Re: [OPE] CAPITAL AS POWER: free PDF download

Date: Tue Nov 30 2010 - 17:03:40 EST

> As you know, ever since the birth of political economy, a major reason
> given for the rejection of a labor theory of value is the theoretical
> mismatch between certain kinds of prices and labor values. The
> disintegration of the first Ricardian school in the 19th Century is
> the first example.

Hi Ian:

You really think the Ricardian School disintegrated for THAT reason?
Actually, I can't think of any school in the history of political
economy/economics which disappeared because of a logical problem/issue.
It would be helpful, > I think, to take a more materialist perspective
on the history of thought - and to recognize the crucial role that
class and class struggles played in shaping changes in economic perspective.

> The upsurge and collapse of interest in value
> theory in the 1970's and 80's is another example. I did not live
> through these events but I have read multitudes of papers and books,
> especially from the 70's and 80's, where otherwise progressive
> theorists openly reject Marx's value theory due to the TP.

I dispute that. If you listen carefully to what they wrote, their reasons for
rejection of value theory were not primarily due to the TP - and, I guess I'm
older than you - I did live through those debates.

> Where did I argue that there should be a "focus on the TP"?

OK, you didn't say that.

> But more seriously, there is and will be a renewed interest in
> Marxist theoretical ideas because of the crisis. Some workers,
> intellectual and youth are very interested in deeper issues of
> economic theory and therefore encounter the usual criticisms of the
> labor theory of value.

Well, what they are largely asking about are Marxian explanations for the
crisis. Don't you agree? I certainly don't see evidence of a renewed
interest in the TP among people who were not already interested in that

> Do you think working people are not interested in economic theory?

Of course they are - but I talk to other workers to find out more
specifically what in economic theory they are interested in. No one has yet
told me the TP. do you think I'm talking to the wrong workers?

> Do
> you think all Marxists should drop all theoretical work and "focus" on
> issues raised by workers "in the street"?

no, but ... !BASTA! Isn't 120 odd years talking about the TP enough???

Maybe there's a social psychological or cultural explanation that needs
developing: e.g. writing an article on the TP might be viewed as a
"rite of passage" for young Marxian scholars?

Interestingly, those who have written about the TP - for the most part
- don't continue to work in that area. Anu moved on. David L moved on. Duncan,
Gerard, and Dominique moved on. Bruce and Hans moved on. Even (thank the
Lord!) Andrew K has begun to move on. Steedman and other critics have
moved on. Most of the forenamed scholars will tell you, frankly, that the TP
debate just isn't very interesting.

In solidarity, Jerry
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Received on Tue Nov 30 18:06:40 2010

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