Re: [OPE-L] Charles Bettelheim

From: Howard Engelskirchen (howarde@TWCNY.RR.COM)
Date: Fri Jul 21 2006 - 13:56:59 EDT

Hi Jerry and all,

Others on the list are more knowledgeable about the details of Bettelheim's
life and work, I'm sure, and I would welcome their appraisals.

In the post war period Bettelheim offered an important analysis of the
economy of nazi facism and its significance for capitalism and he
contributed also to third world development studies.  These remained an
important theme throughout his life.  He wrote a book on Indian economic
development and was involved with the development planning of other third
world countries, notably Nasser's Eygpt.  Cuba after the revolution was also
such a country and he contributed broadly to the analysis of socialist
planning and the problems of the transition to socialism.  He wrote on the
construction of socialism in China and contributed to an appreciation of the
place and significance of Mao Tse Tung's ideas to the development of Marxist
Leninist thought.  His small book on The Cultural Revolution and Industrial
Organization in China offers I think still an inspiring glimpse of a
possible future, though I haven't looked at it in years.  He participated in
an important exchange with Paul Sweezy on the transition to socialism which
appeared in the pages of Monthly Review.  His work was practical and
politically engaged and his theoretical contributions came out of, and were
worked out in response to, that practical engagement.  The theoretical
significance of his book on Economic Calculation and the Forms of
Property -- its continuing theoretical significance -- seems to me
underappreciated still.  He contributed also, of course, to an understanding
of the concept of the restoration of capitalism and wrote Class Struggles in
the USSR.  As a young man he lived and studied in the Soviet Union.  His
lectures in Paris in the early 70s were hugely attended and full of life --
they had the feel of a highly original working out of theory in an intensely
political context.  He had an enormous influence on others.

The questions Bettelheim raised seem swallowed by history, but it's
impossible to imagine we're done with them.  We will find ourselves
returning to this body of work, I have no doubt.


----- Original Message -----
From: <glevy@PRATT.EDU>
Sent: Friday, July 21, 2006 10:21 AM
Subject: Re: [OPE-L] Charles Bettelheim

> Hi Howard:
> I'm sorry to hear this news, even though he led a long and full life.
> Thanks for letting us know.
> > He has made an indelible contribution.
> Yes, I'm sure you're right.  But, lest we forget, what were
> those contributions?
> In solidarity, Jerry

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Mon Jul 31 2006 - 00:00:03 EDT