From: Ian Wright (iwright@GMAIL.COM)
Date: Wed Sep 07 2005 - 16:47:18 EDT

Happy birthday to the list, and thanks to you Gerry for your continuing 

* Have you benefited from your membership in OPE-L? If so, how?

I read the archives before joining -- they're a great resource for people 
like me who need to get up to speed on the state of Marxist political 
economy. At best, it can sometimes function like a virtual faculty. It has 
allowed me to learn from others.

I like to test out ideas on OPE-L in the hope of getting some feedback. 
Doing this, however, requires overcoming the embarassment of being wrong or 
mistaken in public. 

Marxist political economy, especially in the USA, is a minority game. Hence 
it is even more important to ignore physical location and exchange ideas and 
work together online.

* What were the most enlightening, memorable, and/or worthwhile
> discussions that we have had?

I particularly enjoyed reading the earlier debates between TSS and 
simultaneous determination. I thought they were important, but unresolved. 
They were sometimes very bad tempered too, which, I have to say, makes for a 
more entertaining read.
* What suggestions do you have about how the list can be improved?

I personally think it is a strength of the list that the perrenial topic is 
value theory, and that's nothing to apologise for. There are plenty of other 
venues for discussing other things. But, empirically at least, there is less 
discussion on linking value theory to empirical data and economic events.

I think critical voices are vital to the health of the list, to avoid 
degeneration into mutual agreement. That's why I think Ajit's contributions, 
for example, are especially important and welcome.

I'd like more voices on the list who have a good understanding of value 
theory, but are critical of it, just to keep us on our toes.

I'd encourage some of the giants who are out there, some on list, some off, 
but don't contribute so frequently to please get involved and raise the 
level of debate.

In the future, the list should become a virtual school for Marxist political 
economy: a hub for homepages, including free access to papers, film and 
audio lectures; also free course materials for teaching Marxist political 
economy to students in political organizations and universities. 

Also, I'd like to see more formal collaboration on projects. For example, 
there is a "labor theory of value" FAQ that does the rounds on the internet. 
Together, the members of OPE-L could produce similar materials, but of much 
higher quality. 

I am not happy that most work in Marxist political economy is done 
individually or in very small groups: I would like to see the production of 
collaborative documents with many tens of authors.

However, I'm aware that this is difficult to organize, and everyone is very 
short of time. The wikipedia model of collaborative authoring might be a way 
around this.

Collaboration is much more difficult, but the results are almost always much 

* What topics should we discuss as a group that we either haven't
> discussed yet or haven't given adequate consideration to?

I think spending time reading particular papers in detail is a good idea (
e.g., like the previous experiment with Paul's paper).

Best wishes for the next ten years,


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