Re: [OPE-L] If a six turned out to be nine

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU)
Date: Sat Sep 30 2006 - 11:32:38 EDT

1. You dismissed question of relation of Bina's analysis to Marx's
completed analysis of rent as postmodern nonsense. This is nonsense
and bizarre
2. Marx's analysis of the credit system is incomplete. No question
3. Question is not how much Marx wrote about this or that but what
how problems fit into the overall structure and purpose of his work.
About this we need clarity. It's nonsense to dismiss such question as
4. Oakley's attempt to understand how the four volumes stand in
relation to the six volume plan is by far the best analysis I have
read. Itoh's dismissal of Grossman is about three sentences. Mandel
does not understand why HG says Marx's had a theory of foreign trade
in terms of his overall theory of reproduction. You can't refute a
point you don't understand. And Tribe's understanding of HG's
critique of Wilbrandt is no more than a few lines too.
5. Marx did not write a little about foreign trade or wage labor or
crisis or landed property (what do you think he wrote a lot about?).
And quantity does not matter. What matters is whether what Marx wrote
about these topics is complete from the theoretically perspective
from which he wrote. So the question of incompleteness or
completeness cannot be determined unless said perspective is
understood. You are wrong to dismiss the question.
6. Grossman does not use Marx's reproduction schema to show the
possibility of breakdown. He says that Bauer's modified schema does
not disprove the possibility thereof, but he does not say that
Bauer's schema positively proves that there will be a breakdown.
7. My interpretation of Grossman is superior to many others simply
because I do not identify Grossman's theory with his graphic
extension of Bauer's scheme. For example, Grossman did not treat
capitalist luxury spending simply as a residual.
8. Grossman always said that the question of breakdown was a matter
for empirical investigation. So your attempt to dismiss me as
literary and metaphorical is offbase. I have never denied central
importance of empirical work, and I have followed it closely even
while I have not done it (though your posts are too scattered for me
to follow).  Neither did Grossman deny importance of empircal work.
But in this sense Grossman's work is irrelevant, but not Moseley's,
Shaikh and Tonak's, Webber and Rigby's, Edward Wolff's.
9. How do you define accumulation? How does Marx define it? How is it
defined in the national accounts?
It's you who I think is being very unclear.
10. Your statement that I want to supervise Marxian theory is again bizarre.


>>Do note how superficial our discussion has been. But so are for the
>most part the works we have cited: Rosdolsky, Tribe, and Itoh.
>Oh I don't think Rosdolsky, Tribe, and Itoh are superficial at all. But the
>relationship between the original plan and the changed plan is something
>which we can argue about forever and a day, it's a superficial debate. It is
>important I suppose, if one really wanted to write the missing volumes as
>Marx would have written them, but in that case the most convincing thing
>would be to actually write those volumes, which I invite you to do with all
>your literary expertise. I think Marx's discussion of competition, the
>credit system and share capital is very inadequate. And as I said, he wrote
>little about foreign trade or the world market. He also wrote little about
>>My point: Grossman's argument, whether correct or not, has not been
>well understood.  Including by Tribe who defends it!
>Well actually Jairus Banaji did not even translate the whole book by
>Grossmann. Grossmann can also be interpreted in different ways. There is for
>example the Yaffe reading, the Bhandari reading, the Mandel reading, the
>Trigg reading and so on. It's the same thing with the Bible.
>>Well I think even Doug Henwood now admits that corporate insiders had
>not lost all power. The question of the relation between financial
>and industrial capital is much more complicated than this.
>No doubt it would take a whole book to do justice to the topic. I was not
>talking at all about power-relationships in the capitalist system. I was
>talking specifically about the ownership of capital assets and their overall
>distribution according to type.
>>In that book Melman was most interested in the effects of military
>spending if I remember correctly, not the hyper trophy of the
>financial sector. You are misusing the title.
>This is nitpicking, I was only trying to highlight the concept denoted by
>Melman's title, i.e. the fact that you can make profits without production,
>which your Grossmanite theory denies the implications of. It is true that
>Melman was mainly concerned with the military-industrial complex in his
>writing. His concern was with the growing neglect of US manufacturing and US
>infrastructure ("the productive base"), in favour of "means of destruction"
>and paper-pushing. See for example
>Part of the military sector is production, part not production.
>>have you read Grossman?
>Sure. But contrary to you, I'm not a Grossman fetishist. There will always
>be academics who argue along the lines that "only if you climbed up to the
>top of my totem pole, you would be able to see the truth" but I don't
>believe them. Grossman's writing is sufficiently general to permit of all
>kinds of interpretations, but as I said his central claim is that
>overaccumulation of constant capital in production causes the breakdown of
>the system, and that is precisely what I contest, simply because production
>is not the only source or repository of capital accumulation (though, in the
>last instance, the total stock of real wealth must grow to secure all the
>financial claims made on it). It seems that you don't understand my argument
>at all however. It's just Grossmann, Grossmann, Grossmann, etc. etc.
>>What is the relationship between this point and the following
>There is no immediate and direct relationship, I was describing only some of
>the main trends, from the point of view of changes in the distribution of
>capital assets in the total accumulation process. I suppose you could say
>there is a relationship, since capitalisation of appreciating real estate
>values provides the aggregate demand for expanding imports.
>>again how do you think this kind of deindustrialization speaks against HG?
>I don't really subscribe to the thesis of deindustrialization, among other
>things because, even if the relative importance of manufacturing is
>declining, the industrialization of services is occurring. I was referring
>to the relative and absolute growth of physical and financial capital assets
>existing external to the sphere of production, invalidating Grossman's
>reproduction schemes and specific breakdown arguments.
>>a critque of HG? exactly the point that accumulation was not restored
>with a continuous attenuation in s/v.
>Again you are using the term "accumulation" in a general way, without
>knowing what you are talking about. The growth in real terms of fixed
>investment in production was reduced in the OECD, but this did not mean at
>all that accumulation stopped, that is the point. As I said, Grossman
>believed the system would break down through the overaccumulation of
>constant capital and insufficient new surplus-value produced, but it doesn't
>break down, and if it has broken down, it is not for those reasons. He has a
>caricatured view of the reproduction of total social capital. Once we
>abandon the Marxists to their literal dogmas, and focus on the facts about
>capital ownership in the modern world, that becomes perfectly obvious. As
>Makoto Itoh notes clearly, the  law of the TRPF "cannot show in itself at
>what point of the process a clear limit to capital accumulation causes a
>periodical crisis to appear" (op. cit., p. 294).
>>You can't seriously mean this as a critique of HG? You don't seem to
>realize how much your vision has been formed by his work, perhaps as
>mediated through Mandel.
>In my student days I was influenced by Mandel, who explored what happens
>after a Grossmanite breakdown and why, but I don't refer much to Mandel
>these days. Mandel thought more deeply through the implications of
>Grossman's analysis, and wrote a Phd thesis about it, concerned primarily
>with Grossmann's "modifying influences" counteracting the tendency of the
>average rate of profit to fall (though most Marxists, insofar they had read
>or understood his Phd thesis at all, missed that point). Mandel notes that
>Bauer, Hilfering, Luxemburg, Grossmann, Moszkowska and Bukharin etc. all
>tried to investigate the dynamics of capitalism and economic crises using
>the reproduction schemas, but for that reason failed, because the
>reproduction schemas were not really intended for that purpose. At best, the
>reproduction schemas could demonstrate various possibilities for economic
>disproportions developing in the system. More profoundly, we could say that
>the theories of these Marxists were still strongly influenced by bourgeois
>equilibrium theories. Although Mandel raised the discussion to a higher
>level, I think there's also a lot of problems with Mandel's analysis as
>well, so I do not refer to him much.
>Rakesh, you are a fellow who evidently sees himself as a connoiseur of
>Marxian literature, and you would like to supervise the further development
>of Marxian thought. But I think it cannot be so supervised, and I cannot
>spent more time on this discussion now.
>PS - I am aware that Cyrus Bina is not a pomo Marxist.

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