Individualism in Marx

Chris Matthew Sciabarra cms10 at
Wed Sep 1 14:55:20 MDT 1999

>Charles: I'm hoping my influence in changing the world is subtle right now
>Are you saying Hayek and Mises' influence is subtle too ? Anyway, I am
>trying to influence things in the opposite way of Hayek and Mises, that is ,
>in favor of central planning. What is it in Rand or the others that makes
>you think central planning is not the best goal ? Seems anti-dialectical ,
>given that Marxist planning derives directly from the Marxist critique of
>the bourgeois anti-holistic, anti-dialectical conceptions of economy, the
>contradiction between social production and private appropriation and the
>resulting anarchy of production, when enterprises all have a different plan
>and are not coordinated.
>Seems to me that Marx's influence 17 years after his death was a lot less
>subtle than Rand's. In fact, Marx's influence in 1848 with The Manifesto was
>so unsubtle that he was exiled from Germany, Belgium and France.
>Charles Brown

I think we're living in very different times from the 19th century, and
with the increasing democratization of information thru such things as the
Internet, ideas are transmitted at dizzying speeds, yes, but they are also
in a "marketplace" of other ideas that are constantly interacting across
space and time.

As for central planning, I believe it is the most non-dialectical element
within Marxism.  It assumes that it is possible to have synoptic knowledge
of a totality, and proceeds to plan on the basis of the presumption.  It
ignores the kind of "tacit" knowledge that is essential to entrepreneurial
and creative processes, which are always related to particular
circumstances and contexts.  This is a pretty dense claim, I realize, and
would take us into pretty intense debate... Lou Proyect witnessed these
debates some years ago, debates that I participated in and that went on for
months, literally.  I don't know if that material is archived anywhere...
but if it is, Lou, let us know!  :)


Chris Matthew Sciabarra, Visiting Scholar
NYU Department of Politics
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New York, New York  10003-6806
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