Date: Fri Oct 26 2007 - 18:56:23 EDT
>But David Laibman's anecdote says it all - and I must add: why did >not Sraffa just state those simple things more clearly in the opening pages. Hi Anders: Perhaps he didn't think it was necessary. I admire a writing style (unlike my own) which encourages the reader to draw her/his own conclusions. It's a good thing, I think, to leave something for the imagination: it encourages critical thinking. > The > intellectual history of the left would have been markedly different. What if Sraffa has said > that Marx needed no corrections at all... If Laibman's anecdote is correct - The anecdote didn't suggest that Marx's book was entirely correct. It suggested instead (as David correctly concluded) that Sraffa thought that he was "working in the tradition begun by Marx". >Sraffa could have written Kliman's book - in a different manner, in a different language, > but with the same basic points. No, Sraffa was too much of a scholar to write that book. In any event, he would not have allow himself to be obbsessed with such a trivial history of thought question: he had bigger fish to fry. >Why on > earth should a man - so well versed in the history of economic >thought write a book, relating so little to the work of other >economists - especially a minor Ricardian like Marx ;-) Why write a >book that do not enter into dialogue with other points of view? My comments made in the previous post (reproduced below) speak to those questions. >Who was in a better >position to write for example about the Ricardo -Marx >relationship - so that Gary and I just could read an analysis >from a man that had spent decades on Ricardo - and probably a >sbustantial amount of hours also on Marx' relationship to Ricardo. Evidently, he thought a critique of marginalism was a more urgent intellectual task since neo-neo-classicism was the dominant (hegemonic) school of thought. He was right. >But still - why such a non-communicative book - after nearly forty >years of silence? I don't think it's correct to say that he was "silent" during those years: he made his views known to colleagues, students, -- even Gramsci -- etc. In any event, his book was written in the context of the "Cambridge Controversy", a debate with which many of the other professors in his department were then engaged. It's hardly surprising, under these circumstances, that he would intervene in that debate. What I do find curious, though, is that no one tried to actually extend the critique of marginalism suggested by his "prelude". Or, did someone do that and I just missed it? In solidarity, Jerry PS: >>I think that's one of its chief advantages. It's concise nature keeps the >>readers' focus on the most important qestions of theory from the author's >>perspective and thus prevents readers from being side-tracked into obscure >>history of thought issues. In any event, this is a question associated >>with the *form of exposition*. One can make no inferences >>about a writer's ability to critique other perspectives and grasp of the >>history of thought based merely on the absence of that material in a >>particular writing. As we all know, one of Sraffa's strong points was as >>a historian of economic thought so his not going into the history of >>thought in _PCBMOC_ shows basically nothing about the author or the book. >I have no time to enter into a discussion of PCBMOC, but I am not at >all convinced by your arguments. The title is a Prelude to the >critique of political economy - and then I expect a bit more about >what is coming next, what is "political economy" Marx, also, was pretty vague about what was coming next. He did refer repeatedly to the 6-book-plan but he didn't exactly produce a detailed outline of the contents of those books. You might recall that the question "What comes next?" was raised in the last chapter of what was later published as Volume 3 of _Capital_. The answer was: classes.
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