[OPE-L:4042] [Actually now about Grossman]

From: Rakesh Narpat Bhandari (rakeshb@Stanford.EDU)
Date: Wed Oct 11 2000 - 02:02:05 EDT

Oh well, it's silent.

In 4031, Paul Z wrote:

>I do not think that the reproduction schema can be reinvigorated by
>allowing for the possibility of exchange at production prices.

I do thank you for encouraging me to understand the strengths of 
Luxemburg's criticism; it seems that many Marxists had come to 
understand Bauer's reply as decisive.

>   However,
>Grossman (his own spelling of his name when he wrote in English or French
>or Polish (see Rick Kuhn, *RPE*, Volume 18 -- constantly spelling his name
>in the German reinforces, in my opinion, a very common belief that Henryk
>Grossman was of German origin)

Wouldn't want to do that to Henryck.

>  and Mattick, Sr. seem to be making a good
>point re value and production prices.

Yes, it is important not to conflate Bauer's criticism of Luxemburg 
with Grossmann/Mattick Sr's. It seems to me a major chapter in the 
history of Marxian thought which is not dealt with adequately by 
Howard and King, as you noted earlier. They seem both unfair to 
Luxemburg and unaware of the specifities of Grossmann's criticism.

>On Bauer, Grossman may have thought that there were a lot of limitations
>to his work, but he surely put this Austro-Marxist at a higher plane of
>analysis than the revolutionary Marxist of Polish origin Rosa Luxemburg.

On the one hand, Grossmann found Bauer's scheme superior to Marx's 
reproduction schema; on the other hand, he does single out several of 
its assumptions which need to be relaxed for any realistic analysis.

That is,  he praises Bauer for demonstrating  better than Marx that 
the expanded reproduction of the capitalist system is indeed possible 
without a permanent consumption deficit (and here you do not think 
Bauer was as successful as Grossmann does); on the other hand, he 
himself does not confuse this superior model of reality for the 
reality of the model even if Grossmann's critics forget this.  The 
extension of the model is only the first step in the isolation of a 
tendency implicit in capital accumulation towards the breakdown of 
the system.

Mattick argued that  G's use of B's scheme even as a first step did 
in fact have the effect of reifying the model, giving the impression 
that equilibrium growth was a real force at work in the accumulation 
of capital and thus needlessly conceding too much to the harmonists. 
That is, in trying to use the scheme for more than disproving the 
necessity of underconsumption, that is, in working with it as a 
model, no matter how imperfect, of the accumulation process which 
must end in breakdown, Grossmann is in no position to deny the 
equilibrium possibilities of accumulation demonstrated in the scheme.

I think Mattick here has a point; at the same time, rightly or 
wrongly, Grossmann wants to ground his analysis of crisis and 
breakdown in value alone and thus abstracts from several real forces 
of disequilibrium on the use value side,e.g., the *technical* 
differences between the two departments which Bauer must simply 
eliminate in practical terms if his  his model is to work as a 
counter-critique of  Luxemburg.  Of course you develop this at length 
in your accumulation paper.

I do not know what Grossmann made of  Bauer's  work on the national 
question and general economic questions. There is a whole chapter on 
Bauer's early analysis of the capitalist limits to rationalization in 
Rosdolsky who praises it heavily.
It does seem to me to a rather brilliant analysis, as Rosdolsky says.

And as I have mentioned to Rick, there is a story by Christina Stead 
in which a character created in Grossmann's image battles it out with 
a social democrat in Bauer's image over the radicalism of (i believe) 
jewish workers--it's been a while since i read the story.   It seems 
to have been written soon after Stead and her husband Blake 
befriended Grossmann who was then being further marginalized by 
Horkheimer as the Frankfurt school moved to Columbia. It  seems that 
Grossmann considered the social democrat Bauer to be a life long 
antagonist to the revolutionary marxism he was developing, all the 
while respecting his acumen. There is also the false impression that 
Grossmann considered Hilferding a crass political opportunist and not 
a thinker of the first rank.

But I look forward to Rick's reconstruction of all this.

All the best, rakesh

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