[OPE-L:4889] Re: Was Marx a classical? (was: Was Marx a Copernican or what?)

From: Gerald_A_Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@email.msn.com)
Date: Tue Feb 13 2001 - 19:13:07 EST

Julian wrote in [OPE-L:4888]:
  > I take it that this is a circumlocution intended to soften > the impact. While I'm not against this sort of tactic when > need dictates, this seems a damaging example: Marx, I > think, was not (just) a political economist, classical or 
  > otherwise.

  It would be worthwhile to give further consideration to what it means to "soften the impact". 

  While heterodox economics of any variety has offended marginalists (for whom nothing less than uncounditional surrender to their hegemony is acceptable),  within the wider environment of academia it is more "respectable" to be a "classical political economist"  (or e.g. a "Ricardian")  than it has been to be a "Marxist".  The desire for respectability both within and outside of the University by both faculty and students (the later might be concerned about how  classes on Marx on their college transcripts  might look to prospective future employers) is one source for  this.  In the case of faculty,  this might also be taken to be related to job security and the promotion and re-appointment process.

  Perhaps this also is a large part of the explanation for why there are so many more "Marxians" than "Marxists" in universities: I guess "Marxian" sounds like less of a threat to bourgeois authority. 

  None of the above suggests that it is not entirely possible for someone to legitimately identify with the perspectives of both classical political economy and Marx,  but that shouldn't retroactively transform Marx into a classical political economist.  On this point I think he was clear  -- indeed much of what became under the editorship of Kautsky the _Theories of Surplus Value_   was an explanation of how his perspectives differed from those of cpe (and others as well, of course).

  What I find the most absent by  "Marxians" in the claim that Marx was a classical political economist is the recognition of his *revolutionary* perspective.  Lest anyone forget, Marx was a communist. This sounds like such a trivial statement, but don't you get the feeling that many economists  consider  Marx to have been an economist?

  In solidarity, Jerry

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