Re: [OPE-L] SV: [OPE-L] SV: [OPE-L] exploitation and abstraction

From: Rakesh Bhandari (bhandari@BERKELEY.EDU)
Date: Sun Jul 01 2007 - 21:21:39 EDT

>Hi Rakesh,
>Thanks for your swift reply, very short:
>i) In my reply to Chattopadhyay, a scholar I admire greatly, I'd say
>that if you want to learn about the USSR in all its complexity,
>you're better of reading Oleg Khlevniuk and R.W. Davies than Marx. I
>don't really care for what a marxist analysis would say, if all it's
>saying is that the USSR was capitalist, state capitalist,
>degenerated state bureaucracy capitalism shaken not stirred.

OK  you don't care. I don't know why.

>  But I think Chattopadhyay goes way beyond this,

How? Or Bettelheim? Yet Chattopadhyay enthuses about Resnick and Wolff book.

>therefore I enjoy reading his work (and I payed good money for his
>book too, you can check amazon for yourself on price ;-)).
>The books by Wolf and Resnick on the USSR get many of the most basic
>facts wrong,

for example. For an empiricist like you I was expecting that you
would mention a basic fact or two and show how they undermine the
theory. So far no argument has been presented.
I also have no idea what you mean by empirics and reality. For
example, you thought the personal idiosyncracies of Kim Il Sung were
important in determining the effectiveness of nuclear deterrence. Is
this what you mean by empirical analysis or thinking for oneself
unencumbered by theories and orthodoxy?

>plus they are poorly written.

even if true irrelevant. Have you read Wolff's regular entries at
mrzine? Are you sure that they are badly written or empirically thin?
I disagree.

>There are reviews dealing with this problem in Historical
>Materialism journal a while ago.

Which problem? I am supposing that you agree with the Martin Thomas
review which I have not studied but what about it do you agree with?

>  I doubt many other scholarly journals even bothered with it.

And if true what would that imply? Again please note that your
replies are hardly arguments. Will we have to list the great books
which have been missed by reviewers?

>This was however just an example I gave. My point is this, if you
>cannot relate theory to reality in a comprehensive way, drop the

Even before reality confirms the theory in a comprehensive way? And
how are theories related to reality? It's all so much complicated
than you seem to think.

>There is nothing ad hominem in this,

I disagree.

>on the contrary, it is the modern marxists who take the truth value
>of premises as given.

don't catch your meaning.

>ii) You write:
>"Wow! Marx applied common sense in the same way that Keynes and
>Friedman did. I am glad that you are using such formulations to
>defend Jurriaan, not me!"
>This is the opposite of what I was saying, which you know, since you
>quote me saying myself that:
>"I am using the concept "common sense" broadly here, and obviously
>not everyone agrees on the ideas of Keynes or Friedman, in fact they
>are opposites, but I am talking here about the development of
>economics as science, not specific arguments"
>That is, a social scientist makes arguments, and if people find the
>arguments convincing, they'll subscirbe to the theory.

Do they subscribe to theories on the basis of arguments which seems
to suggest a rationalist view of science or on the basis of facts
which suggests an empiricist view of science? I thought you were
arguing the latter but frankly I don't know what you are arguing by
invoking common good sense.

>As an academian, you might have heard that the economic departments
>are filled with people who have different ideas, some are
>"Keynesians", some are "neo-classical", some are (a few)
>"Marxists". They all have to defened their theories, and you do so
>with facts and arguments. This is how any science evolves. It has
>nothing to do with my "defence of Juriaan", a person who can speak
>very well for himself. But it is obvious for any child that there
>are different opinions on what constitutes "common sense", and how
>to reach it. I never thought I'd have to state this is so many words.

And your point is...??

>Kind regards,

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