Re: [OPE] Venezuela bans sale of Coke Zero

From: Alejandro Agafonow <>
Date: Sat Jun 13 2009 - 06:35:26 EDT

I disagree with Jerry and Paul.   The case of East Germany is exceptional because it was extremely emotional, given the particular circumstances of common culture, language and territory artificially split. We can also find exceptional periods when liberal institutions hardly stand out, like during the persecution of communists in McCarthy’s era in USA. But we have to consider that the practice of liberal tolerance beyond religious matters was developed relatively recently, though some mechanisms for contestation of executive power go back to 19th Century.   Concerning USSR, we have to remember the difficulties that Evsei Liberman and Leonid Kantorovich faced to develop their theories, facing an intricate net of patronage even to publish. This is particularly striking in the case of Kantorovich given the technical nature of his work. In fact, these and other few soviet scholars enjoyed recognition after the doctrinaire change of the bureaucracy, due to the economic disaster of USSR before the Second World War. Even under these circumstances, it’s hard to say that there was room for free market supporters in USSR. Central planning was an uncontested dogma.   One have to wait for some change in the top to expect some relaxation in the bottom. After egalitarianism was questioned by Raúl Castro in Cuba, we might maybe expect mild changes.   Finally, I’m not going to deny that heterodox economists are underrepresented in western academia, but even radical pro-market economists like the Austrians have faced discrimination, given their methodological approach. And this is not a problem attributed to political institutions, but to a non-pluralistic academic community. Heterodox economists are not kept out because ideological reasons, since there are rightist and leftist heterodoxs, but mainly because of the positivist dogma that reigns in economic departments.   Is there something similar to **university autonomy** and **academic freedom** in actually existing socialisms? I don’t thin so.   Regards,A. Agafonow ________________________________ De: Paul Cockshott <> Para: Outline on Political Economy mailing list <> Enviado: viernes, 12 de junio, 2009 17:42:09 Asunto: RE: [OPE] Venezuela bans sale of Coke Zero You should also take into account that as soon as Germany was unified, there was a wholesale dismissal of Marxist academics from east German universities and scientific institutions. It is also, I believe, relatively difficult more difficult for marxian economists to get faculty positions in the west than it is for neo-classical ones. ________________________________________ From: [] On Behalf Of Alejandro Agafonow [] Sent: Friday, June 12, 2009 11:28 AM To: Outline on Political Economy mailing list Subject: Re: [OPE] Venezuela bans sale of Coke Zero I could build, Jerry, an argument about the centrifugal forces of liberal institutions to support my neutrality thesis, but you are going to disregard it. So, I have to appeal to your personal condition in order to find some evidence of neutrality in liberal democracies. The fact that you are teaching at Pratt Institute in New York and graduated in an elite American university, despite your open hostility toward liberal democracy, demonstrates that this neutrality is not naïve. Your case is matchless in actually existing socialisms. Regards, A. Agafonow ________________________________ De: GERALD LEVY <> Para: Outline on Political Economy mailing list <> Enviado: viernes, 12 de junio, 2009 10:51:00 Asunto: RE: [OPE] Venezuela bans sale of Coke Zero > Why is it so difficult for you to reason in terms of institutional neutrality? Alejandro: Institutions are not neutral. It is the height of naivety to think that they are.  It is the great fallacy of political liberalism. In solidarity, Jerry_______________________________________________ ope mailing list<> The University of Glasgow, charity number SC004401 _______________________________________________ ope mailing list

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