[OPE] Reply to the thinker

From: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@tiscali.nl>
Date: Thu Mar 12 2009 - 10:28:41 EDT

Well I feel chastened somewhat by your moral lecture Jerry, but I don't think myself that value-form theorists are critical enough. Value-form theory effectively says that Marx is the guru, but actually he was wrong in all the crucial premises of his own argument. That is, Marx is just an "ornament" in their ideation, that is all, Marx is just like one of those taxidermic animal trophies people put on their wall while they get on with the excitements of life, though perhaps reverently the old thing will be dusted off a bit every now and then.

I hold Geert Reuten, Michael Williams and other people like that in high regard, but I don't agree with their Hegelian value-form theory, that is all. They are competent economists, good socialists, I don't deny that. But I don't believe in theories, because of the power and prestige associated with them, or to ingratiate myself, or as a sentimentally cherished philosophy, but essentially because of their truth content. If I encounter a theoretical anomaly, I don't immediately drop my theory, I conscientiously consider whether it is really a problem, how the problem is framed, and what the conditions are under which the problem can be really resolved. But if you like I will drop this dispute for now, until I have finished writing my paper on it. Save to say that throughout the history of civil society, there has always been a workers' theory of work and a bosses' theory of work, and there is nothing so silly as a liberal objectivity which simply consists of conflating the two.

The occurrence of commodity trade in the Aztec empire is welldocumented by contemporary anecdotal and by archaeological findings, do you need me to give you a stack of references? In my studies of state formation I come across quite a few. Of course there are always disagreements among historians, but that is a wet dishrag-in-your-face sort of argument, since the debates rarely concern the "stubborn facts" which all can verify for themselves and all can agree on, but on their relative explanatory significance. And the Aztec trading process is simply a stubborn fact. For example, fish were caught, preserved, and traded over quite some distance.

I never claimed that only Marxist philosophes with half-baked ideas about human labour activities appear rather mediocre against the grand canvas of scientifically studied historical processes - obviously all kinds of people moot halfbaked ideas, which a bit of serious historical research would very smartly correct. Conversely, Marxian scholars also do a lot of great research and demolish halfbaked ideas by others. So I am not trying to witch-hunt anybody, just recommending that we replace philosophical speculations by the known facts of historical experience, where we can. If you have no evidence, you can only speculate philosophically, but if you have evidence, why speculate? Why not reason from the facts available?



Ev'rybody's talkin' 'bout
Marxism, Socialism, Communism, Troskyism, Leninism, Gramsci-ism,
This-ism, that-ism, ism ism ism
All we are saying is give Marx a chance
All we are saying is give Marx a chance

Ev'rybody's talkin' 'bout
Sraffa and Kafka, Leontief, Inputs and Outputs,
Samuelson, Abstract Labor, Bortciewicz, and Stalinists, Bye bye, Bye byes
All we are saying is give Marx a chance
All we are saying is give Marx a chance
(Let me tell you now)
Ev'rybody's talkin' 'bout
Revolution, Evolution, Masturbation, Flagellation, Financial Regulation,
Integrations, mediations, United Nations, congratulations
All we are saying is give Marx a chance
All we are saying is give Marx a chance
Ev'rybody's talkin' 'bout
Jerry and Jurri, Geert Reuten, Philip Dunn,
Paul Cockschott, Goran Therborn, Dave Zacheriah,
Slavoj Zizek, Terry Eagleton, Paul Krugman, Her crashnight
Comrades come rally All we are saying is give Marx a chance
All we are saying is give Marx a chance

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Received on Thu Mar 12 10:32:04 2009

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