[OPE-L:1428] nobody's perfect

riccardo bellofior (bellofio@cisi.unito.it)
Mon, 11 Mar 1996 07:36:00 -0800

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At 4:54 11-03-1996 -0800, glevy@acnet.pratt.edu wrote:

>Does this mean that we should stop using designations like "bourgeois
>economist" or "vulgar economist"? I'm not convinced. If it is a result
>and not merely a pre-supposition of analysis, those terms may still have
>contemporary uses.

Thanks Jerry for the reply. The exchange among us now has reached a
stability result. I agree with your last phrase but, yes, I think that as a
pedagoical device, and as penitence (!), Marxists should stop for a while
using those designations.

>Marx's legacy here is not that clear. Concepts in Quesnay, Smith, Ricardo
>(among others) were incorporated and developed further by Marx in the
>course of critique. Concepts by others, from Malthus and Say for
>instance, were rejected and surpassed in the course of critique (and, as
>we know, Marx was not fond of saying kind words about those two).

I would call the first 'critique', and the second' criticism'. I think they
are different notions in Marxian social science.

> Are
>marginalists more like Malthus than Ricardo (I think so) and does that
>mean that we should deal with them differently than Sraffians (I think so).

Also here the disagreement is clear. I think marginalists have developed
their legacy with more freedom and power than us (the 'others' in all the
different fashions). That Arrow, Hahn, Debreu (& Hicks, Stiglitz, etc.) are
all great theorists. The problem is rather that it is not clear today what
is and what is not marginalism, because the neoclassicals have endogenized
everything (history, institutions, strategic action, class struggle, etc.).
And I think that Marx's (and Schumpeter's) project was just of that kind.

BTW: maybe Marx exagerated what was wrong in Malthus and what was right in
Ricardo. But, as Billy Wilder put it at the end of _Irma la dolce_, with
Shirley McLaine, (I don't know the original title), "that's quite another

In OPE-L solidarity


Riccardo Bellofiore e-mail: bellofio@cisi.unito.it
Department of Economics Tel: (39) -35- 277505 (direct)
University of Bergamo (39) -35- 277501 (dept.)
Piazza Rosate, 2 (39) -11- 5819619 (home)
I-24129 Bergamo Fax: (39) -35- 249975