TSS: Re: Forwarded from Jurriaan (value theory)

Les Schaffer schaffer at SPAMoptonline.net
Tue Feb 27 14:48:42 MST 2001

[ bounced > 30 kB from Xxxx. Since the original paper with Word-formatted
Table is available on the web site indicated, i just include Xxxx's preamble
and the beginning to the paper. if you have trouble reading, downloading,
and/or converting the paper (RTF file)


to Word, let me know. Les ]

Jurri   an wrote:

> The TSS interpretation is important, since it shows the whole
> intellectual framework within which Marx's macroeconomics was
> interpreted by most serious economists in the 20th century doesn't
> fit with Marx's intention.

Here is a TSS interpretation of value theory by Kliman. It is written
in response to Fred Moseley's simultaneist interpretation of Marx's
value theory. At the moment, I am not quite sure about these positions
(nor Jim Devine's pen-l post looked to me complex enough to deal with
the issue. Yes, Marx's value theory is a societal one. Hardly any
value theorist denies this!) There are different nuances at work here.

One thing I am not sure about your interpretation of TSS is that I
still can not figure out whether TSS proponents endorse the kind of
value theory you seem to be attibuting to them-- ie., challenging a
neo-classical reading of Marx or showing that the interperation of
Marx's value theory by most serious economists does not fit in Marx's
own intentions or schema (as you say).


The Need for a Genuinely Empirical Criterion of Decidability among

Comments on a Paper of Fred Moseley's

Andrew Kliman, March 14, 2000.  Please do not quote or cite without

1.  Dogma and Appeals to Authority vs. Empirical Demonstration Fred
Moseley's (2000) "The Determination of Constant Capital in the Case of
a Change in the Value of the Means of Production" is a critique of my
"Determination of Value in Marx and in Bortkiewiczian Theory" (Kliman
1999a).  Although the present paper is a rejoinder, I am oppressively
aware that I will not convince him, and I am oppressively aware that I
will not convince any proponent of simultaneist interpretations of
Marx's value theory.

That in itself does not bother me, because it is the disinterested
reader I have in mind.  But the danger is that the disinterested
reader, seeing that a debate is ongoing, will wrongly take this as
evidence that the issues have not been decisively resolved.  Perhaps
s/he will even conclude that "the truth is somewhere in the middle,"
in other words that Marx's theory is riven with internal
inconsistencies.  To head off such a reaction, I want to say two
things to the disinterested reader.  First, the fact that the
opponents of the temporal single-system (TSS) interpretation of Marx's
value theory are not and will not be persuaded has no bearing upon
whether it is correct.  Second, the reason its opponents keep arguing
and resisting is that they refuse to accept genuinely empirical
criteria in order to decide whether an interpretation is correct or

That people oppose a new truth even after it has been demonstrated is
far from uncommon.  The New York Times (March 11, 2000, p. A1)
recently reported that a nationwide poll in the U.S. found that
"almost half the respondents agreed that the theory [of evolution] 'is
far from being proven scientifically'."  But this is not only, or even
especially, a problem among the uninformed public.  The greatest
resistance to new truths comes from the experts.  It is the experts
who have a stake in and commitment to the old ideas, and they who have
the most difficulty in breaking free from their accustomed categories
and ways of thinking.  Max Planck (1949:33-34), who developed quantum
field theory, complained that "a new scientific truth does not triumph
by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather
because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up
that is familiar with it."  The historical record provides ample
evidence of this.  Kuhn (1970:150-51) notes that "Copernicanism made
few converts for almost a century after Copernicus' death.  Newton's
work was not generally accepted, particularly on the Continent, for
more than half a century after the Principia appeared.  Priestly never
accepted the oxygen theory, nor Lord Kelvin the electromagnetic
theory, and so on."

The historical record thus suggests two things.  First, the reaction
to the TSS interpretation that has come from simultaneist quarters is
precisely what one might expect, even if the subject matter were not
"political economy, [in which] free scientific inquiry does not merely
meet the same enemies as in all other domains" (Marx 1977:92, "Preface
to the First Edition" of Capital).  Second, that proponents of
simultaneism refuse to accept the TSS interpretation does not make it
any less true.

Xxxx Xxxxx Xxxxxx
Ph.D Student
Department of Political Science
SUNY at Albany
Nelson A. Rockefeller College
135 Western Ave.; Milne 102
Albany, NY 12222

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