From: Howard Engelskirchen (howarde@TWCNY.RR.COM)
Date: Thu Sep 08 2005 - 00:26:40 EDT

Back a while ago Jerry asked how we could celebrate 10 years.

This occurred to me.  Perhaps we could use the 10th year to prepare a celebration for the end of the 10th year.  

A conference would be good.  London/Brussels, etc.  

There could be some papers, but I think more powerfully there could be a more or less prolonged, sustained and focused seminar exchange -- in other words, people talking back and forth with one another.  It should be videotaped and should have the kind of educational value that Ian describes for the archives in his post below.  

Subcommittees could work to develop the seminar format, e.g. a series of motivating questions, a series of proposals for intervention by means of short papers presenting conflicting positions, and proposals also for major paper presentations.

Themes should cover controversies that have shaped O-PEL.



  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Ian Wright 
  Sent: Wednesday, September 07, 2005 4:47 PM

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

    *    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 better.

    *     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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