[OPE-L:4271] Re: Steve on the worthlessness of labor at the source of surplus value

From: Steve Keen (s.keen@uws.edu.au)
Date: Wed Oct 25 2000 - 16:23:53 EDT

On the issue of the need to show interest in the history of ideas, I
couldn't agree more! Marx was the greatest historian of thought ever (a
title most conventional economists give to Schumpeter), and the richness of
his ideas in no small measure resulted from his breadth of knowledge of
other opinions.

I might also add, on Alejandro's comment that "the general mood in most of
Marxist economists is consider *in advance* that Marx is essentially wrong"
while symmetrically "the work of authors such as Bohm Bawerk is considered
*in advance* *right*, *sound*", that as a critic of Marx, I would plead
"not guilty" on both those counts. In fact, I believe that Marx was
"essentially right", and that the inadequate understanding most of his
followers and opponents have of his foundations is the cause of the
"general mood" Alejandro refers to.

I also directly criticise Bohm Bawerk for failing to understand Marx in my
papers--in fact I argue that this conservative critic (and his predecessor
Wagner) actually established the manner in which most subsequent followers
of Marx misinterpreted the master.

At 07:38 PM 10/24/2000 -0600, you wrote:
>Re Paul Z 4260:
>>This is very important point Alejandro is making.
>>A lot of debates within
>>and for/against Marx became "frozen" one way or another around the turn of
>>the twentieth century.
>I'd add to this that it's a bit odd that Marxist economists show scarce
>interest in exploring the history of the ideas given that Marx's work is
>also an enormous *critical* investigation on the history of the economic
>thought. This wouldn't be strange in a Neoclassical economist regarding
>e.g. the history of General Equilibrium theory, but it's in the case of a
>Marxian economist.
>The other thing I find striking is that the general mood in most of Marxist
>economists is consider *in advance* that Marx is essentially wrong and must
>be "corrected" (Why? This is unclear. If he's wrong shouldn't be
>"corrected" but directly surpassed.) Simetrically, the work of authors such
>as Bohm Bawerk is considered *in advance* *right*, *sound*. There are lots
>of people keen to show that *undoubtedly* Marx is a "pre-cientific",
>"outmoded", "technically crippled", "logically inconsistent", "guilty of
>using redundant concepts" etc. author. But, it's hard to find someone who
>shows such, say, such critical attitude regarding e.g. Bohm.
>> I found that with regard to "accumulation of
>>capital": it became "frozen" by Lenin's interpretation and by the smashing
>>of Luxemburg's work.  Even "anti-Leninists" are often unaware of how the
>>terms of this discussion were set up a century ago.
>I take advantage of this post to ask something I have had in my head for
>some time. I remember that, in that article, you review Lenin's book on
>Sismondi. At that point, Lenin position regarding the "markets" issue was
>practically the same as Tugan. Lenin's book on S. was from 1897.
>Wasn't possible that, at that point, Lenin had already read the 1st edition
>of Tugan's book (1894)? Didn't he cite it? Later on, you say that in a text
>of 1899, it's clear that Lenin had read Tugan. Why? Why not before this, in
>Alejandro Ramos
Dr. Steve Keen
Senior Lecturer
Economics & Finance
University of Western Sydney Macarthur
Building 11 Room 30,
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