[OPE-L:8] [OPE-L:373] THE YEAR IN REVIEW [1996]

Gerald Levy (glevy@pratt.edu)
Wed, 9 Dec 1998 10:58:23 -0500 (EST)

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Subject: [OPE-L:3913] THE YEAR IN REVIEW [1996]

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@@@ o In January, 1996 there were 33 list members @@@
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@@@ o By years end, we have 48 list members @@@
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@@@ o Participation by current members: 44 of 48 (91.6%) @@@
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@@@ o There were *3,139* posts written in 1996 @@@
@@@ [average of over 8.5 posts/day] @@@
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@@@ o Size: *14.426* Megabytes* (= avg./day over 39 KB) @@@
@@@ [= approximately 18 medium-length books] @@@
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%%%%% %%%%%
%%%%%%%%% <<< * SUMMARY REVIEW BY MONTH * >>> %%%%%%%%%
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o Participation: 17 of 33 (51.5%)
o Amount of posts: 135
o Size: 686 KB
o Additions: Allin Cottrell
o Most frequent posters: Alan, Jerry, John, Paul C, Duncan
o As many subscribers were on vacation and/or attending conferences, this
was a month of "digressions", including "valuation and nonequilibrium
values and prices" and "valuation of inputs, constant capital and
moral depreciation."
o A procedural "cards on the table" suggestion was made by Alan.

o Participation: 23 of 37 (62.2%)
o Amount of posts: 357
o Size: 2.146 MB
o Additions: Stavros Mavroudeas, Massimo De Angelis, Bruce Roberts, Mariko
Adachi, Maria De Lourdes Mollo
o Most frequent posters: Allin, Andrew K, Paul C, Gil, Alan
o Topics discussed at length included: "valuation of constant capital and
moral depreciation", "price-value equivalence and Ch. 5, V1", and
"transformation problem."
o There were procedural discussions on whether to keep the list closed
(all but 1 who wrote posts agreed) and the archives.

o Participation: 28 of 36 (77.8%)
o Amount of posts: 391
o Size: 1.751 MB
o Additions: None
o Most frequent posters: Jerry, Paul C, John, Alan, Gil
o The overwhelming bulk of posts written concerned the following 5 topics:
"valuation of constant capital and moral depreciation", "the
'transformation problem'", "price-value equivalence and Ch. 5, V1",
"gold credit-money, and fictitious capital", and "math, methodology,
and political economy" [including 'quizzes'].
o We had a number of important procedural discussions including the
possibility of making a statement on a visa exclusion case [which
proved to be unnecessary] and whether to make the archives
publicly-available [there was significant opposition to that
proposal]. A sub-committee discussed the technical aspects of
establishing a duplicate archives and, thanks to Iwao, we have an
archives at his WWW site [http://www.st.rim.or.jp./~ikita/OPE/]. {See
Iwao's #3838 for directions}. This month also saw the creation of two
"sister" lists -- CAP-L (Capital) and EM-L (Ernest Mandel/Extending
Marx) [which have been basically unused since].

o Participation: 24 of 38 (63.2%)
o Amount of posts: 392
o Size: 1.443 MB
o Additions: Ted McGlone, Murray Smith, Michael Williams
o Most frequent posters: Paul C, Jerry, Chai-on, Paul Z, Duncan
o New subjects discussed at length included: "defining and understanding
accumulation", "Definitions of value" [and other topics],
"Subjectivity", and "Electronic Money." We also continued the
transformation and Ch. 5 threads.


o Participation: 24 of 37 (64.9%)
o Amount of posts:    386
o Size: 2.064 MB
o Additions: None
o Most frequent posters: Jerry, Duncan, Chai-on, Andrew K, Paul C
o Major threads included: "the 'transformation problem', "Ch. 5",
   "commodity-money" [all continued from previous months], "empirical
   method", and "quizzes" [of various kinds].
o Alan made a proposal for a CAP-L seminar on depreciation.

JUNE ---- o Participation: 13 of 39 (33.3%) o Amount of posts: 150 o Size: 847 KB o Most frequent posters: Paul C, Jerry, Andrew K, Mike W, Fred o Additions: Alejandro Ramos, Alejandro Valle Baeza o Threads discussed at length: ""the 'transformation problem'", "commodity-money" [both continued], "Was Lenin a non-dualist?", "Marx and Ricardo."

JULY ---- o Participation: 19 of 40 (47.5%) o Amount of posts: 188 o Size: 776 KB o Additions: Michele Naples o Most Frequent: Paul C, Jerry, Andrew, Duncan, Fred & Mike W (tie) o Topics discussed at greatest length included "Marxian empirical research and estimation of abstract labour", "surplus value and relative prices", and "socialism and planning."

AUGUST ------ o Participation: 20 of 41 (48.8%) o Amount of posts: 158 o Size: 586 KB o Additions: Hans Ehrbar o Most frequent posters: Jerry, Paul C, Gil, Duncan, Andrew K o By far the topics that we discussed at greatest length were "value of labour power and real wage" and "Okishio Theorem." Also memorable was Fred's and Massimo's reports on the Zapatista's encuentro and the "Conception Day" festivities on the 8th.

SEPTEMBER --------- o Participation: 26 of 42 (61.9%) o Amount of posts: 256 o Size: 1.122 MB o Additions: Andrew Trigg o Most frequent posters: Jerry, Andrew K, John, Duncan, Michael P o Topics discussed at great length included "Okishio Theorem"., "Assumptions" [both continued from previous months] and "Straight and Moral (Depreciation)." We also celebrated our first birthday on the 5th.

OCTOBER ------- o Participation: 23 of 43 (53.5%) o Amount of posts: 380 o Size: 1.503 MB o Additions: Abelardo Marina o Most frequent posters: Jerry, Paul C, Andrew K, Duncan, Steve K o Major topics discussed included: "Okishio Theorem" [continued], "Accumulation of Capital Revisited", "Forms of Technical Change", "Marxian Empirical Research/Skilled Labor", "Productive and Unproductive Labour", and "Value of Money." o We had procedural discussions again on whether to keep the archives closed [nothing decided] and "ettiquette" [no decisions made].

NOVEMBER -------- o Participation: 21 of 44 (47.8%) o Amount of posts: 163 o Size: 750 KB o Additions: Ian Hunt o Most frequent posters: Jerry, Alejandro R, Andrew K, Paul C, Allin o Major threads included "Evidence for the 'Single-System' Interpretation" and "Labor Theory of Value - not used by Marx!". o Continued procedural discussion about the archives.

DECEMBER -------- o Participation: 23 of 48 (47.9%) o Amount of posts: 172 o Size: 752 KB o Additions: Seongjin Jeong, David Laibman, Rieu Dong-Min, Eduardo Maldonado Filho o Most frequent posters: Jerry, Chai-on, Alejandro R, Paul C, Andrew K o Subjects discussed at greatest length included "Single-System Interpretation", "Productive and Unproductive Labour" [both continued], and "Surplus-Value vs. Surplus Product".

............................................................................ NOTES:

(1) As can be readily seen from the above, there were large variations in the quantity of posts/month. The explanation for this is simple: this list is overwhelmingly, although not exclusively, made up of academics and, consequently, volume tended to diminish sharply during the summer months (June, July, August) and the winter break (December, January) when many members have vacations and/or attend conferences. November was the only month that did not fit this pattern and there was an unusual and unanticipated decline in volume during that month.

(2) Statistics on "size" were provided by Iwao. I rounded them off to the nearest KB. Iwao reports that from January to June, he counted hmtl files which may slightly overestimate file size during those months. The estimate on "moderate-size books" was based on Michael P's statement that on avg. such books are approximately 800 KB.

(3) There were *many* days when the per day volume exceeded 100K. The largest single day volume, measured in bytes, was *192K* on February 20 when 43 posts were written.

(4) The yearly participation rate somewhat underestimates participation since new members are included in the total of 48. For members who subscribed before mid-October, the annual participation rate was 40 of 42 (95.2%). The average monthly participation rate was 55%. During the 7 peak months (February-May; September-November) the average was 61.6%.

(5) Although there were additions in 1996, there were also subtractions. They included Carole Biewener, Paul Burkett, Mino Carchedi, Paul Mattick, Jr., and Jim O'Connor (of these, Paul B and Paul M wrote posts in 1996). In 1995, Jim Devine, Heiner Ganssmann, and Bill Mitchell unsubscribed. A confidential report on why these members unsubscribed will be sent to any member upon request.

(6) Additions were primarily the result of recommendations made by list members. If there is anyone who is interested in knowing about the criteria used for admissions, I will send you something I prepared on that subject. Also, there is a confidential report available on the recruitment of women which I will send to any subscriber upon request.

(7) A geographic distribution of the current membership by country follows:

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% %%% %%% %%% Australia - 2 Japan - 3 %%% %%% Bolivia - 1 Korea - 3 %%% %%% Brazil - 3 Mexico - 2 %%% %%% Canada - 2 Netherlands - 1 %%% %%% France - 2 United Kingdom - 8 %%% %%% Greece - 1 United States - 19 %%% %%% Italy - 1 Total: 48 %%% %%% %%% %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

(8) The following were list members all year: Riccardo Bellofiore, Rakesh Bhandari, Paul Cockshott, Stephen Cullenberg, Gerard Dumenil, John R. Ernst, Duncan Foley, Alan Freeman, Makoto Itoh, Steve Keen, Iwao Kitamura, Andrew Kliman, Costas Lapavitsas, Michael A. Lebowitz, Chai-on Lee, Dominique Levy, Jerry Levy, Patrick Mason, Simon Mohun, Fred Moseley, Michael Perelman, Nelson Pinto, Geert Reuten, Alfredo Saad Filho, Anwar Shaikh, Gilbert Skillman, Tony Smith, and Paul Zarembka.

(9) The above does not do justice to the wide range of topics that we discussed in 1996. For further information, please refer to the monthly reviews.

(10) In the category of "most frequent posters", I have included the names of the 5 most frequent posters in each month. Although that information can be somewhat misleading because of the arbitrary cut-off at 5, it was included to give you an idea of who was discussing topics the most since who is talking the most can have a significant impact on what we discuss. The rankings are also somewhat misleading since announcements, etc. were included in the total quantity of posts that I wrote.

......................................................................... OVERALL, 1996 was a *very successful* year for our list.

* We had serious and engaged discussions on many important subjects. Often, threads would continue over a period of many months. Arguably, we had the most sustained discussions ever on certain topics (e.g. moral depreciation, transformation, TSS, Okishio Theorem, Ch. 5, single-system interpretation, v=0 :-), etc.).

* Although discussions were frequently very intense, "flames" were _extremely_ rare. The respectful and collegial form of our discussions stands in stark contrast to the norm on most other Internet mailing lists. Also, what passes for a flame on OPE-L wouldn't even be counted as smoke on most other lists.

* Participation rates were consistently very high.

* As the year progressed, we became a much more *international* list in which many more perspectives among Marxists were represented.

Despite the above, we still have a lot of discussions ahead of us -- especially those related more to "extending Marx" themes. Hopefully, in 1997 we can discuss those other subjects more systematically and discover what agreements and disagreements there are among us. Relatedly, we still have to activate the CAP-L and EM-L lists. As before, OPE-L remains a collaborative project. We will need the participation and good faith of all to continue to make this project successful.


In solidarity, Jerry