[OPE-L] Stiglitz's Marxism...

From: Jurriaan Bendien (adsl675281@TISCALI.NL)
Date: Thu Jan 03 2008 - 14:50:24 EST

Kolkata, November 16, 2007 The Left Front government in the state has often made Nobel Laureate and economist Joseph Stiglitz's scathing criticism of globalisation a weapon to combat India's policies vis--vis economic liberalisation at the national level and to criticise the USA. Stiglitz talks to Aveek Dutta on the relevance of Marxism in today's world, the Indo-US nuclear deal, the issue of land acquisition and much more. 


There is an unusual dichotomy in Bengal at present. On the one hand, the Marxists are trying to attract private capital and talking of setting up SEZs, on the other they are criticising Centre's policies vis--vis economic liberalisation. Therefore, how relevant do you think Marxism is in today's world? 

There are two aspects of Marxism. One is a set of economic theories. One can say that in the past 150 years, economics has progressed and ideas have been built upon and old ideas have been discarded. The particularities of much of Marxian economics are no longer valid. But if you view Marxian thinking as a social critique, which is concerned about social classes and income inequalities, then the problems that Marx was concerned with still exist. In that second sense, the critique is still relevant. 

Marxists in India, especially in Bengal, have quoted from your books to point out that globalisation is not auguring well for India. There seems to be a lot in common in their ideology and the crux of your work. Would you like to describe yourself as a Marxist then? 

I do not know whether labelling helps understand intellectual positions. I have argued that markets by themselves do not lead to economic efficiency. And even when they do, they do not lead to a distribution of income and economic well being that is socially just. What, you may say, distinguishes me from other Marxists, is that these propositions are now accepted by almost all economists. But, of course, there are many politicians who are still riveted to discredited, simplistic theories like that of Milton Friedman, who ignore the limitations of the market. 


Complete text: http://www.expressindia.com/latest-news/Whither-marxism/240265/

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