[OPE-L:6429] How taking a class in Marx and/or Marxian economics is valuable for business students

From: gerald_a_levy (gerald_a_levy@msn.com)
Date: Wed Jan 23 2002 - 09:07:49 EST

Re Michael P's [6403]:

> The first time I taught Marxian economics, 3 decades ago, I had an MBA
> student tell me that the class was the most useful business class that he
> every had.  I don't know what happened to him.

He probably went on to become a very successful business manager.

Let's consider some essential lessons from a managerial perspective that a
student might be able to draw from taking a class in Marxian economics:

-- It's 'us' (management) vs. 'them' (the workers);

-- Minimize per unit costs of production as a means of increasing
    firm profit margins;

-- Screw workers!  To wit:

    *   pay workers the lowest possible wages;
    *  offer workers the least possible benefits;
    *   increase working hours, if possible and up to a certain point;
    *  deskill workers if possible;
    *  divide workers and oppose unionization and unions;
    *  increase the intensity of work (speed-up) wherever possible.
--  comprehend the ethic of the marketplace: profit maximization
     no matter who else or what else in society is hurt.

-- on matters of common interest, enter into agreement with other
    capitalists (e.g. join lobbying associations).

etc. etc.

It might be interesting then to have some kind of follow-up survey
to find out what percentage of students who took classes in Marxian
or radical political economy then went on to use that knowledge
against the working class. It might even be interesting to know how
many students have been paid by government intelligence agencies
to take classes in Marxian economics. 

A 'radical' in management, from my experience, can be a worker's
worst enemy: I remember a Dean at a SUNY college who thought
of himself as a Marxist (and who was at the time a sympathizer of the
CPUSA) who did everything possible to screw workers including
mass firings of minority faculty and other 'troublemakers'.   This just
goes to show that a little knowledge in the wrong hands is very

Some of the above lessons are not really learned in business classes 
because of the ideological camouflage in the texts (instead, I think these 
lessons are learned by most managers in practice on-the-job). Thus classes 
in Marxian economics have great advantages for potential business managers.

In solidarity, Jerry

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b30 : Sat Feb 02 2002 - 00:00:06 EST