[OPE-L:6434] Re: How taking a class in Marx and/or Marxian economics is valuable for business students

From: Michael Perelman (michael@ECST.CSUCHICO.EDU)
Date: Wed Jan 23 2002 - 11:47:18 EST

Think about the way people read Marx in Russia.  The nobles saw a warning
about the devastation capitalism caused.  The middle class rid a message
of inevitability.

On Wed, Jan 23, 2002 at 09:07:49AM -0500, 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

Michael Perelman
Economics Department
California State University
Chico, CA 95929

Tel. 530-898-5321
E-Mail michael@ecst.csuchico.edu

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