[OPE-L:307] Re: INTERIM PROPOSAL [951021]

Michael A. Lebowitz (mlebowit@sfu.ca)
Sat, 21 Oct 1995 15:39:22 -0700

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In message Sat, 21 Oct 1995 10:41:36 -0700, akliman@acl.nyit.edu writes:

> I am against splitting into groups. Those of us who think it is
> important to discuss value theory and "fundamental" issues are already
> doing so with each other; we do not need ope-l for that. Several of us
> would like to involve OTHERS in that discussion; the decade-long silence
> and resistance to this dialogue has made itself felt again. Of course,
> part of the resistance is due to fears that value theory discussions are
> sterile. I spoke to this issue in my reply to Mike L.'s post
> yesterday.
> But I fear that there is also a conservative source of resistance--I
> desire to be fair here, but it seems that some folks are avoiding any
> fundamental rethinking, or contending that it isn't necessary. It is.

It's not clear to me that there is the resistance that Andrew detects.
There may be some scepticism, but I certainly indicated that I was prepared
to be convinced. I agree with much of Andrew's post. I don't think we should
break up into groups both because there aren't enough of us and also because
there are fundamental questions we need to explore relatively early in this
project in order to identify differences. One of those is obviously value,
and another is methodology. These and other questions would emerge naturally
in the course of exploring the early sections of CAPITAL, Vol I, which is
why I prefer this course to any other (including a focus on the order of
enquiry). As I noted a while back, we are not likely to agree among ourselves
on value, but we should explore positions enough to be able to refer back to
them as we proceed further. And, of course, we should do so conscious of our
unity despite our differences, meaning among other things, none of this "if
you say Marx was wrong, it's punch-up time." 8-)
At this point, it seems as if everyone who had something they wanted to
say about the 6-book plan has done so. The main point that emerged in that
discussion was that CAPITAL in itself did not deal with a number of
questions people consider important that fall within the scope of those
other books. We didn't proceed, however, to try to go much
further on this at this point because we're still waiting to find out what
questions people think are important (the list or brainstorming), which is
what Andrew's suggestion is reemphasizing. I personally don't think we can
go much further on the question of extending Marx until we know *how* to
extend Marx, which is a methodological issue that presumably will come up in
the course of discussion of Vol. I. Like Andrew, I'm very anxious to avoid
eclecticism, which is what adding to Marx extrinsically amounts to.
Would an approach of systematically working our way through Vol I at this
point be inconsistent with the critique of political economy approach that
several people have suggested? If so, what exactly is that latter
in solidarity,
Michael A. Lebowitz
Economics Department, Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6
Office: (604) 291-4669; Office fax: (604) 291-5944
Home: (604) 255-0382
Lasqueti Island: (604) 333-8810
e-mail: mlebowit@sfu.ca