[OPE-L:6430] Re: How taking a class in Marx and/or Marxian economics is valuable for business students

From: Paul Zarembka (zarembka@acsu.buffalo.edu)
Date: Wed Jan 23 2002 - 10:42:02 EST

Wow, Jerry [6429], I'm going into my first class in Marxist Economic
Theory for this semester in 20 minutes and I'm creating enemies for the
workers, and workers would be better off without having my class offered
at my SUNY university?!  How else can I read what you wrote?

In any case, much of what you wrote is straight business school/economics
department stuff, independent of any Marxist class. Paul

Paul Zarembka, editor, RESEARCH IN POLITICAL ECONOMY at                 
********************** http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/PZarembka

On Wed, 23 Jan 2002, gerald_a_levy wrote:

> 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
> dangerous. 
> 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

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