[OPE-L:7023] [Harry Cleaver] Re: a boring question (for John H and others)

From: gerald_a_levy (gerald_a_levy@msn.com)
Date: Fri Apr 19 2002 - 09:48:53 EDT

----- Original Message -----
From: "Harry M. Cleaver" <hmcleave@eco.utexas.edu>
Sent: Friday, April 19, 2002 9:35 AM
Subject: Re: Fw: [OPE-L:7021] Re: Re: a boring question (for John H and

> Thanks for forwarding this. One note below.
> On Fri, 19 Apr 2002, gerald_a_levy wrote:
> > >     >What should be noted, though, connecting with something you wrote
> > > >in [6877], is that *economics* (by which I mean here, bourgeois or
> > > >'mainstream' economic theory) *is* boring.  And this should be a
> > > >significant conclusion of the critique of economics: i.e. it inverts
> > > >should be the vitally-important and fascinating comprehension of how
> > > >systems of production, distribution, and exchange and class struggle
> > > >impact peoples' lives into an eminently boring -- and trivial --
> > >
> > >     I agree completely.
> I don't. For many years I have confronted this tendency on the part of
> student critics of capitalism, especially Marxist students, to complain
> about mainstream economics being boring and trivial and not worth the
> trouble. During this time I have argued the following: while there are a
> lot of boring technical details, especially as the profession sought more
> and more sophisticated mathematics to accomplish more or less the same
> things as in the past, in general the study of mainstream economics should
> be taken on as an essential exercise in class espionage. Mainstream
> economics is not just ideology and not just wrong; it is a key component
> of capitalist strategy and is used to devise tactics against the rest of
> us. To think that the enemy's thinking is boring and trivial is to risk
> not taking it seriously and not learning to read it strategically and thus
> not understanding the strategies and tactics being used against you. This
> has, in fact, happened again and again. For example, go back and read
> various Marxists on Keynes and see how they attacked Keynes as a mere
> bourgeois apologist, as being wrong, how they belittled his theory because
> it was based on psychology not "laws of motion", etc., all the while
> failing to either recognize or confront the class politics of his
> strategies and being blind to the significance of working class resistance
> and subversion of them. Then compare all that with the Italian New Left
> reading (Negri's for example) and the subsequent rereading in Zerowork
> that moved the discussion of the crisis in the late 1960s and 1970s from
> sterile debates about underconsumptions and falling rates of profit to a
> class analysis of how working class struggle had ruptured the Keynesian
> productivty deals (in factory and community) and how money was being used
> in new ways to counter that subversion etc. etc.
> Read in the spirit of espionage and as an urgent task in the development
> of counterstrategies in the class struggle, bourgeois economics is not
> boring but as exciting as the investigation of enemy plans discovered on a
> military battlefield.
> Harry
> Snail-mail:
> Harry Cleaver
> Department of Economics
> University of Texas at Austin
> Austin, Texas 78712-1173  USA
> Phone Numbers:
> (hm)  (512) 442-5036
> (off) (512) 475-8535
> Fax:(512) 471-3510
> E-mail:
> hmcleave@eco.utexas.edu
> PGP Public Key:
> Cleaver homepage:
> http://www.eco.utexas.edu/faculty/Cleaver/index2.html
> Chiapas95 homepage:
> http://www.eco.utexas.edu/faculty/Cleaver/chiapas95.html
> Accion Zapatista homepage:
> http://www.utexas.edu/students/nave/

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