Re: [OPE-L] On inevitability

From: Gerald_A_Levy@MSN.COM
Date: Sun Sep 25 2005 - 09:12:21 EDT

I was in Washington, D.C.  yesterday engaging in some praxis at
a national anti-war demonstration and was only able to read this
exchange between Michael L and Rakesh late last night.

If anyone on the list *other than Rakesh*  wants me to respond
to the content of the following, then I will be happy to do so.

In solidarity, Jerry

----- Original Message -----
From: "Rakesh Bhandari" <bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU>
Sent: Saturday, September 24, 2005 10:19 PM
Subject: Re: [OPE-L] On inevitability

> At 6:46 PM -0700 9/24/05, michael a. lebowitz wrote:
> >At 16:14 23/09/2005, Rakesh wrote:
> >
> >>But this list seems intent on pursuing the discussion of Sraffa and
> >>economics rather than Marx. That was inevitable once an economist
> >>demanded that he remain in charge forever.
> >>
> >>Rakesh
> >
> >         Without in any way granting the premise that any economist
> >made such a demand (something you have raised ad nauseam on this list
> >but without getting any support that I am aware of),
> Yes that you are aware of. Moreover, as I noted, several people
> already quit the list over the question of moderation. So I am not
> sure what you mean by support.  And I still have not raised
> publically the people whom our moderator rejected for admission.
> That is, before he had to justify his decisions to someone else.
> Which (an advisory committee) was imposed on him because other people
> were threatening to leave.
> >  how does having
> >an economist as (non-monitoring) moderator make it 'inevitable' that
> >this list pursues 'the discussion of Sraffa and economics rather than
> >Marx'?
> This is a list run by an economist who has chosen economists to
> advise him. There are few or no geographers, political scientists,
> environmental scientists, sociologists and historians on this list.
> Seriously how are we going to complete Marx's critique with that list
> composition? Especially since the outsiders are almost entirely
> philosophers.
> Moreover, it is economists who think the list should be consumed with
> attempts to annihilate Marx's critique, not complete it.
> So we spoke for years about Marx's mistakes in chapter 5.
> And we have spoken ad nauseaum about dispensability of value theory
> in light of the surplus approach.
> Yet despite the hubris and scientism of the Sraffians and their
> sympatheizers, it is clear that they have no idea what Marx was
> trying to do.
> Take the main questions of chapter one of Capital.
> 1. Why are commodities considered to have the property of value?
> 2. What kind of property is value?
> 3. Why is value expressed in the form which it does take in bourgeois
> These seem to me the most important questions that Marx attempts to
> answer in the first part of Capital; he does not seem to be offering
> a value theoretic explanation for exchange ratios, which even here he
> recognizes are not always perfectly proportional to value though Marx
> rightly insists that prices are a function of value.
> The Sraffians do not even understand the questions that Marx was
> posing, much less his answers. Yet they think they have successfully
> critiqued him.
> I have read quite a bit of the secondary literature, and it seems to
> me undeniable that the best answers ever given to these questions
> were Marx's own. One other serious effort to answer these three
> questions seems to me to have been William J Blake's in Elements of
> Marxian Economic Theory and Its Criticism, 1939. I.I. Rubin simply
> did not handle the third question well. Sweezy's textbook was
> altogether superficial on these questions, but it did so much to make
> the transformation problem the burning question.
> For the economists it does nothing for the scientific reputation of
> Marx to underline that two people who have at least understood Marx's
> questions and his answers are William J Blake and Ranganayakamma.
> It may be embarrassing company for those with scientistic pretensions
> to keep. Note David Laibman's review of Ranganayakamma.
> But the embarrassing thing is the economists' understanding of Marx.
> There are a few exceptions of course. Very few.
> Yours, Rakesh
> >  I think I'm missing something.
> >         michael
> >
> >---------------------
> >Michael A. Lebowitz
> >Professor Emeritus
> >Economics Department
> >Simon Fraser University
> >Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6
> >Office Fax:   (604) 291-5944
> >Home:   Phone (604) 689-9510

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