Value and bridges

Steve.Keen at unsw.edu.au Steve.Keen at unsw.edu.au
Mon Nov 6 16:59:53 MST 1995


Scott asks re Kaleckians:
|Steve this needs to be shown not just stated. What mass movement where for
|socialism or even basic economic justice and reform was ever led by this
|'school'? How have they advanced the cause of 'analysis of capitalism' if it
|lead to no practical revolutionary of even reformist change? Do you mean
|analysis for analysis sake? What is the lesson you see?

The reformist change that gave us the welfare state after WWII and the
Great Depression owed something to the works of Keynes and Kalecki,
and I regard that as no small reformist achievement. Contemporaneously,
conservative economists started to tear this message down, leading
eventually to the triumph of monetarist thought (as opposed to the
triumph of its practice!) and the progressive dismantling of the
welfare state, which has been a worldwide trend since the early 70s.

Mass movements? None today, and I'm not old enough to know of those
in the 50s and early 60s. But I think it could be argued that all
reformist parties post WWII were informed by some appreciation of
the work of Keynes, and at its fringes, the awareness of Kalecki
et al.

Today; well, someone has to develop a cogent alternative to
neoclassical economics, which dominates the economic and social
policy agenda in all Western countries, and, via such institutions
as the IMF, those of many Third World and Eastern countries as well.
They are not the only ones doing this--a significant impact may
one day be had by the nonlinear brigade, which has "ridden in
from the sidelines", so to speak. But, for better or worse, they
are doing a lot more than has been done by academic marxism when
it comes to fighting the intellectual battles.

This is not to deride the role of activist marxists, let me
hasten to add. The fact that someone can pull your theory down,
or put a better one forward, means little if there is not, at
the same time, some cogent political opposition going on. And
I am quite willing to accept that activist marxists have
contributed much of the active opposition to conservative
economic policies, in the West, East, and Third World.

Cheers,
Steve Keen


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