replyto Phil on LTV

Steve.Keen at unsw.EDU.AU Steve.Keen at unsw.EDU.AU
Wed Aug 3 21:35:07 MDT 1994

     Gene Holland wrote:

     I share some of your doubts about the value of the scientific defense

out what I called a "critical" or historical
     version of the LTV, Marxism would lose its ability to identify the
     source of surplus-value in work, its resulting (and very accute)
     definition of exploitation, probably also its definition of class, its
     analysis and understanding (even prediction!) of cyclical crises of

     This is too much to give up!  The LTV remains "essential" -- provided
     we have a non-essentialist (non-empiricist, n
     understanding of it.

I can't help seeing analogies between traditional marxian defences of
the LTV and medieval church resistance to the Copernican concept of
the cosmos. Then, as in this debate, the religious perspective was
entwined with a particular theory, so much so that many of those who
held to the religion thought that religion and the Ptolmaic picture
of the cosmos stood or fell together.

That wasn't the case then, and it isn't the case now. As I noted in an
earlier post, the post-keynesian and sraffian schools do quite a good
trade in surplus-based, non-subjective analyses of capitalism, without
the LTV--indeed, with considerable hostility towards it. They also provide
highly sophisticated analyses "of cyclical crises of overproduction/
underconsumption" (see Minsky, _Can "it" Happen Again_, for example).
Steve Keen


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