From: Gerald A. Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Thu Apr 15 2004 - 06:09:43 EDT
----- Original Message ----- From: "Jur Bendien" <email@example.com> Sent: Wednesday, April 14, 2004 10:50 PM Subject: Re: (OPE-L) Re [Jurriaan's] Papers Hi Jerry, I certainly endorse your approach, it seems very reasonable to me. I have had a good contact with Geert Reuten whom I respect greatly - but in fact I think his best work wasn't his book on value-form theory but his critique of income distribution in The Netherlands and his analysis of the stratification of fixed capital. He really does have a great knowledge of economics, you know ! I haven't really got round to Hegel and dialectics yet in depth, that will have to wait until some other problems are solved first. I think OPE-L list is wonderful and I have learnt a lot from it. <snip, JL> Of course, if you post my mails to you personally, that's up to you - but I am [not] saying that you have to, obviously. Some people think that in our digitalised, globalised world, Marx has become irrelevant other than as a cultural sign, but in truth I don't believe that is true. I wish you and OPE-L members only the very best ! Regards Jurriaan --------- Original Message --------- > DATE: Wed, 14 Apr 2004 15:39:59 > From: "Gerald A. Levy" <Gerald_A_Levy@msn.com> > To: <firstname.lastname@example.org>,<OPE-L@SUS.CSUCHICO.EDU> > Cc: > > >Hi Jurriaan: > > > >> You might argue that mentioning papers I haven't even > >> completed yet is a bit fraudulent of me to do, <snip> > > > >Not at all. I can appreciate satire -- providing I recognize it > >as satire. > > > >> Although I am very interested in Marx from the point of view > >> of social science, I personally reject the very idea of "Marxism", > >> because this transforms Marx's critical-scientific and philosophical > >> thought into an all-encompassing ideological system or cosmology, > >> which stifles individuality and innovation and can lead people to try > >> an impose ideological or political systems on others which disrespect > >> or violate the real natures of those people. So I think you can be a > >> socialist or communist etc. but being a "Marxist" typically causes > >> attempts to reconcile the irreconcilable, and a form of thinking which > >> is no different from religion, except that religious people normally > >> exhibit healthier forms of association. I accept though that this is a > >> minority viewpoint and that there are many self-styled "Marxists" > >> who do perfectly good research or pursue a successful politics with > >> honorable motives. > > > >I will not quarrel with your refusal to be designated as a Marxist, but > >will instead note that you go on to write (in the very next paragraph): > > > >> As regards value-form theory, I think it offers some important insights > >> but really I don't think it reflects what Marx really intended. > > > >There's the (satirical?) rub, in my view. It's easy enough to write that > >one isn't a Marxist. It's quite another thing for those who have been > >influenced by Marx's writings and praxis to _not_ argue from authority. > > > >*Even if* (for the sake of discussion) it is the case that VFT does not > > reflect "what Marx really intended", so what??? > > > >So what if a theoretical perspective does not proceed in the way in which > >you or some others believe Marx "really intended" (as if that were an easy > >matter to determine!!!)? Why -- without resorting to "religion" -- should > >this be viewed as a legitimate critique of a (in this case, VFT) > >perspective? > > > >The issue shouldn't be whether one wants to call one's self a Marxist, > >a radical economist, or whatever. The issue is whether one takes a > >*genuinely* critical stance towards the subject matter. To do the latter > >requires that one move beyond a critique of political economy, the > >marginalists, heterodox economists, and (even) Marxists of various > >stripes and hues. It requires that one subject *Marx's own writings* > >to critique. > > > >De omnibus dubitandum. > > > >In solidarity, Jerry > > > >>>> Value-form theory really suggests to me an inability to apply Marx's > >research method and that it "Hegelianises" Marx's method in an erroneous, > >idealist way. Marx suggested that inquiry must proceed both through an > >empirical analysis of the facts and through criticism of the interpretation > >of the facts by economists and social theorists. It was a question of > >discovering the dialectics in the empirical material and in the evolution of > >interpretations of that empirical material. Only then could the > >subjectmatter be dialectically represented. However, what the value-form > >theorists try to do is to derive and develop concepts and analyses from > >Marx's value theory in a way which only provides a social phenomenology. The > >result is that either the empirical analysis doesn't conform to Marx's > >concepts, or that theorising is done which has no empirical content. But > >that just suggests that Marx's theory cannot be applied to real experience.
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