Re: [OPE-L] Michio Morishima, 1923-2004

From: Francisco Paulo Cipolla (cipolla@UFPR.BR)
Date: Mon Mar 28 2005 - 09:01:36 EST

Morishima seems to have showed that Marx´s general law did in fact work
when the organic composition of both depertments grew "more or less
proportionately" (p. 139, Chapter 11, The Reserve Army, in Marx´s
Economics), although it is not that easy to follow his mathematical
steps. It is interesting to note that the full title of the chapter is
The Reserve Army and the falling Rate of Profit, which indicates that he
does not separate the two issues. Marx, as we can recall does not have
the falling rate of profit in his discussion of the general law.
It is also interesting to note that the recent contribution by James
Devine on the topic ("Max´s Law of Capitalist Accumulation Reloaded",
send to us by Jerry) did not reload Morishima´s contributionon the

Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM wrote:

> > Jerry, Morishima was one of the few academic economist (Non
> Marxist)> who considered Marx seriously, even he did not understand
> Marx originality.> On the contrary, he tried to understand Marx under
> neoclassical light. Alejandro: Yes, but Morishima was a curious figure
> who both embraced generalequilibium theory (in fact, maintaining that
> Marx had anticipated Walras!)and was influenced by classical
> theory. Perhaps an explanation for this is to be found in his apparant
> belief ineconomics as a science in which advances are brought about
> throughan evolutionary process.  The more specific context seems to be
> adissatisfaction with the divisions that existed among Japanese
> economists.Thus, he complained (in the 'Introduction' to _Marx's
> Economics_) thatthe two economics associations -- one for Marxian
> economistsand one for non-Marxists -- have never had any "fruitful
> conversationbetween them": "they are at daggers and describe each
> other as a society forreactionaries and a society for economists with
> lower I.Q.s." This made me, upon re-reading it, laugh.  I was reminded
> of RodneyKing's famous rhetorical question:  "Why can we all just get
> along?".The implicit belief behind his book seems to be that if he can
> showthe contribution to thought of Marx in marginalist terms
> theneconomists will appreciate and understand each other better.If he
> believed that, it was a naive belief, imo. It is unclear to me how
> rigorously studied Marx.  He gives Okishioa lot of credit for his
> understanding: "With much help from ProfessorOkishio's books ...I had
> gathered almost all the material for thisbook in September, 1968"
> (Ibid, 'Preface', pp. vii- viii).  He alsothanks Joan
> Robinson. Morishima's writings on Marx seemed to have been welcomedat
> the time that they were first published by many Marxians.  Perhapsone
> explanation for that was that in the context of the period
> _any_sympathetic critique of Marx whether it was written by
> Morishimaor someone like William J. Baumol was welcomed ... by some.(I
> am recalling the reception to which Baumol's reply to Samuelsonin the
> _Journal of Economic Literature_ received.) In any case, Morishima and
> the 'Fundamental Marxian Theorem'have influenced some diverse
> traditions in Marxian theory.  Obviously,he strongly influenced
> Analytical Marxism and Rational ChoiceMarxism, most notably John
> Roemer but also OPE-L memberGil Skillman.    [btw, what has become of
> Analytical Marxism?  Whatare they writing about now? ]    Yet -- after
> pulling some volumes fromone of my bookcases -- I can see that many
> others were influencedas well, e.g.  Arun Bose, Gilbert Abraham-Frois
> & Edmond Berrebi,George Catephores, Karl Kuhne.  [NB:  in almost 10
> years of discussionwe have hardly ever discussed this latter group of
> scholars.  Whatis the reason for that?  Aren't their writings worth
> discussing andevaluating?] One wonders to what extent his goal of
> getting mainstream economicsto take Marx (and Marxians) seriously has
> succeeded.  More successful,it seems, was his attempt to get more
> Marxians to take mainstreamtheory seriously and attempt a 'merge'
> whereby the 'advances' ofmainstream thought would be incorporated into
> Marxian theory. While Morishima didn't originate these theories, I
> think he also has tobe given credit ... or blame ... for perpetuating
> and popularizing*dualism*  and *simultaneism* in Marxian theory. In
> the conclusion of his book, he seeks not to re-cast Marx'stheory as
> marginalism but to bring it up to date with the "vonNeumann
> Revolution."    While Alejandro is right to suggest thatMorishima
> understood Marx "under neoclassical light", he alsoattempted to
> understand Marx under (modern) classical light.  But,are these two
> influences -- Von Neumann and classical theoryand Walras and GET --
> consistently married in the writings ofMorishima? What do you -- and
> others think on the list, believe are the positivecontributions that
> Morishima made to the study of political economy?Negative
> contributions? In solidarity, Jerry

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