[OPE-L:5763] RE: Re: Marx & Ricardo

From: mongiovg (mongiovg@stjohns.edu)
Date: Sun Jun 03 2001 - 12:39:04 EDT

On some of these issues Rakesh and I may just have to agree to disagree. On 
others we largely agree, and differ mainly on questions of nuance or emphasis.

I would add at this point just the following.

I may have been a little too polite earlier in expressing my reservations 
about Peach's interpretation of Ricardo: I think it's wretched.  This is not 
the place to reiterate my objections in detail: I refer interested listmembers 
to my review essay of his book, in the Journal of the History of Economic 
Thought, 1994 ("Misinterpreting Ricardo: A Review Essay"). (Heinz D. Kurz & I 
have also written a rejoinder to Peach's Cambridge Journal reply to his 
critics; the rejoinder should appear in an early 2002 issue of the CJE.) To 
put the argument briefly, Peach reads Ricardo's unsuccessful attempts to 
grapple with the theory of value as evidence of scientific incompetence (and, 
Peach hints, intellectual dishonesty).  Peach also judges Malthus to have been 
the superior intellect, at least as regards problems of economic analysis.

I don't see this reading can be reconciled with the textual evidence, or how 
Rakesh can reconcile it with Marx's admiration for Ricardo and his contempt 
for Malthus. Of Malthus, Marx writes in TSV (Vol. III, p. 16) that "instad of 
advancing beyond Ricardo, [he] seeks to drag political economy back to where 
it was before Ricardo, even to where it was before Adam Smith and the 
Physiocrats". To be sure, Marx acknowledges that Malthus scored a few good 
hits off Ricardo (as some Sraffians have done); but Malthus was able to do 
this only because R. was unable to untangle the very difficult value-theoretic 
problems he encountered in trying to explain the profit rate in material 

I'd be interested to hear what other listmembers think about this connection 
between Ricardo and Marx, since so much Marxist hostility to the Sraffian 
tradition stems from the belief that it inappropriately attempts to "transform 
Marx into Ricardo" (as one TSSer has put it).


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