Re: [OPE-L] Note from Cyrus

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU)
Date: Sat Nov 11 2006 - 11:55:50 EST

>Dr Bina's note is a diatribe against me - bit of a surprise, as I never
>attacked him, and I've really nothing against him or his arguments either,
>which have nothing to do with my dispute with Rakesh. I'm surprised also
>that Jerry would forward this rant to the list rather than to me personally.
>Dr Bina and I do not even know each other, so he's hardly qualified to
>pontificate on my character or lack of it.
>My criticism was directed at Rakesh, who argued that Marx experienced
>something like an "epistemological break" after reading Quesnay, and at the
>idea that the theory of economic reproduction, which shows how the
>capitalist mode of reproduction reproduces its own initial conditions and
>thus perpetuate itself, is the necessary foundation for the explanation of
>economic crises.

Actully my emphasis was not economic crisis, though I do think what
you say is true.  There is nothing manifestly pomo about the idea of
an epistemological break. Our main debate was the six book four book
controversy. The question is whether Marx articulated his basic
theory of rent, the effects of foreign trade on the capitalist mode
of production, the nature of wage labor, and the sources of crisis. I
argued yes, you no. I argued much  empirical research could be guided
by the theory as he completed it.

>I fail to see how talking about oil rents all of a sudden
>illuminates the issue,

No, I did nothing all of a sudden.  You were speaking to Grossman's
theory of foreign trade. I was saying that we can actually make a lot
of headway in the analysis of foreign trade and global pricing if we
do use the theory Marx already completed as laid out by Grossman.
Again I was arguing for the completeness of Marx's theory.

  I  asked the question of what we were to make of the relevance of
Grossman's own Marxian derived ideas about the struggle for the
control of the profits from sale of raw materials. It seems that
Grossman's reconstruction of Marx's analysis of the world market and
foreign trade allowed him to make sense of important phenomena in his
own time.

I then asked what we were to make of  Bina's analysis of oil pricing
which is based on  Marx's more or less completed theory of rent.

I was underlining that Marx's theory had enough completeness,
solidity to guide empirical research.

Why you call this out of the blue or abusively pomo is just plain weird.

>and I suspected Rakesh was just drawing a pomo

Your message read as an attack on the pomo Marxism of Bina and Grossman.
  "Well, I don't really believe in pomo Marxism except as a joke.
You're entitled to your heroes Grossmann and Bina and your own
metaphors of course."

You did not clarify that you were calling my pastiche a joke until
now. So this reconstruction is not easily believable. You seemed to
be bothered by metaphors then and the metaphors seemed to be the ones
I had derived from Bina and Grossman. You did not say that the idea
of an epistemological break was pomo.

Plus, even if you were calling my pomo Marxism a joke, why the harshness?

And why the irrelevant point about the trend of oil prices in your
criticism of Bina? It seemed that you were going after him for no
good reason. Or because he was metaphoric.

>  He corrected me on this subsequently, though failed to explain
>what oil rents had to do with it.

You yourself have wavered on the question of whether Marx completed
his theory of landed property. At one point you said that he had
completed most of the third book, but then you backed down and said
that he only completed part of the first of the six books.

Indeed Marx does seem to have a more or less complete theory of rent,
and that theory can be applied to the analysis of oil pricing and its
effects. Bina has done so.

Nothing in this debate was all of sudden, coming out of the blue.

>If Dr Bina has cogent arguments to offer in criticism of what I have said, I
>will respond to them, it's no problem. If however he only curses and swears
>at me, I see no point in replying, and I don't think swearing and cursing at
>list members is welcome on OPE-L list. There are of course many academics
>who like to flaunt their authority and their important friends, but if they
>are unwilling to debate the issue in clear language, their so-called
>"authority" is suspect.
>Dr Bina can huff all he likes about "our collective reputation", but he
>doesn't do his own reputation any good with his outbursts of vitriol.

How many outbursts has he had? And why the favorable reference to Fukuyama?


>best that proves he hasn't got any cogent arguments to offer, in regard to
>what was being said. My advice is: cool down, cut out the abuse, and don't
>make a mountain out of a molehill.

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