Individualism in Marx

George Pennefather poseidon at
Tue Aug 31 18:28:54 MDT 1999

>Charles: I assume you mean that they not only don't separate the individual
>from his or her society, but that they treat the social as determinative of
>the individual.  Atomists connect the individual and the society, but they
>see society as the product of interacting individuals, the whole as the sum
>of the parts. How are Menger and the Australians on this point ?

Precisely as dialecticians; they are not of the belief that the whole is
the mere sum of its parts, but an integral relation, constituting the
parts, even as the parts constitute the whole.

>Charles: OK. By "fruits" I mean more practice outside of the scholastic. Not
>what theories and analyses did it result in, but what practical-critical
>activity ? Actions ? How is it changing the world ? What politics has it
>produced ?

I think we need to realize that the effects of Rand's work on political
culture are subtle, and it is difficult to say in the long-run.  Marxism
has had a 150 year start on this score; Rand is dead since 1982, and it is
going to be a long time to begin seeing its effects on the kinds of
politics it has produced.  I do think that she surely influenced the
movements away from central planning, but so did Hayek and Mises.

>Charles: Have followers of Rand's approach changed any conditions ? I don't
>know of any, except I think Jim Farmelant said Alan Greenspan is a follower
>of Rand's thought. His practice is not my idea of proof of Rand's theory
>being some kind of advance over Marxism.
>Charles Brown

It is highly debatable if Greenspan is actually still following Rand's
theory -- which requires the abolition of the Fed, not becoming Chairman of
it.  I think the beginning scholarship on Rand may provide more clues as to
how it might be an advance in some respects over other radical political
theories.  We are only at the beginning stages of this reexamination, so it
remains to be seen.
Chris Matthew Sciabarra, Visiting Scholar
NYU Department of Politics
715 Broadway
New York, New York  10003-6806
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