[OPE-L] Publishing and selling books on political economy

From: Jurriaan Bendien (adsl675281@TISCALI.NL)
Date: Fri May 26 2006 - 08:30:25 EDT

The question is not really whether Sam Bowles is an authority, but whether
he is correct. Specifically, as I recall, Sam said that that there was
overall little creative happening in Marxism these days, i.e. in Lakatosian
terms the positive heuristics of its research programme are not very strong.
I think Sam Bowles is a creative thinker, and so is Christian Girschner,
though I do not necessarily agree with them about everything either.

Nitzan & Bichler specifically say: "Marxism in the early twenty-first
century is very different from the work of Marx. Marx's research was novel,
scientific and revolutionary; the texts of many Marxists today (although by
no means all) are recycled, dogmatic and often anti-scientific. Marx was
sure of his theory and confident of its political potential; many Marxists
today doubt their theory and accept its political impotence. Marx continued,
till his death, to develop his labour theory of value, to study the
dialectical history of capitalism, to broaden his horizons; many of his
followers, who already know it all, have given up on new research in favour
of reproducing old-new slogans. Marx tried to understand reality in order to
change his world; many Marxists today ignore reality in order to defend
their faith. Unlike the Marxists, Marx was never a Marxist. He wouldn't
force himself into a box. In contrast, many of his followers swear by an
oxymoron: the "Marxist tradition."
Source: http://www.swans.com/library/art12/nitzan01.html

I've sparred a few times with Jonathan Nitzan since (1) I think Marx's
theory of value still holds water, and he thinks it doesn't, (2) whereas he
thinks price relationships express power relationships, I think they often
don't - I think that the power theory of prices is often a phlogiston theory
of prices.

As for my own position, I am of course totally biased because, whatever my
admiration for Marx & Engels, I don't believe in "Marxism" (I am of course
sympathetic to the ideas of some Marxists, but that is because of the
content of their ideas, not specifically because they are Marxists).

I could be wrong, of course... but I'm not swayed by appeals to authority,
but by cogent argument and evidence.


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