Re: [OPE] "an immense accumulation of factors": Rick Wolff's partial list of causes of the economic crisis

From: Gerald Levy <>
Date: Sun Nov 16 2008 - 09:27:31 EST

> If Rick Wolff is left with "an immense accumulation of factors", he is doing no better than
> offering a liberal multi-variate analysis of social problems with a leftist flavour.

Hi Jurriaan:

Wasn't that, basically, the same criticism Paul Mattick (Sr.) made of Ernest Mandel's
theory of crisis?

> I consider that is the direct result of the adoption of Althusserian ideology, in which the factors
> included in an "overdetermined" reality

That could be. I had thought of it myself.

> could be aligned in all sorts of different ways, and the chains of causation could run in all sorts of ways.
> I don't regard this as science, because science aims to devise theory out of a conscientious study
> of experience, which tells us that certain possibilities are ruled out, and that within the frame of real
> possibilities, some variants will occur or are more likely to occur than others. For this you don't need a
> philosophy of determinism, but a study of what determines what. A theoretical interpretation which leads
> to the conclusion that anything can or might happen, depending on how the factors are aligned, isn't
> useful, because it provides no orientation for behaviour, at most it tells us that what will happen, depends
> just on what we choose to do.

Oh, come on. Rick didn't assert "that anything can or might happen". All of the factors which he alluded
to were clearly relevant to the topic at hand. If you don't think so, then please tell us those factors
which he listed which have _no_ relation causally to the current crisis.

> At most Rick Wolff is saying that Marxism contains the possibility for explaining the crisis, but he hasn't
> explained it.

He offered his explanation in the video (and in other places).

> That is like "trying to eat the Marxist cake when you haven't baked it", savouring the subtle nuances of
> flavour and commenting on the ingredients, without knowing how they were combined to achieve the
> gustatory effect.

It's odd that you should mention cakes in this context. Perhaps you are thinking of "Anita's
Chocolate Cake" (a thread we once had in which others, inluding Steve C, and I participated)?

In solidarity, Jerry

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Received on Sun Nov 16 09:29:37 2008

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