across thirty years. Obviously, Jerry's transference of "ranting" is his clever bluffing way of not taking the argument seriously, and not providing any counterevidence.

I have practical experience in qualitative research far beyond mere philosophizing, for example I worked in 1991-1994 for a Statistics New Zealand development unit, evaluating, testing and designing government survey questionnaires and standard classifications which are used directly or indirectly by hundreds of thousands of people. This is a bit different from armchair philosophy, because then the conceptual distinctions have real bite and real consequence.

Before that time, I spent several years on historical time-series analysis, macro-economic aggregates and national accounts data which involved examining at the concepts used to obtain the measures.

I also have nearly 10 years practical experience now in document management and archives, since that time. I studied the modern debates in philosophy of science, about globalization and ethnography, and about dialectics from 1979, even before VFT became fashionable and trendy, and Toni Negri declared that the law of value was finished.

What I mean by "basic quantitative insight" is, among other things, this - if an LTV of the type held by Marx and Ricardo is false, why then is there very good empirical support for labour-time worked as a powerful predictor of the price-levels of reproducible products, insofar as we can test these things using I/O data and other evidence?

Why does the pattern in real GDP growth, stripped of a few fictitious items, correspond very closely to the total volume of labour-hours worked? What else can explain the relative stability of price relativities (the structure of price levels) across time, at least in the medium term?

In the history of Marxism, there have been a few important intellectual attacks against Marx's theorems. To these attacks, there have been different kinds of responses. Some of those responses have been scientific, but others have been unscientific "ad hoc" strategems.

The cleverest of the unscientific ones is to start hoaxing about "unobservable hidden essences" - if you cannot observe it even in principle, there is nothing to test experientially, and you can safely keep ranting philosophically from your armchair without being caught out.

My humorous "ditty" about "Give Marx a chance" however is intended additionally to convey my opinion that the bulk of Marxist and academic discourse about Marx's critique of political economy is wrongheaded if not fraudulent, and that how Marx is taught, bears very little resemblance to what he really thought, did and stood for.

No doubt Marx himself and German language are partly to blame for this, the ideas were often not stated or translated with exactitude and evolved over time, and, if you are a revolutionary, you can expect your ideas to be contested. But some of the academic frauds are so crude, they just make me laugh.


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Received on Sat Mar 14 05:52:08 2009

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