[OPE-L] SV: [OPE-L] SV: [OPE-L] exploitation and abstraction

From: Martin Kragh (Martin.Kragh@HHS.SE)
Date: Sun Jul 01 2007 - 13:21:51 EDT

Re: [OPE-L] SV: [OPE-L] exploitation and abstraction

Hi Rakesh,
Thanks for your swift reply, very short:
i) In my reply to Chattopadhyay, a scholar I admire greatly, I'd say that if you want to learn about the USSR in all its complexity, you're better of reading Oleg Khlevniuk and R.W. Davies than Marx. I don't really care for what a marxist analysis would say, if all it's saying is that the USSR was capitalist, state capitalist, degenerated state bureaucracy capitalism shaken not stirred. But I think Chattopadhyay goes way beyond this, therefore I enjoy reading his work (and I payed good money for his book too, you can check amazon for yourself on price ;-)).
The books by Wolf and Resnick on the USSR get many of the most basic facts wrong, plus they are poorly written. There are reviews dealing with this problem in Historical Materialism journal a while ago. I doubt many other scholarly journals even bothered with it. This was however just an example I gave. My point is this, if you cannot relate theory to reality in a comprehensive way, drop the theory. There is nothing ad hominem in this, on the contrary, it is the modern marxists who take the truth value of premises as given.  
ii) You write:
"Wow! Marx applied common sense in the same way that Keynes and Friedman did. I am glad that you are using such formulations to defend Jurriaan, not me!"
This is the opposite of what I was saying, which you know, since you quote me saying myself that:
"I am using the concept "common sense" broadly here, and obviously not everyone agrees on the ideas of Keynes or Friedman, in fact they are opposites, but I am talking here about the development of economics as science, not specific arguments"
That is, a social scientist makes arguments, and if people find the arguments convincing, they'll subscirbe to the theory. As an academian, you might have heard that the economic departments are filled with people who have different ideas, some are "Keynesians", some are "neo-classical", some are (a few) "Marxists". They all have to defened their theories, and you do so with facts and arguments. This is how any science evolves. It has nothing to do with my "defence of Juriaan", a person who can speak very well for himself. But it is obvious for any child that there are different opinions on what constitutes "common sense", and how to reach it. I never thought I'd have to state this is so many words.
Kind regards,

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