Samuelson on Marx and the Transformation Problem

glevy at glevy at
Mon Jul 3 16:56:58 MDT 1995

Doug asks an important question below.  My answer is:  yes, it does
matter.  Value theory as a part of political economy matters because it
relates to such important other questions (at other levels of analysis)
as ... where have we been?... where are we now? ...where are we headed? ,
etc.  Value theory, it's true, tells us nothing about political tactics or
strategies ... but it is an essential *link* in a critique of capital and
the "laws of motion" of capital.

I can, however, relate to Doug's gripe because this discussion can get
boring, repetitive, academic and, even, mathamatical.  Not every Marxist
should be a student of political economy -- if that were the case then we
wouldn't have enough Marxists left over to discuss philosophy, the arts,
psychology, history, etc.  But, that doesn't mean that the underlying
issues (abstracted from the particular mathamatical form) related to
value theory aren't important.


On Mon, 3 Jul 1995, Doug Henwood wrote:

> Every time one of these value theory/xformation problem things comes up I
> ask - what's the political point of all this controversializing (then I
> kick myself for using Keynes's word about Marxism)? I always forget the
> answer. What, really, does it matter, comrades? Oh I know ideas are
> important in themselves, but really....
> Doug
> Doug Henwood [dhenwood at]
> Left Business Observer
> 212-874-4020 (voice)
> 212-874-3137 (fax)
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