More on Dialectics

James Farmelant farmelantj at
Fri Sep 3 11:34:01 MDT 1999

On Fri, 03 Sep 1999 10:11:39 -0400 Chris Matthew Sciabarra
<cms10 at> writes:
>Brief responses to various points below:


>Charles: You have not proven that the Marxist conception of the whole
>the relations and forces of production are Platonic idealism or demand
>divinity. In fact, it is the market's invisible hand handling the
>or the knowing-how-without- knowing-what that you give in the reply to
>P. that is a mystical and divine like conception of knowing the total.
>Atheism holds that nothing is, in principle, unknowable. We do not
>everything, but nothing in the universe is in principle unknowable. A
>principle of divinity and mysticism is that there are truths (such as
>truth of the total economy) that are unknowable in principle to humans
>only knowable to the divinity, or in your case knowable to the divine
>invisible hand of the market, the price mechanism.
>It is your argument here which is mystical and theist. You pose that
>something is unknowable IN PRINCIPLE.
>Chris:  I'm not saying that things are unknowable in principle.  I'm
>that a Central Planning Board cannot know everything -- because it
>the means by which information is generated in order to make any
> Prices have an epistemic function; where there are no prices, there
>chaos.  I am saying too, that knowledge of various prices must be
>to the personal contexts of the decision-makers, where each personal
>context has its own vast array of experiences and "tacit" concerns
>that are
>simply not quantifiable by means of inputs-and-outputs, which is what
>Central Planning Board relies on.

Bit isn't that a problem for the capitalist firm as well?  Harry
in his *Labor and Monopoly Capital* pointed out how as modern
industrial management has evolved, one of its main concerns has
bee the attempt to win full control over the production process
away from workers.  In its effort to do this, it has attempted to
acquire a complete knowledge of the production process therby
reducing the role of the kinds of "tacit" knowledge that workers
possess.  Capital is driven by competition to continually seek
to cheapen labor, and to secure effective control over the labor
process by eliminating all repositories of skill and knowledge
which undermine capital's ability to reorganize production on
its own terms.  Consequently, in Braverman's view there is
a secular tendency for labor to become degraded under capitalism.
Please correct me if I am wrong but I fail to see how the market or
the price system are to able to provede correctives to the loss
of knowledge that is entailed by the processes that Braverman

                Jim Farmelant

>Chris Matthew Sciabarra, Visiting Scholar
>NYU Department of Politics
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