[OPE-L:625] Order of enquiry and critique

glevy@acnet.pratt.edu (glevy@acnet.pratt.edu)
Sat, 2 Dec 1995 13:20:58 -0800

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Andrew wrote in [OPE-L:622]:

> Then Marx immediately says, the categories of bourgeois economics consist
> precisely of forms of this kind. They are forms of though which are
> socially valid, and theefore objective, for this historically
> determined mode of commodity production. He goes on to indicate
> that they are not valid or objective for other modes of production.
> Please do look it up for yourself-- <snip>
[The passage you referred to is on page 169, Penguin edition].

How does this passage relate to the following famous passage from the
"Preface to the Second Edition" (Penguin, p. 97)?
"In France and England the bourgeoisie had conquered political power.
>From that time on, the class struggle took on more and more explicit and
threatening forms, both in practice and in theory. It sounded the knell
of scientific bourgeois economics. It was thenceforth no longer a
question of whether this theorem or that was true, but whether it was
useful to capital or harmful, expedient or inexpedient, in accordance
with police regulations or contrary to them. In place of disinterested
inquirers there stepped hired prize-fighters; in place of genuine
scientific research, the bad conscience and evil intent of apologetics."
* Would you not agree that it is important to distinguish between
different schools of bourgeois economic thought in terms of "validity"
and "absurdity"?

* Would you not agree that the "prize-fighter" passage is even *more*
valid today for "mainstream" economic thought (e.g. marginalism,
monetarism)? Are the categories of those schools of economic thought
"socially valid, and therefore objective, for this historically
determined mode of production"?

* What implications does the above have for how we examine and critique
contemporary economic thought?

In OPE-L Solidarity,