[OPE-L:1442] Re: RE: Re: RE: Re: Re: Levels of abstraction

Jurriaan Bendien (djjb99@worldonline.nl)
Thu, 07 Oct 1999 21:04:23 +0100

Thank you Chai-on for your comment. You write:

Building a model in accordance with a given principle is adapting facts
into a given invention, which is not Marx's method.

Clearly Uno's method is not Marx's method, it is Uno's method, and his book
is a reconstruction of Marx's theory. Neverthless and although I cannot say
I am an Uno-ist, I think Uno has valuable and useful insights to offer.
It's very difficult to label yourself these days, and generally I don't
like to label myself because it excludes more than it includes, and
Marxists need more inclusion, not sectarian isolation. But I suppose
essentially I am qua orientation more a "left-wing" neo-Mandelist (but
whether that means anything to anybody else I don't know).

How can we know the dialectical principles are exhaustively discovered from
the beginning?

We cannot know that, anyway it is in my opinion undialectical to know all
the principles from the beginning. The dialectics have to be discovered in
working over the empirical data.

>If the pure theory is the basis for sifting and assimilating historical
material, where does the pure theory come from?

The pure theory is derived from Marx's critique of political economy.

>He sifted and assimilated facts so as to build a pure theory and the pure
theory served as a basis for sifting and assimilating facts?

Yes indeed. We try to arrive at pure abstractions and from there integrate
ever more "layers" of empirical material.

>As far as I know, Uno's work is printed in english by Sakine in a single
book, which must be enough to guess his theory.

Uno wrote more than the principles, and to evaluate Uno properly you have
to consider all he wrote.

>Actually he did tell nothing about the guidelines. The guidelines are to
be from inessential to essential, from insignificants to significants, from
ignorants to knowledge, etc. The true methodology should be the Marx's
investigation method.

The trouble though is that not even Marx was completely clear about his own
method, he just did what he did and innovated creatively. He said once that
he intended to describe his "dialectical method" in a few printers sheets
but he never did that. Even today there is no complete clarity about Marx's
method and there are many views on it. Personally I would not wish to
follow Marx's method in many aspects, because he was so messy and

>Of course, we are inferior to Marx as we are still his students. But we
know the real economy better than Freedmand or Samuelson. They are ignorant
of value, money, state, etc.

I have a somewhat different attitude to "bourgeois" economists. I think
Friedman and Samuelson are very learned men who know much about the "real
economy" from their eclectic perspective. I cannot say I agree with their
essential arguments, but I cannot dispute their devotion to economic
science. Samuelson, though hated by many Marxists, does at least have the
merit of considering Marx seriously, which most economists do not.
Friedman, who was screened on TV in New Zealand during the neo-liberal
revolution since 1985, does at least have the merit of pointing out the
(real or alleged) benefits of capitalism and many economists do not even
know how to do that these days. So if we argue with Friedman or Samuelson,
we have to prove them wrong, not merely assert that "we know things
better". Because really that doesn't convince anybody. What convinces is
cogent argument and hard facts.
Of course, it must be admitted that a lot of economics is only ideology,
and that economists have partisan commitments. So often even the best facts
and arguments will not convince. But we are no different really,
objectively considered. Eventually there must come a time where we "leave
Marx behind" and think for ourselves. We can honour those who have rescued
Marx's legacy, but the important thing I believe is not to be a Marxist but
a socialist or a communist, explaining the limits of capitalism and the
benefits of socialism.



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