Re: [OPE-L] Lange's vindication

From: Howard Engelskirchen (howarde@TWCNY.RR.COM)
Date: Sun Apr 22 2007 - 11:07:51 EDT

>You have a Marxist concept, you try to fix its
>meaning precisely, and then you try to establish exactly how it relates to
other concepts.

And then how it relates to things in the world.

This gets the world word relationship wrong.  Logical empiricism tried to
fix meanings first and then look at the world.  The effort collapsed because
science works the other way around.  Meaning has to start with the world not
with fixing the meaning of concepts.  We find out what's out there and
develop concepts to refer.

This was Marx's approach.  He studied the forms of labor and then developed
concepts to refer accurately to the dynamic of their reproduction, viz. the
Poverty of Philosophy:  "Economic categories are only the theoretical
expression, the abstractions of the social relations of production."

Markets will no doubt be with us for a very long time and the investigations
of market socialisms can contribute powerfully to understanding forms of
transition.  But market socialist theory proclaimed as such usually has the
idea that market socialism is forever.  And for that Marx needs correcting.
Marx discovers an underlying social relation that generates markets, money
and the rest, including always forms of private autonomy whether they are
disguised jurisprudentially or not.   Marx's idea is that this social
relation can be transformed and instead that we can arrive at a gathering of
associated workers who bring their common wealth under their common control.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Jurriaan Bendien" <adsl675281@TISCALI.NL>
Sent: Sunday, April 22, 2007 7:02 AM
Subject: [OPE-L] Lange's vindication

> The quote from Oskar Lange is not silly. There is much more to economics
> than Marx accomplished in his writing, and Marx concentrated mainly on
> defining the capitalist mode of production and its long-term developmental
> tendencies (even that he did not finish). It is silly to think Marx had an
> exhaustive theory of capitalism.
> However, actually Oskar Lange himself was also critical of neoclassical
> economics, insofar as it badly defined price behaviour and the human
> response vis-a-vis prices. Lange aimed for an integration of classical
> political economy, which provided theoretical foundations, and modern
> economics, which provided a much more refined knowledge of market
> functioning.
> The trouble with the doctrine of "market socialism" is that it is an
> economic theory only propagated mainly by academics who are not
> It lacks:
> - an assessment and critique of the historical experience of social
> democracy,
> - a profound theory of property rights and law
> - a profound theory of political processes, including bureaucratization.
> - a profound theory of market functioning
> - a profound critique of democracy
> - a profound theory of market functioning
> - a theory of socialist forms of association
> So the "market socialism" is more a slogan touted by academics, than a
> profound theory with substantive content.
> People like Roemer seem to be very "rigorous" theorists, but in reality
> commit very elementary errors in conceptualising even the simplest
> "Analytical Marxism" was originally a product of Stalinists who realised
> that their crude dogmas were absolutely no match for English logical
> empiricism, and then began to apply the tools of British analytical
> philosophy to their beliefs. You have a Marxist concept, you try to fix
> meaning precisely, and then you try to establish exactly how it relates to
> other concepts.
> In the history of Marxism, there is a traditional hostility to markets in
> general. Markets are supposed to be bad things by definition, if Marxists
> are to be believed. Marxists will maintain this, even as they consume and
> enjoy meals, housing, holidays, cars and even yachts bought in markets
> their rich academic salaries. Some Marxists indeed call for "a struggle
> against the law of value" or the "value system".
> But why are markets in general bad? There is no real explanation, except
> that some Marxists reach the conclusion that "direct allocation according
> need is superior and preferable". Now obviously it is true - any child
> this - that if you can get your needs met directly through appropriating
> something for free, this is preferable to having to earn money and going
> a shop to buy something, at least provided that the direct allocation
> less time and is of the same quality and quantity. But if that is all you
> can say about it, it's a very primitive socialism indeed. In fact it is
> socialism at all, but a free rider theory, a theory about how people
> work for you instead of you working for them.
> Jurriaan

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