(OPE-L) Re [Jurriaan's] Papers

From: Gerald A. Levy (Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM)
Date: Thu Apr 15 2004 - 06:09:43 EDT

----- Original Message -----
From: "Jur Bendien" <bendien88@lycos.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 !



 --------- Original Message ---------

> DATE: Wed, 14 Apr 2004 15:39:59
> From: "Gerald A. Levy" <Gerald_A_Levy@msn.com>
> To: <bendien88@lycos.com>,<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
> >matter to determine!!!)?   Why -- without resorting to "religion" --
> >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
> >of the facts by economists and social theorists. It was a question of
> >discovering the dialectics in the empirical material and in the evolution
> >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.
> >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

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