[OPE-L:6607] Mikhail Tugan-Baronovsky

From: Alejandro Ramos (aramos@btl.net)
Date: Sun Feb 17 2002 - 18:40:45 EST

Re Jerry 6606: 

>In [6579] Ale R wrote:
>> As Tugan was an openly right-wing man --and Lenin's  
>enemy-- his work couldn't be directly cited or used by 
>the left. <
>In what sense was Tugan 'an openly right-wing 
>For a short bio (with links to other sources) see:

Jerry, thanks for the question. The New School profile is perhaps poor.
"Right-wing man", as I wrote in a hurry, can mean a lot of things! He was
not a Czarist but, after being a Legal Marxist, T-B was a candidate for the
Liberal Party and member of the Free Economic Society (like Struve). He
joined the anti-bolshevik Ukrainian provisional goverment. He was also a
supporter of cooperativism. I don't think if you consider this enough --in
the Russian context of those times-- to be a "right wing man" but,
neverthless, he was certainly an *anti-Marxist* since the late 1890s. Most
of his work is devoted to openly attack and "destroy" Marx's work and,
indeed, he succeeded in this!

Now, my specific point in the words you quoted referred to the fact that,
as T-B was politically antibolshevik, and acerbic anti-Marx, his books were
not used as sources for interpreting Marx *directly* by the leftists,
despite that the dominant interpretaion of "Marx's economics" is deeply
rooted in T-B. It's certainly a paradox that being perhaps the most
influential author for understanding the (endless) debates within Marxian
Economics, you cannot find any modern edition of his works. The
"transformaiton problem", the "Okishio theorem" and the "reproduction
schemes debate" (i.e. Rosa Luxemburg) all of three come from T-B works.
However, you have no integral translation of this yet into English!

I'll copy below what I wrote re T-B in the Preface of my translation of two
chapters of the "Studies on the Theory and the History of Business Crises
in England", which appeared in the Reseach in Political Economy 18, 2000.
Of course, I lifted the material from other sources but I know an English
schoolar, Vincent Barnett, is preparing a biography of Tugan that,
hopefully, can tell us more about the man.

I take the advantage to thank Paul Zarembka for his kind reception of my
idea for publishing the translation of this T-B chapters, showing in
practice his commitment to pluralism.



Michael Tugan-Baranowsky was a Ukrainian economist born in the village of
Solyonoe near Kharkov in 1865. He is the author of a series of books and
articles of great relevance for the early interpretation of Marx’s economic
theory. Tugan was one of the most prominent “Legal Marxists”, an important
group of the Russian intelligentsia in the 1890s. His intellectual formation
began by reading Kant and Dostoevsky during the high school years. He
studied Natural Sciences obtaining the degree of Candidate in 1888 at the
Kharkov University but his interests soon shifted to Political Economy and, in
1890, he passed the examination in the Faculty of Law and Economics at the
same University. That year, Tugan published “The Doctrine of the Marginal
Utility of Economic Goods” in the journal Yuridichesky Vestnik (Legal Herald).
As student, Tugan was involved in the radical movement but a really important
turning point in his life was his marriage to Lydia Karlovna Davydova in 1889.
Lydia Karlovna’s mother, Alexandra Davydova, was the owner of Mir Bozhy
(The World of God), a journal sympathetic to Marxist views, to which Tugan
contributed for many years. His wife contacts in the St. Petersburg
intelligentsia seem to have facilitated Tugan the starting of a productive
as a scholar. In 1891, he spent six months in London gathering material on
England’s business crises and, after researching for two years more at St.
Petersburg Libraries, he published, in 1894, his Promyshlennye krizisy v
sovremennoy Anglii, ikh prichiny i vliyanie na narodnuyu zhizn’ [Industrial
Crises in Contemporary England, their Causes and Influence on the Life of the
People]. This book granted Tugan his Master’s degree at Moscow University,
which was followed by his appointment as privat-dozent at the St. Petersburg
University in 1895, a post that he held only intermittently for political
The same year, Tugan joined the Free Economic Society, together with Peter
Struve. After the Revolution of 1905, he became a supporter of the cooperative
movement to which he also contributed theoretically and, in 1912, he was a
candidate for the Liberal Party. One year later, although he was elected to
chair of Political Economy and Statistics of St. Petersburg University, the
government did not endorse his election. Only in 1917 could he take this chair
but, after the Russian Revolution, he moved to Ukraine becoming Minister of
Finance in the short-lived Ukrainian Government. In 1918, he was appointed
dean of the Law Faculty of Kiev University and member of the Ukrainian
Academy of Sciences but, in 1919, he had decided to emigrate to Paris, a
purpose frustrated by a deadly stroke suffered in a train station between Kiev
and Odessa. [footnote: For this biographical summary, I have borrowed from
Gringauz (1928), Kindersley (1962), and Crisp (1968), which the reader can
profitably consult for further information.]

Crisp, O. (1968). Tugan-Baranovskii, Mikhail I. In: International
Encyclopedia of Social Sciences, Vol. 16. (pp. 164–167). Macmillan, New York.

Gringauz, S. (1928). M. I. Tugan-Baranowsky und seine Stellung in der
Nationalökonomie, Buchdruckerei “Salamandra”, Riga.

Kindersley, R. (1962). The First Russian Revisionists. A Study of ‘Legal
Marxism’ in Russia. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

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