[OPE-L:7217] Re: Re: Re: Re: fundamentalism

From: paul bullock (paulbullock@ebms-ltd.co.uk)
Date: Sun May 19 2002 - 08:53:51 EDT

Re: [OPE-L:7186] Re: Re: fundamentalismRakesh,

The article we wrote clearly spells out how the contradictory nature of the commodity develops into  an inflationary crisis. It was not necessary for us to go, writer by writer, through the efforts of others since the differences should be clear to the normally interested  reader. 

We were not willing, in any case, to shout into the ears of those who feigned deafness.

1)    What do you mean by 'capital saving innovation'  ? Is this negative accumulation? or a purely use value approach?

2)    The difference between ourselves and monetarism is simple in essence, for us commodities circulate money... for the monetarists helicopters do... or perhaps if I restrain myself , ... for monetarists, money circulates commodities. This is absolutely clear in the article and certainly needs no repetition. Of course the argument is expanded through the analysis of the use of credit  ...already.... and seems to me quite clear.

3)    what is a short term keynesian? someone who isn't dead? or someone who becomes a Marxist after being a schoolboy?  To point out that the UK Government extended unproductive employment ( eventually only to a predictably capitalistically constrained limit ) hardly makes one a 'Keynsian'. Because one observes a transient relation does not allow others to infer that one has prescribed it as a solution. We are not interested in such solutions, Fine and Harris certainly were.

Best wishes

Paul Bullock

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Rakesh Bhandari 
  To: ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu 
  Sent: Thursday, May 16, 2002 10:18 PM
  Subject: [OPE-L:7198] Re: Re: Re: fundamentalism

  I may well agree with your count-criticism of Fine, but I don't see what is so troubling here.

  Didn't you agree with Mattick that Keynesian full employment policies could in fact be adopted in the short term as Fine seems to suggest, though they would compound the problem of profitability in the long term? And in this sense didn't both you and Mattick differ from an extreme Robert Lucas like position that Keynesian policies may not even work in the short term? So why is it wrong to say that you were a (short term) Keynesian? It's not a horrible reading of Mattick Sr in my opinion. 

  Moreover, is there no overlap between your theory of inflation and the monetarist one? I do not remember your working out a detailed critique of the monetarist one--Pilling has a few pages in Crisis of Keynesian Economics against Friedman.  It does seem that it would be productive to hash these issues out. That is, in saying that your view of inflation is close to the monetarist one, aren't you being goaded on to differeniate your own view from that one? Again I may well agree with your reply here, but there seems no reason to continue the debate with Fine who is obviously a very serious, knowledgeable and productive person.

  And what is wrong with Fine arguing that like Ricardo you do not give full weight to the possibility of capital saving innovation in relieving upward pressure on the OCC? Again this problem of capital saving innovation as a counter-tendency is in fact an important and very difficult problem, and does seem to have been downplayed by Ricardo. So what is wrong in saying that you are neo Ricardian here in not giving what he considers to be due weight to this problem--Fine obviously does not mean Sraffian here but neo Ricardian.

  Again I am not saying that Fine has delivered a decisive critique, but there seems to me no reason to close off the debate on the basis of what he has written.

  Were you not a short term Keynesian? How is your theory of inflation different than the monetarist one? Are you not Ricardian in not giving capital saving innovation its due?

  All the best, Rakesh


    Fine was a member of the Communist Party of GB ( now defunct), which, at the time,  had long given up any revolutionary claims. But primarily he is an academic and his recent contributions demonstrate this. I think your quotes from him on our work made it abundantly clear that a reply would be undignified as well as a waste of time.

    In the present situation, I would hope that serious students of Marxism who are concerned with building a revolutionary movement would look at our contemporary writings - an application of the ideas developed over the 1970s to the developing world situation today.

    David Yaffe

    At 21:16 15/05/02 -0400, you wrote:

      David Y wrote in [7l73]:
      >  I regarded their criticism's as fundamentally dishonest
      and saw no purpose in responding to them.  For myself
      I believe Marxism has to be put to the service of a new
      revolutionary movement and there is little point in forever
      going over the old debates for the sake of it. <
      OK, well I can appreciate that position.  The only problem,
      though, is that F&H's works are still read and do have some
      limited influence. 
      Paul B in [7l67] wrote that Harris had described the position of
      Paul and yourself  -- without even an attempt at justification --
      as "Keynesian"   I know you don't want to go over old debates,
      but you might be interested in the following gems from Ben
      Fine in "Recent Developments in Marxist Economic Theory"
      in Gerd Hardach, Dieter Karras and Ben Fine _A Short History
      of Socialist Economic Thought  (NY, St. Martin's Press,  l978,
      Ch. 5):
      In the first selection FINE, citing your joint article "Inflation, Crisis
      and the Post-War Boom" (_Revolutionary Communist_, 3/4,
      November, l975) refers to the both of you as KEYNESIANS *AND*
      "Those who argue the validity of the law of the TRPF by
      asserting the dominance of the tendency over the counteracting
      tendencies view the current recession in terms of the particular
      response by capital to the inevitable working of the law. In
      particular, the state is seen as being compelled to expand
      expenditure to maintain employment for political stability.
      The result of this is a further diminution in the surplus value
      available for distribution to capitalists as profits, and inflation
      as the state expands its credit to finance its expenditure.
      Inevitably, the crisis is only postponed by these manoeuvres.
      Again, we can see that *a Keynesian analysis has been
      adopted (together with a Keynesian view of the role of the
      state to maintain full employment)*  with the (false) presumption
      that state expenditure will increase employment even though
      profitability has been affected.  In addition, a *monetarist theory
      of inflation* has been utilized with the (false) presumption that
      the state predominantly appropriates resources through
      over-expansion of the money supply" (p. 76, emphasis with
      color added.)
      In the next quote, FINE, citing David's article "The Marxian Theory
      of Crisis, Capital and the State" (_Economy and Society_ 2.2,
      l973),  refers to the E&S article as an "extreme version of"
      NEO-RICARDIAN  "analysis":
      "The second interpretation of the law [of the TRPF, JL] is the
      one that insists on its validity by reworking Marx's analysis of the
      rising organic composition of capital but continues by asserting
      the dominance of the tendency over the counteracting tendencies
      rather than theorizing the contradictory interaction of the two. In
      this light, *such a view  can be considered to be an extreme
      version  of the neo-Ricardian analysis* in which distributional
      struggle, increases in the rate of exploitation and decreases in
      the value of capital are considered *dogmatically* to be of
      secondary significance relative to the TRPF.  Thus, the simple
      interaction of the two tendencies as a sum must lead to an
      actual fall in the rate of profit
         These two apparently opposing interpretations of the law
      ["the first Neo-Ricardian interpretation"  and David's, JL]
      then have much in common and consequently have stunted
      rather than developed Marxist theory" (p. 74, emphasis again
      added with color.)
      I can see why you wouldn't want to answer these charges.
      I wonder:  was Fine a member of another (rival) political
      party at the time?  Perhaps there was an unspoken political
      agenda that he was pursuing in feeling the apparent need to
      distort your positions.   Thus, perhaps, the two of you were
      attacked because of your own political associations?  I'm
      just speculating, of course: I just don't understand what is
      going on here. Do you?
      In solidarity, Jerry

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