[OPE] Are Regulation Theorists Marxists?

From: Ian Wright <wrighti@acm.org>
Date: Wed Aug 19 2009 - 13:25:09 EDT

> I think this is incorrect. There are Marxist economists that either do not
> bother about the labour theory of value or have abandoned it. For instance,
> Robert Brenner or Prabhat Patnaik.

Then I'd argue that they should not be classified as Marxist
economists. I think this is important. The "core" of Marxist economics
is the LTV.

I'm not suggesting that the work of such authors is either incorrect
or unimportant. My narrow point is that they cannot be classified as
Marxist, much like a biologist cannot be classified as Darwinian if
they reject evolutionary theory.

> Of course, rigid classifications are futile here. But I'd say in general
> that Marxism is a political philosophy that entails two things: subscribing
> to a materialist concept of history and applying this analysis in political
> advancement for the benefit of the oppressed.

I'd argue that historical materialism and the LTV are bound-up with
each other. You cannot pick and mix. The materialist conception of
history is based on the idea that history is law-governed. Ultimately
the lawfulness derives from regularities in how we can organize
ourselves to reproduce our conditions of existence, e.g. Marx's letter
to Kugelman.

> I haven't read sufficient material by the regulation theorists. But from
> what I can recall from Brenner and Glick's article on the topic is that this
> school has a historical-materialist framework although they are not
> necessarily Marxists.

How do they ground their historical-materialist framework with
law-governed regularities without the LTV? I'd be interested to know.

> See:
> Robert Brenner and Mark Glick
> New Left Review I/188, July-August 1991
> <http://www.newleftreview.org/?view=1643>

Hope you are well,
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Received on Wed Aug 19 13:29:22 2009

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