[OPE-L:2521] Marx & Darwin

From: Alejandro Ramos (aramos@btl.net)
Date: Wed Mar 15 2000 - 10:54:11 EST

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Dear Andrew:

It seems your ope-l [2515] sheds light regarding the origin of the myth and
how it was perpetuated.

>But of course there's more to it than that. The myth was perpetuated
>because it conformed to a prevalent evolutionist, scientistic, positivist
>notion of "Marxism."

If you have some time, could you describe the main features of this version
of Marx's theory?

I think that an appealing point to reasearch on is the particular mixture
that this version of Marx's theory has in "Marxian Economics". I think it
is made up, on the one hand, of a strong "Platonic element" and, on the
other, of some sort of "crude Materialism" which is, perhaps, what you are
describing above.

We can see the "Platonic element" in the opinion that Marx's economic
theory is only a kind of general equilibrium theory (remember Walras was a
self-proclaimed Platonic) looking for metaphysical, atemporal, eternal
equilibrium points. The "crude Materialism" element would be well stressed
by the "marxian-surplus" approach in which, for example, profit results
from a physical, use-value, surplus, or "physical net product". So,
"reproduction" is only the reproduction of use-values, eternally equal to
themselves, which can be reproduced even without human labor, yielding a
"profit". Profit seems to be a natural category.

Perhaps someone better trained in Philosopy and History of Science can tell
us about the sources of this sort of "paradigm". Is not a kind of XVIII
"materialism"? Is it "positivism"? How do you call that?

>The whole episode was exposed by Margaret Fay, writing in Monthly Review,
>I think, maybe about 20-25 years ago. I can't remember any more details.

Who is Margaret Fay?

>BTW, the way I always heard the myth was that it was *Vol. I* that Marx
>wanted to dedicate to Darwin.

That's the version Isaiah Berlin gives.

Alejandro R.

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