[OPE-L:2831] Re: what a Marxist may learn from Keynes?

From: riccardo bellofiore (bellofio@cisi.unito.it)
Date: Thu Apr 13 2000 - 05:37:34 EDT

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At 18:09 +0100 12-04-2000, Alejandro Ramos wrote:
>>P.S.: I guess there is something worthwhile in, at least: (i) the category
>>of 'finance' ... (iv) the priority of investment over saving;
>Perhaps what Keynes did was to unearth a *very* old tradition in Political
>Economy, that developed by John Law, and later put out of the mainstream by
>Cantillon and Smith. I think this is what one might infer from Rist's book
>on the history of monetary theories. BTW, what do you think about that book?

It's not in my top list. I would rather suggest, going towards very old
books, B.W. Dempsey, Interest and Usury (I don't remember the publisher,
it's more or less 1942), especially the first part. And, of course, the
sections on money and credit in Schumpeter's History (1954).
>>your [Jerry's] answer is what I expected from a true Marxist. In Keynes
>there >was nothing really new. The truth is in the Book.
>Well, you asked what "a Marxist" may find in Keynes, and I think it's
>natural Jerry had replied trying to look for connections between Marx's
>specific issues and Keynes' issues. It seems to me that here you're
>depicting Jerry as some sort of dogmatic, "book worshiper", an opinion I
>find neither constructive nor true.

As, I hope, Jerry very well knows, I have the highest esteem of him. Not
only he is doing a very hard and useful job with this list, which I fear is
not recognized as it should be. He does it with a very 'open' spirit. And,
BTW, I feel him as a close friend (and a wonderful room-mate [is this the
right term] for some nights at the EEA in Boston a few years ago. I
apologise for any 'destructive' tone which may have been surfaced in my

What I wanted to convey is that *even Jerry*, as long as he is a Marxist of
the end of the XXth century, automatically relegates Keynes outside
political economy, believes that Marx anticipated his insights (if there
were any, etc.).

Alejandro, speaking frankly, I have the impression that most Marxists of
the younger generation think that now Marxism is in good health, that 'our'
knowledge of Marxism and political economy is much better than in the past
- for example, as another friend told me many years ago, it is much better
than in the case of, say, Sweezy and Dobb. Now, I don't agree at all with
the theoretical perspectives of the last two names. Nevertheless they had
much more political implication than us, much more grasp of the
contemporary political economy than us, and - after all - much more
capacity of interact with 'standard' economic theory. So mine is a plea for
a more humble attitude towards modern and contemporary economic thought,
and for a view where Marxisms is till an open construction, which has a lot
to learn from other traditions.

        Riccardo Bellofiore
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