Marx's birthday (fwd)

Steve.Keen at unsw.edu.au Steve.Keen at unsw.edu.au
Fri Apr 28 16:38:58 MDT 1995


Hi Doug,
This is actually also a quick non-list note re my views on Marx's
views (on unemployment, and a lot of other things) being more
Post Keynesian than Marxian.

I don't want to post them to the list (pkt) itself, because they
are based on an argument I'm putting forward to the History of
Economics Society conference this June, and in one sense, it's
highly complicated.

The basic idea is that there are two sets of axioms in Marx, one
which I call the Labor Axioms, which give us the Labor Theory
of Value, and a second set, which I call the Commodity Axioms,
which contradict the LTV and in fact lead to much of what is
now accepted Post Keynesian theory.

The latter set was "lost" to marxism (a) because Marx thought
it was consistent with the former set--in fact he thought it was
a means to derive the Labor Axioms--so having set it out, he
then tended to work in the LA most of the time; (b) the two
sets were in fact contradictory, and Marx's attempt to make
them look consistent was therefore one of the most confusing
sections of Capital (and I have since become aware that most
people skip it--Chs 7&8); (c) the Commodity Axioms were
based on the concepts of use-value and exchange-value, but
after Hilferding's reply to Bohm-Bawerk, the view that use-
value played no part in Marx's logic became the conventional
wisdom.

I've published two papers in the JHET which point out how
erroneous a move (c) above was, and the negative implications--
for what is known as Marxism today. The paper I'm presenting
at the HES gives the positive implications--but they are
positive for Post Keynesianism, not Marxism.

Anyway, if you could work that into your "Happy Birthday"
program, I'd be willing to participate. Maybe it would be
useful if I sent you text of the above paper(s) email,
so you can decide yourself?

This is not so much to beat my own drum, as to give you
an idea of how my arguments have been received by my
peers: the following is a quote from a referee's report
from History of Political Economy (where I eventually
blew publication because I couldn't cut the manuscript
down--it was my Masters' thesis--in time):

"This is a startling, original and extremely important
interpretation of Marx's economics, one which would be
likely to stir a significant controversy. The issues
are subtle, and this surprising thesis might not survive
the onslaught of criticisms it would unleash, but it
would be fascinating to find out if it could..."

Cheers,
Steve Keen
steve.keen at unsw.edu.au
61 2 558-8018


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