[OPE] estimating the severity and duration of a capitalist economic crisis

From: Jurriaan Bendien (adsl675281@tiscali.nl)
Date: Sun Mar 30 2008 - 09:57:07 EDT


I suppose it depends to what Marxian traditions you refer. In order to predict shortterm trends in politics and economics, you have to be very involved with political and economic affairs whether as politician, journalist researcher or economic adviser, and have a lot of experience of these things, or associate with the most farsighted thinkers of the era. 

If all that Marxism can do is to predict that capitalism will go into a crisis, it is just not very interesting, because the purpose of a useful and accurate prediction is to provide an orientation for action. 

Regrettably a lot of Marxism is a more or less quasi-religious, conservative and dogmatic doctrine, and this gets in the way of foresight. It is more a sort of "style" which pretends radicalitywith an arrogant overconfidence, but really isn't radical - it does not go to the root of social problems because it merely asserts a belief system, a sort of faith. 

Most of the Marxists I have personally known weren't really Marxists, but more people who cherished Marxism as an ornament - they like to adorn themselves with the mantle of Marxist orthodoxy, because it fulfils some personal need. I don't particularly like that kind of culture, and therefore avoid it as much as possible; I am more interested in the analysis and prediction of social and human phenomena which affect us all. The problem with dogmatic orthodoxy is really that what the question is, and what the answer must be, is already determined in advance, and therefore you learn nothing new, except perhaps a few details which help to bolster dogmatic orthodoxy. Because you learn nothing new, it also does not help you develop as a person, and appreciate new and different aspects of life.  

Be that as it may, I am also very grateful for having had the opportunity to engage with the kinds of questions that Marx and Engels were concerned with. It helped me to avoid a lot of intellectual traps, and sort the wheat from the chaff, so to speak. 


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