jones/bhandari djones at
Thu Apr 13 02:35:12 MDT 1995

Rahul M wrote:
>    I am as hard-headed a materialist objectivist as the next girl or guy.
>This leads me to understand that nothing in the way of Marxist social
>analysis or prognostication can actually pass for science.

In a period of much greater faith in various Keynesian mechanisms to
overcome the trade cycle Paul Mattick wrote Marx and Keynes: the limits of
the mixed economy (Boston: Porter Sargent, 1969).  Recent developments have
confirmed this work as one of the great predictions in social science,
derived solely from the use of an abstract theory.  In an earlier
generation, Rosa Luxemburg, VI Lenin and Henryk Grossmann attempted to
theorize the tendencies towards catastrophe in the capitalist system.  I am
wondering if Rahul thinks that this work, especially as it developed
through criticism, simply cannot pass for science.

Whether there are laws of tendency in Marx, what their status is and of
what their content is are all very important questions in Marxian theory.
Marxian laws of tendency laws work themselves with iron-clad necessity?
What conditions are implicit in them?  What exactly are these laws of
tendency--the fall in the average rate of profit, the increase in the
reserve army of labor, the concentration and centralization of capital, the
increasing misery of the working class?

It seems to me that the best introduction to these questions  remains
Daniel Little's The Scientific Marx (Minneapolis: Univ of Minnesota press,
1986).  Especially on the question of the status of marxian laws of
tendency, see the work of David Hillel Ruben footnoted in Little.  One of
Ruben's most important pieces appears in Marx and Marxism, ed. GHR
Parkinson. Cambridge Univ Press.

I would be interested in what Rahul understood as more successful social
scientific work than that of Marxians.

Rakesh Bhandari

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