[OPE-L:5805] Re: cause(s) and consequence(s) of the Marxist 'obsession'

From: Gerald_A_Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@email.msn.com)
Date: Wed Jun 06 2001 - 10:05:45 EDT

Re Andrew B's [5802]:

> Rather, I am using the importance of 'value'
> as the key aspect guiding my judgment as to the > true reason and
motivation for the value
> debates. In turn this relies on a materialist
> premise: what people worry about most relates > to their material
circumstances, the most
> important of which is 'value' in the CMP.

"What people worry about"?  Which people?

I will offer a contrary hypothesis which links
the debates on the TP, the Okishio Theorem,
etc. to material reality.

What is the 'material reality' of most of the
participants in that debate?  At least since the
1940s, they have overwhelmingly been part of
the material reality of the academy. And the
participants desire job security and advancement
in their [tenuous] positions in colleges and universities. Thus, when there
are those in the
academy who have lampooned their
perspective(s) on value,  an attempt to answer
those critiques has some importance if one wants
to be 'taken seriously' by one's colleagues
(overwhelmingly neo-neo-classical economists)
and graduate students.   Thus, the debate has
been motivated -- at least on one side -- by
the pursuit of 'respectability' at work?  Yet,
since when do Marxists want to be viewed by
representatives of bourgeois ideology (the
marginalists, etc.) as 'respectable'? "Respectability"
should be a "dirty word" for Marxists.

Significantly, while your hypothesis rests on what
people worry about in capitalist society and the
crucially important role of value, my counter-
hypothesis seeks to explain why _particular
people_ [Marxist academic economists] have
a vested concern about the outcome of those
debates. And, at least I can point to what many
of the participants themselves have cited for
the reason for their engagement (and, indeed, we
have heard these motivations cited repeatedly
on OPE-L.).

I  also point out the following: who knows
about and cares about the 'transformation
problem' and the Okishio Theorem, etc.? How
many workers in a thousand would you guess
know about those issues and debates?  I
suspect that the answer is 'less than 1 in 1,000'.
This is thus a debate which from its very
conception has not been rooted in the material
conditions of the working class and the changing
nature of capitalist society. It has, indeed, not
been a debate _by_ the working class. It has
been a debate _among_ economists.  The
presumption has been that Marxists must answer
to bourgeois [and non-bourgeois non-Marxist]
economists. Yet, shouldn't  Marxists answer only
to the working class?

In solidarity, Jerry

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