Marxism and political economy

glevy at glevy at
Thu Jun 1 13:17:29 MDT 1995

On Thu, 1 Jun 1995, Doug Henwood wrote:

> Actually, I thought Marxism was largely about political economy, or a
> critique of classical PE. Of course one can discuss culture and the psyche
> using Marxian style and technique, I thought what made Marxish discussions
> of those things Marxish was their connection to material/social reality,
> i.e., PE. So it shouldn't be too much of a surprise to see a "Marxism" list
> discuss Marxian concerns. Perhaps you could start by explaining just what
> "post-Marxism" and "radical democracy" are. They seem like utter mush to
> me.

Actually, I thought that Marxism was essentially a "world outlook" or
philosophy with which one can analyze the social world.  Political
economy is certainly a major part of Marx's thought, but, it is a
specific extension of Marx's method of historical materialism.  Marxists
have historically been very concerned with the arts, literature, science,
etc. and have attempted, with varying degrees of success, to analyze
these subjects from a materialist perspective.  Although I am a political
economist by profession, I think that it is important for Marxists -- and
this list -- to analyze subjects that are not directly related to
political economy.

I may be an economist, but I believe that viewing all subjects from a
narrow economic perspective should be avoided (I assume Doug would
agree). Indeed, neoclassical economists are the school of thought (a la
Becker) who attempt to explain all social interaction in economic terms.

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