[OPE-L:6500] RE: RE: Re: N. Sieber on Ricardo and Marx

From: Mongiovi Gary (mongiovg@stjohns.edu)
Date: Fri Feb 01 2002 - 11:58:43 EST

I'd meant, in my earlier post, to offer my kudos to Paul for bringing out 
the Sieber piece--an excellent service to Marxist scholars far and wide. 
 Well done.

I guess what I really was getting at is that I don't understand why Marx's 
Ricardian roots should be thought problematic. That he built upon what came 
before doesn't diminish his scientific achievement: what human being starts 
absolutely from scratch?  Sraffa, Gramsci, Wittgenstein, Marx: what sets 
them apart from the rest of us is that they took nothing for granted, they 
subjected every premise to critical (and self-critical) scrutiny.  But even 
they had to draw inspiration from the ideas they found on the table when 
they began their scientific and philosophical investigations.  Then they 
had to evaluate these ideas, discard the bits that didn't withstand 
critical scrutiny, adopt and modify the bits that did. Can science progress 
in any other way?

Many of the arguments that attempt to reconcile Marx's reaction to Sieber 
with interpretations that try to distance him from Ricardo seem to me to 
boil down to some variation of: "Marx was trying to be polite."  That 
doesn't jibe with anything we know about his personality or his rhetorical 
style.  And the suggestion that Marx didn't really grasp the extent to 
which he had broken from the classicals does a disservice to his critical 
powers. For what it's worth, I think he'd rather have been caught out in an 
error than have been accused of  not fully understanding his own 
intellectual agenda.


-----Original Message-----
From:	Paul Zarembka [SMTP:zarembka@ACSU.BUFFALO.EDU]
Sent:	Friday, February 01, 2002 7:17 AM
To:	ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu
Subject:	[OPE-L:6491] RE: Re: N. Sieber on Ricardo and Marx

mongiovg <mongiovg@stjohns.edu> said, on 01/31/02 [OPE-L:6473]:

>Doesn't Marx, in his Afterward to the Second German Edition of Capital,
>more  or less endorse Sieber's view of the connection between Marx and
>Ricardo?  However slippery Marx's grasp of Russian may have been, he
>understands Sieber  to have posited a continuity between Marx and Ricardo,
>and in referring to  Sieber Marx's tone is unambiguously approving.  I
>have been criticized for  overstating the affinity of Marx and Ricardo,
>and I take the point. But surely  it is a mistake to deny that there was a
>substantial continuity esp. in light  of Marx's own acknowledgment of it?



I cannot gainsay our point.  That is, while I am among those who defend the
break between Ricardo and Marx, the Sieber episode is not consistent with
it (David Smith's remark RE Marx on Wagner to read Sieber seems to me to
reinforce the 1873 Afterword).

On the other hand, there are alternative interpretations such as the one
Jerry offered a year or more ago that Marx wanted to support someone who
supported him (i.e., politics -- to which I objected at the time) or that
Sieber's weaknesses paled next to his achievements as far as Marx was
concerned (which is probably where I am for the time being).  There is also
the fact that Engels' Preface to the 4th Edition is perhaps clearer than
Marx himself on Marx's achievement (see Engels on the history of chemistry
as it relates to Marx) so that Marx may not have been fully aware of the
extent of his own break from the classicals.

I have wanted to get Sieber out in any Western language so that these
problems can see the light of day, as well as helping more clearly
understand the importance of Sieber for Russian marxism (both positive and
negative effects).


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