Re: [OPE] Advice to a postgrad

From: Alejandro Agafonow (
Date: Fri Jun 27 2008 - 16:36:22 EDT

Dear Dogan:
Concerning Market Socialism, I’m going to consider seriously your criticism once you face it with theoretical arguments. But you have not to be a market socialist to think that Cuba is a dictatorship.
From a theoretical point of view, it is enough to compare the weak constitutional programme of Cuba with the landmark of a theoretical model.
For example, Cottrell and Cockshott’s model conceives political groups competing for votes upon alternative plans. Once settled the planning apparatus and the constitutional programme (another thing is how they get accepted this programme), there is not a group monopolizing power.
Just the opposite happens in Cuba and it is shocking to see leftist scholars denying this. To support the benevolence of the Cuban regime, you have to rest upon a cult to personality and the alleged generosity of Fidel Castro, like Martha Harnecker does indeed.
It is an insult to rational human beings!
Kind regards,
A. Agafonow

----- Mensaje original ----
De: Doğan Göçmen <>
Enviado: viernes, 27 de junio, 2008 20:41:30
Asunto: Re: [OPE] Advice to a postgrad

Sincerely, I think that Cuba is even worse than Venezuela on these matters. The reason is evident. It has an enduring dictatorial tradition.
Well, action requires direction. I understand your complain. But it is not a surprise to me that you from your neither-nor position between capitalism and socialism (market socialism is nothing but this) see in Cuba dictatorship. Yes, dictatorship, but whose?, ths is the question.


Doğan Göçmen
Author of The Adam Smith Problem:
Reconciling Human Nature and Society in
The Theory of Moral Sentiments and Wealth of Nations,
I. B. Tauris, London&New York 2007

-----Ursprüngliche Mitteilung----- 
Von: Alejandro Agafonow <>
An: Outline on Political Economy mailing list <>
Verschickt: Fr., 27. Jun. 2008, 20:27
Thema: Re: [OPE] Advice to a postgrad

1) Jerry, good libraries and theory in general have to be more important things for scientific Marxist. Praxis is important if you, in addition, militate. But without good libraries and theory you only would be able to produce works like: Clacule économique.
I share the complaining of the lack of methodological pluralism in advanced capitalist world, but at universities like the recently founded and personally supported by Hugo Chávez: Universidad Bolivariana de Venezuela things are even worse. There is not political pluralism and patronage and cronyism make that though sharing political values, some people are victims of “witch hunting”.
A close friend of mine, which is pretty much to the left of my Market Socialist position, was a victim of these usual purges.
2) You are right concerning affording tuitions before having access to libraries in SOME capitalist countries.
3) The only complain I have about these world rankings, is their English language bias. For example, the citation journals used to build the rankings are shockingly English.
Nevertheless, we have to recognize that the more developed scientific editorial world is the English one. But some none Anglo-Saxon countries have successfully entered this market, like Netherlands.
I have been scanning the scientific editorial world in Spanish to propose in the near future my PhD dissertation and it is astonishing closed. There are few open channels to make propositions (The literature editorial world in Spanish seems to be more developed).
 Sincerely, I think that Cuba is even worse than Venezuela on these matters. The reason is evident. It has an enduring dictatorial tradition.
Kind regards,
A. Agafonow

----- Mensaje original ----
Para: Outline on Political Economy mailing list <>
Enviado: viernes, 27 de junio, 2008 19:20:19
Asunto: RE: [OPE] Advice to a postgrad

>Action is good but concerning Science, good libraries and a pluralist environment are even better. 
Alejandro A:
For a Marxian, praxis should be more important than a good library.
There are only a handfull of colleges globally where the economics 
departments could be legitimately described as being as being 
"pluralist".  As far as I know, there is not a single economics 
department in the advanced capitalist world in which the economics of
socialism is an area of  specialization. 
> Unfortunately, you can not find either of them in Venezuela today. 
Oh, I think there is much more pluralism in Venezuela than
you recognize! I'm not sure about the situation with libraries,
though. But, at least the _people_ can use university libraries
in Venezuela as opposed to the situation at most of the elite
colleges in the 'North' where you first have to afford the 
tuition before you are allowed access to university resources.
> We don’t even have a single university among the best 500 in the world.
I just looked at that listing. It is shockingly US- and Euro-Centric.
> In addition, as non English speaking political economist I recommend to take advantage of the dynamism 
> of the English speaking scholarly institutions. 
There is more dynamism in a day in Venezuela than in a year 
at an elite college in the West.  There is a tremendous amount of 
dynamism in Cuba today as well. 
Dynamism is what students have when they enter graduate school
in the West. In the course of their studies and experience, it is 
generally shaken out of them.
In solidarity, Jerry

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