[OPE-L:4268] Logic and illogic in defending Marx

From: Alejandro Ramos (aramos@btl.net)
Date: Tue Oct 24 2000 - 20:36:38 EDT

Re Allin 4248:

Thanks for your reply.

>Surely the motivation of an author does not provide a criterion
>of the correctness of his arguments.  Besides (though you are
>more familiar than I with the early literature on Marx) I didn't
>think Bortkiewicz was motivated by ideological opposition to

I'd advance at least some doubts about this. In any case, it's interesting
to note how little we actually know about him.

>-- though I gather he was partly motivated by a desire
>to set the record straight on what he regarded as some invalid
>criticisms of Ricardo on Marx's part (e.g. regarding the role of
>Department III in determining the general rate of profit).  

I think this is Sweezy version in his edition of one of Bort's articles.
I'm not sure about that. To point out only one thing. At the beginning of
that article, Bort. credits Tugan for having devised "the" transformation
method. Actually, Bort. offers an algebraical elaboration of what Tugan
produced in arithmetical terms. But the credit for the *conceptual* work
here is for Tugan, as Bort. himself acknowledges. Now, in 1905, Tugan was
anti-Marxist and his theoretical work had already an ideological
anti-Marxist purpose. Later on he was candidate for the Liberal Party and,
of course, opposed the Bolsheviks serving in the nationalist ukrainian
goverment. He died when he was emigrating to Paris. In Bort. case, I don't
think he was a socialdemocrat, even a right wing one, and his intervention
in this debate is part of what can be called the "revisionist debate", in
which we should examine the diverse theoretical contributions.

It seems to me that Sweezy was interested in a "mild" version of Bort.
because he was an author well-suited to introduce an "academic" version of
Marx in the English speaking world. Reading Bort's article people could see
that Marxian Political Economy can "use mathematics", and hence was as
"serious" and "fashionalble" as the other one. Bort's article was perfect
for this. 

>For what it's worth, I don't see my role as "defending Marx" so
>much as defending what I see as most important and valid in his


Alejandro Ramos

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