[OPE] the erudite scholar on the not so clearly Minskian moment in 2007

From: Jurriaan Bendien <jurriaanbendien@online.nl>
Date: Mon Dec 13 2010 - 21:50:04 EST

Thank you Riccardo for your comment. I stand corrected by what you say. I
thought that you had missed the wood for the trees, but I had missed the
trees for the wood.

I can only conclude, that when you provided a precis of a complex
subjectmatter in fifteen minutes or half an hour or something at the HM
conference, I simply failed to get the main point, though I strained to
understand what you were saying. That is, I really misunderstood what you
tried to say at the conference, and thus formed the wrong impression,
creating my own disappointment, which really had nothing to do with you, but
with my own state.

I was unhappy at the time with the format of the conference, as an exercise
in communication and social interaction, and in fact I left early. I felt
practically much more time and space was needed to expound and discuss the
individual topics properly, to assimilate the message properly. We were sort
of squeezed in a stuffy room with time-compressed presentations, then there
followed the typical long Trotskyist monologues about the class struggle
from members of the audience, and somebody who came all the way from Germany
or somewhere could hardly get a seat. In fact I gave my seat up for somebody
else, who arrived late.

Perhaps, if I had done all the relevant reading to which you refer, I might
have understood more accurately why you placed the emphasis and nuance where
you did. But I am simply not familiar with a good part of the readings you
cite; I am not a professional economist fully on top of all the scientific
literature on this issue. So anyway the criticism I had is misplaced, and I
have my homework to do. And frankly I better do that homework, before
shooting my mouth off again about this.

That being said, I would like to thank you sincerely for your extensive
commentary just given, which is very helpful to me, and I would like to say,
that I do seriously regard you as an "erudite" scholar, just like e.g. Steve
Keen whom I also have differences with; that was not a tongue in cheek
comment, but a fact to me. An erudite man is a man of great knowledge and
learning, someone of intellectual depth, and I do think you really are that,
you have that. Somewhere around the house, I still have your visiting card,
though I haven't made it to Bergamo yet (anyway, at present I am simply not
very interested in the Sraffian economics part of your vast intellectual
repertoire, more with Marx, Minsky, Toporowski etc.).

In my own defense, I might say that my experience is, that even very erudite
scholars (including Marx etc.) can sometimes also be mistaken or
wrongheaded. This does not make them any less erudite, but, well, if there
is really a fault in an idea, then that is the case, that is the reality. It
is good critical-scholarly practice to point that out with proofs, if you
can prove it, but of course, you should also do it with due professional
respect, and with the correct motivation (in the right spirit): the
advancement of scientific knowledge, the search for truth, not petty
one-upmanship. Plus, of course, if you can't prove it yet, you should be
appropriately cautious in your commentary.

I was evidently far too provocative in what I said, but I consider myself to
have got off lucky, because you have in response generously provided a
commentary that actually clarifies a great deal about what I have been
wrestling with myself. And I and others can learn from that, and be inspired
to apply ourselves more, and master the theory better.

Thank you for your intelligent response to an unintelligent provocation.


PS - I think a bit different about "firm's leverage" than you do, but
perhaps there is an opportunity one day when I feel confident enough to
present something about that.

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Received on Mon Dec 13 21:52:02 2010

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