[OPE-L:7167] Re: Re: fundamentalism

From: paul bullock (paulbullock@ebms-ltd.co.uk)
Date: Tue May 14 2002 - 17:07:38 EDT

Jerry and Riccardo,

For my part I can only say this: F&H seemed to be using this term
'Fundamentalists against us (David Y, myself and  others involved in the
debates at that time) because we were working to apply Marx's theory to the
contemporary scene without qualifying the explanations given in Marx's

David Y's precise attack on neo Ricardianism eg against Glynn and Sutcliffe
in the New Left Review , and his demolition of the idea of a 'transformation
problem' ,  forced F&H to distinguish themselves, but they wouldn't accept
what we were saying. Frankly I had no interest in what they thought they
meant  especially as Harris also called our approach Keynsian... without the
slightest attempt at justification!..(in Socialist Register). Indeed our
explanation of inflation, state expenditure, the role of armaments
production,  domestic labour and so on were never taken up by them, so I
guess they neither wished to risk a real argument and stuck only to calling


paul b

----- Original Message -----
From: "gerald_a_levy" <gerald_a_levy@msn.com>
To: <ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu>
Sent: Tuesday, May 14, 2002 2:43 AM
Subject: [OPE-L:7164] Re: fundamentalism

> Re Riccardo's [7l62]:
> > if I remember well, the term Fundamentalists was used in Fine &
> > Harris Re-reading Capital with no overt dismissive tone - at least,
> > if you think that neo-Ricardian is not dismissive for Sraffians.
> > However, I am in trouble with your answer, since I've always thought
> > that Fundamentalism implied that there were no theoretical or
> > analytical problems in Marx, so that the only thing to do for us
> > followers was to apply and develop for an historically more advanced
> > situation the original, 'fundamental', line of thought already there
> > in Capital.
> For Fine and Harris "capital-logiciians" was understood to be
> synonymous with "fundamentalist".   Yet, no reason is offered for _why_
> capital-logical interpretations should be deemed to be "fundamentalist".
> Nor is there any reason to suppose that  "capital-logicians" are
> necessarily "fundamentalists" in the sense in which you describe above.
> While I wouldn't exactly say that by labeling capital-logical
> interpretations "fundamentalist", Fine and Harris are being dismissive, I
> will say that I think it is a  instance of   a) loaded terminology; and
> b)  caricature.   While I think there are many good things about their
> book,  it does seem to me that at times they caricature both
> "Neo-Ricardians" and "Fundamentalists" so as to position themselves
> as more "well-balanced" moderates in between these two "extremes".
> Consider:  "For Fundamentalists, the sphere of production is
> determinant. Indeed, it is the only sphere of economic activity that
> they analyze in a consistent manner."  (p. l9)  Oh, really?  This is
> a simplistic caricature (and therefore, a misrepresentation) of capital-
> logical interpretations.  Yet, also consider:  "For Neo-Ricardians all
> analysis of the capitalist economy takes place in the sphere of
> exchange and distribution" (Ibid).  Oh, really?   For authors who
> don't consider themselves to be either Sraffians or capital-logical
> theorists, this makes a very nice and easy divide -- but it is less
> than accurate as a representation of both traditions.
> I'm still not clear what the origin of  the expression Marxist
> "fundamentalism" is, but if  those who adhere to capital-logical
> interpretations willingly accepted the title of "fundamentalist" that
> others (such as Fine and Harris) have given them, then I think
> it was  a serious mistake because of the other associations that
> "fundamentalism" has that I referred to in [7l6l].   In any event,
> a couple of the "fundamentalists" that Fine and Harris critiqued
> are on this list (David Y and Paul B) so they might be able to
> shed some light on the origin of this expression in terms of whether
> it was a designation that they came up with or one that was imposed
> upon them but later accepted willy-nilly by some.
> In solidarity, Jerry
> PS:  At one point OPE-L member Anwar S also referred to his
> theories as  "fundamentalist" -- I'm not sure if he still does -- but very
> oddly  and curiously the F&H l979 book makes no reference to his
> works.

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