[OPE-L:3156] RE: "orthodox" Marxism

Fred Moseley (fmoseley@laneta.apc.org)
Thu, 26 Sep 1996 22:17:13 -0700 (PDT)

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Thanks very much to Riccardo and Jerry for their stimulating comments on
"orthodox" Marxism.

Riccardo commented:

One may think that Marx's train of though *had* some logical flaws; that
they were serious *enough* to prevent the possibility that his argument
may be simply restated; but not *so* serious that the whole building
crumbles down.

Is this hypothetical person orthodox or heterodox?

I see the point. Obviously there will be a wide range of opinions regarding
the seriousness of the logical flaws in Marx's theory, so where does one
draw the line between orthodox and heterodox?

I guess where I would draw the line is whether or not one accepts the labor
theory of value in one form or another, in contrast to the neo-Ricardians
and others who reject the labor theory of value. Then the difference
between the "old" orthodox and "new" orthodox Marxists would be that the
latter is more interested in a more thorough reexamination of Marx's theory
and do not accept the currently dominant neo-Ricardian interpretation in
terms of linear production theory. At the EEA, I called Laibman an "old
orthodox Marxist" because he accepts the fundamentals of the neo-Ricardian
interpretation, but he does not see the criticisms that follow from this
interpretation as sufficient reason to reject the labor theory of value.

At the same time, I also see the point raised by both Riccardo and Jerry
about the inevitable connection of the term "orthodox" with the Second and
Third International, which I certainly don't identify with. So maybe they
and Andrew are right that it is better not to use these terms. But it
would probably still be useful to have a shorthand label to distinguish
between those who accept the labor theory of value and those who do not.

Thanks to Riccardo also for correcting my spelling of Grossmann (I remember
with embarrassment misspelling Riccardo's name one time on ope-l). As a
native-speaker of the imperialist language, I am certainly guilty of the
neglect of other languages. Although I am being to learn otherwise as a
result of my experience in Mexico.

I also agree whole-heartedly with Riccardo's suggestion to try to find ways
to translate more non-English Marxian works into English. As Riccardo
knows, this is the main purpose of the "International Journal of Political
Economy". I asked Riccardo a year or so ago to put together an issue for
this journal of classic but unknown in English works of Napoleoni and other
Italian Marxists, and that should be out soon. I am on the Ed Board and
Paul Mattick, Jr. is the Chief Editor. I am sure that Paul would be
receptive to further suggestions that others might have. I am working now
on an issue of Dussel's works. One problem with this journal is that it is
very expensive ($260/year), because the translations are expensive, so that
it is really only for libraries. Maybe list-members could try to have their
libraries subscribe (address: M. E. Sharpe, 80 Business Park Drive, Armonk
NY 10504). But I think we should also try to find other outlets to have
these translations published. It of course will not be easy. The market
right now is not very big.