Re: (OPE-L) Re: Which label: neo-Ricardian, surplus approach, or linear production theory?

From: Rakesh Bhandari (rakeshb@STANFORD.EDU)
Date: Tue Dec 02 2003 - 17:23:32 EST

>Rakesh wrote:
>>  linear production theory is the
>>  tool of the servants of a class in decline which would like to freeze
>>  reality as it is.
>Sraffa, Pasinetti, Steedman, Leontief, and von Neumann all wanted to
>"freeze reality as it is" ??? !!!

Now Jerry I was joking. You know Gary has a piece titled something
Vulgar Economics in Temporal Garb. Of course I do agree with
Schumpeter: a stationary capitalism is a contradiction in terms.  At
any rate, in what way is there in the works of the theorists whom you
mention an implicit or explicit recognition of the dynamics by which
the historically specific production relations that underylay
bourgeois society at its foundation would become anachronistic? In a
Marxist sense, do not these theorists accept the end of history?

>I know Gary and Ajit wouldn't want to "freeze reality as it is." Does
>that mean, according to your perspective, that they no longer
>are advocates of linear production theory?  Or, are they unknowing
>"tools" of the class in decline?

Right on the latter. The surplus approach has been wedded to post
Keynesian ideas about the scope of state management of the economy.
State management is meant to secure the realization of the surplus,
raise productivity and therewith the size of the surplus and
re-distribute the surplus both to solve problems of effective demand
and to ensure "justice". If this is not a reformist program meant to
freeze the underlying relations of production, then what would be? As
I said, at least Bhaduri openly claims that it is a reformist
programme, a programme aimed at a cooperative capitalism. Why should
the Sraffians-Kaleckians pretend otherwise? This I do not understand.
At any rate, the whole social democratic program of which the
Sraffian-Keynesian-Kaleckian synthesis is the theoretical
articulation has died--see G. Moschonas, In the Name of Social
Democracy (Verso, 2002) As I said, the only real role that this
theory now has its critical one against Marx's theory in which there
still remains strong student, journalistic and general interest.
There is no other reason for academic departments to subsidize its
research: most economists blithely ignore the capital critiques and
governments are not seeking left post-Keynesian advisors. The
critique has gone from one of economic theory to a counter critique
of Marxian theory.

As I said, I am all for  reform even as an end in itself as long as
it real and effective , and would be gladdened if the critiques of
Marx are in fact correct.
And  the problem with TSS's reconstruction of Marx is their neglect
of use value. If the quantity of use values represented in the
surplus increases, I see no reason why the rate of exploitation
cannot be so increased and so many new workers  absorbed that the
mass of surplus value continues to grow in absolute terms and perhaps
the rate of profit at the very least not decline. David L. seems to
think the problem with TSS examples is that they set the rate of
accumulation too high; I think the problem is their neglect of use
value. A neglect from which Grossmann did not suffer.

Yours, Rakesh

>In solidarity, Jerry

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