Dialectics and complexity

glevy at acnet.pratt.edu glevy at acnet.pratt.edu
Fri Aug 25 19:46:59 MDT 1995

An additional comment:

It is not accidental that we can have a healthy exchange of views with
Steve since, whatever one thinks about the limitations of Post-Keynesian
theory, one must admit that that school of thought at least attempts to
understand the dynamics of capitalism and explores other issues which
have been ignored by neoclassical economists and by many Marxist
economists as well. While Post-Keynesian theory is thus a breath of fresh
intellectual air, unlike the Neo-Ricardians whose intellectual roots
pre-date Marx, it is also a tradition different from the Marxist
tradition. Many Post-Keynesians describe themselves as Marxists and
certainly look at Marx's works in a positive but critical way.  They can
learn from Marx and we can learn, in some cases, from them.

How does one understand, though, the complexity of capitalist economic
relations? What method does one use to analyze topics in political
economy? I continue to believe that Marx's dialectical method allows for
a richer understanding of those processes than do more formal
mathematical methods (whether they are equilibrium or disequilibrium
models) that are so favored by contemporary economists. The
danger is not in straying from Marx but is, through skipping stages in
the process of abstraction, oversimplifying (and, thereby, necessarily
distorting) the reality of capitalism.


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