Steve.Keen at unsw.EDU.AU Steve.Keen at unsw.EDU.AU
Tue Feb 21 15:41:11 MST 1995

Hans Despain has initiated an interesting discussion on the dialectic
in Marx. He commented at one point that he was "a philosopher
surrounded by economists" (paraphrasing him), and that in the
economic circle he has a hard time convincing anyone that Marx uses

I'm an economist who has always believed that Marx used a dialectic,
but in this discussion I'm likely to be in the reverse situation to
the one Hans described: "an economist surrounded by philosphers".
In other words, I've very strong views about the method Marx used,
but I am now "working backwards" in studying works of philosophy
on dialectics. That means I'm likely to be quite poorly informed on,
for example, Bhaskar's position (I'm currently reading _Dialectic:
the pulse of freedom_); but equally likely to have a strong opinion
on how Marx dialectically analysed the commodity, or how he probably
would have so analysed labor.

With that caveat--and the additional one that I'm working on a
paper for non-marxist (Post-keynesian) economists on my
interpretation of Marx--I'd love to take part in the discussion
Hans has initiated.

One quick comment. Hegel's dialectic, as Hans described it,
appears to be a process of thought. Marx's, as I interpret it,
is more a description of real phenomena. Thus, there IS a
dialectic of commodities; it isn't just a manner of thinking
about them which gives greater insight than not so thinking.

Steve Keen

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