Value Theory

Dr. George Snedeker snedeker at SPAMconcentric.net
Tue Mar 6 08:38:53 MST 2001


it is quite possible for contemporary economics to be both of practical use
to capital and sterol in the scientific sense of providing an understanding
of the capitalist mode of production.
----- Original Message -----
From: Julio Huato <juliohuato at hotmail.com>
To: <marxism at lists.panix.com>
Sent: Tuesday, March 06, 2001 10:18 AM
Subject: Re: Value Theory


> Several posts before, Philip Ferguson <plf13 at it.canterbury.ac.nz> stated
> that current economics -- as opposed to classical political economy -- is
> sterile.  He then stated or implied that its critique can only produce
> irrelevant results.
>
> Seemingly, Phil bases his statement on the notion that (1) current
economics
> represents a radical discontinuity, both substantial and methodological,
> with respect to classical political economy, (2) it is not an advanced
form
> of bourgeois thought, and (3) it does not raise deep, "uncomfortable"
> questions about capitalist society.
>
> Suppose that Phil is right about (1) -- that economics' subject matter and
> method are alien to classical political economy. Still, the role modern
> economic reasoning (with or without quotation marks) plays in the big and
> small decisions made daily by capitalists, union leaders, and governments
is
> large enough to doubt the notion that economics is a low and irrelevant
form
> of bourgeois thought.
>
> Rich capitalist societies devote a large and increasing amount of social
> labor to conventional economic research.  A week or so ago, the Wall
Street
> Journal published an article about the high and unsatisfied demand for
> highly trained economists in the US.  I wonder whether sociology and
> cultural studies have such prominent roles in capitalist life (measured in
> hard dollars, i.e., in social labor) as economics?  But even if they do,
how
> can economics be deeply, amply, and increasingly embedded in modern social
> life and be deemed sterile?
>
> Item 3 is not unquestionable either.  As a first approximation, let's
> "define" current economics as whatever professional economists do.  Then,
> even a superficial look at this immense body of empirical and theoretical
> work suggests that no important aspect of social life has escaped the
> scrutiny of current economics.
>
> For good or ill, modern conventional economics analyzes the structure of
> modern marriage and family, the nature of international poverty, the
> dynamics of economic growth, the interaction with the environment, and
every
> other tiny aspect and institution in modern capitalist societies.  And
their
> results are influential, if we are to measure this by -- say -- their
> routine incorporation into public policy-making.  Critical thinkers:
Ignore
> these theoretical and empirical Himalayas at your own risk.
>
> Julio
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>






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