[OPE-L:4493] Re: Marxist economists

From: Alejandro Valle Baeza (valle@servidor.unam.mx)
Date: Sat Nov 11 2000 - 00:42:59 EST

Alejandro Ramos wrote:

> Jerry,
> I think Rakesh is essentially right regarding the issue of Marxists
> economists.
> "Marxist economist" is an oxymoron.
> >From point of view of the profession, being Marxist today is something that
> only a lunatic can be. For the *real economists* Marx is considered an old
> fashioned proponent of a *logically inconsistent* theory of capitalism and
> then he has no credit at all.
> A more learned version of this considers Marx as a sort of Ptolemaian
> astronomer --we just heard this comparison on this list!-- and, as no
> Ptolemaian can get a post as *astronomer* today, no Marxist can apply to an
> *economist* job today. She or he can be "economist" but not in her or his
> condition of Marxist. It's the same thing that someone who apply to a M.D.
> job whose credentials are being an Astrologer, follower of a XIX century
> mystic.
> This is the *real* and widespread appraisal of the profession regarding
> Marx. And, I'd add that the so-called "Marxist economists" have contributed
> a lot to this situation. I think this is what Rakesh refers to as the
> "tremendously destructive role of Marxist economists." They are the people
> who permanently have said and "demonstrated" that, in effect, Marx's theory
> is logically flawed, that he is a Ptolemaian still waliking in the XX century.
> It's quite possible that in rich countries having well funded academic
> institutions somebody can get a post as "Marxist Economist" but this is an
> exception. In my own personal professional experience as economist I MUST
> take out from my Personal History whatever thing looks like Marxism.
> Otherwise, nobody would give me any job. In Latin America, it would be
> simply crazy to be a "Marxist Economist" outside perhaps some limited
> spaces in the academy in Mexico and Brazil.
> >From the point of view of Marxism, being an *economist* today would be
> crazy too. In the last 30 years, economists have been behind every
> unpopular, rich oriented policy. In Latin America, economists were
> ideological and practical pillars of dictators as Pinochet and Videla.
> Economists are the people cited as *scientific authorities* for supporting
> any neoliberal policy and uniformly they do this job. Today, economists are
> essentially ideologues of the right wing and institutions such the World
> Bank and IMF and all the network they control. This is the real status of
> the profession. Besides this, you can survive making very marginal things,
> not to speak of being "Marxist Economist"!!!
> Alejandro R.

I agree with Alejandro Ramos. However, I agree also with Levy previous message
about this subject. I think it is necessary to work on economic problems no to
helping capitalism for surviving but to  transform capitalist in a democratic new
socialism.  It can be done in  a wide spectrum of problems, from practical to
theoretical problems. I assume there are not magical rules about the "right way"
to produce valuable research on economic problems. A Spanish friend told me:"In
Spain, Marxist are not economist and economist are not Marxist". I believe this
sentence is valid for Mexico and many other countries. Nevertheless it remain
necessary critical economists in many places.

Alejandro Valle Baeza

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