[OPE-L:2382] Marx and Hayek

From: Gerald Levy (glevy@PRATT.EDU)
Date: Sat Feb 19 2000 - 09:11:45 EST

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Has anyone read and/or reviewed Chris Matthew Sciabarra's _Marx, Hayek, and
Utopia_ (Albany, State University of New York Press, 1995)?

Sciabarra's book is controversial, to put it mildly. He argues that Marx
and Hayek shared a similar dialectical method and both rejected

         "Sciabarra examines the dialectical method of social inquiry
          common to both Marxian and Hayekian thought and argues that
          both Marx and Hayek rejected utopian theorizing because it
          internalizes an abstract, ahistorical, exaggerated sense of
          human possibility. The chief disagreement between Marx and
          Hayek, he shows, is not political but epistemological,
          reflecting their differing assumptions about the limits
          of reason" (from the back cover)

This is a bold thesis which conflicts with a shared opinion by most Marxians
and Austrian economists that they are separated by a wide gulf in terms of
method, ideology, and ... yes ... politics. Similarly, the emphasis on an
anti-utopian thrust in Marx's thought is controversial since the
intellectual relationship between Marx and a concept of utopia is not as
clear as the divide between "utopian socialism" and "scientific
socialism" seems to suggest.

I think that a good case could be made for _some_ similarities between
Marxian and Austrian theory such as the recognition that there is a need
for a long-run dynamic theory of capitalism in which there is an
essential role for monetary mechanisms. In these senses, I think that
Austrian theory is closer to Marxian theory than it is to Walrasian (and
Keynesian) theory. Similarly, there is a intellectual tradition in
Austrian thought of focusing on methodology, history of thought, and
value -- all of which are de-emphasized by the dominant school of
neo-neo-classical thought. Even though Marxian understandings of
methodology, history of thought, and value are sharply different from
Austrian understandings, it would seem that this should make it easier
for Marxians and Austrians to communicate with each other.
I think that the sharp difference in political perspective and praxis,
though, has largely prevented this dialogue (also the attack by
Bohm-Bawerk against Marx and the subsequent replies by Hiferding and
Bukharin have largely shaped the relationship between the two schools).
In many ways, this is unfortunate for Marxians (and for Austrian
economists as well, perhaps).
Does anyone have any thoughts on these questions or related questions
associated with Austrian economics? E.g. is there any aspect (or aspects)
of Austrian thought that need to be critically appropriated by Marxists?
If so, what are those aspects? Also: *is there anything at all* from
Walrasian thought that you think needs to be critically appropriated by

In solidarity, Jerry

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