[OPE-L:2384] Re: Marx and Hayek

From: Steve Keen (s.keen@uws.edu.au)
Date: Sat Feb 19 2000 - 19:26:05 EST

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Hi Jerry,

You've woken me from my slumber (or at least my lurking).

I must confess to (a) having a copy of Chris's book and (b) not having read
it! I promised to review it for him in a history of economic thought
journal five years(!) ago when I was in the States, but since that trip my
workload at an Australian university has never given me the time to fulfil
the promise. I expect I'll owe him much pizza when I am in New York this

I can't therefore speak with any authority on Chris's argument, but you
(and others) may recall Chris as one of the most scholarly participants in
the old Marxism list, before it died its flame wars. In other words, if
Chris makes the claim of some commonality between Marx and Hayek, I am
inclined to accept it.

I remember from some conversations with Chris that one reason Hayek's
philosophical approach was similar to Marx was because one of Hayek's
instructors was a scholar of dialectical philosophy.

On the appropriation of ideas front, while I reject Hayek's radical
subjectivist approach to analysing the core of capitalism, there is
something in its dynamic which Hayek's approach can capture. That is, I
think the Austrian analysis of production is as flawed as the neoclassical,
but their concepts about innovation and the valuation of products can apply
to new products--products which are not yet commodities because they are
not yet used to produce other commodities.

As for your tickler about whether there's anything worth appropriating from
neoclassical economics? No!

At 09:11 AM 2/19/00 -0500, you wrote:
>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
Dr. Steve Keen
Senior Lecturer
Economics & Finance
University of Western Sydney Macarthur
Building 11 Room 30,
Goldsmith Avenue, Campbelltown
PO Box 555 Campbelltown NSW 2560
s.keen@uws.edu.au 61 2 4620-3016 Fax 61 2 4626-6683
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Home Page: http://bus.macarthur.uws.edu.au/steve-keen/
Workshop on Economic Dynamcs: http://bus.macarthur.uws.edu.au/WED

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