[Marxism] Turkey: Final Version?

Pat Byrne patbyrneme at hotmail.com
Mon Sep 21 14:58:14 MDT 2009

I intrude on this discussion about the upcoming conference in Istanbul with
some trepidation because I can't claim to be a marxist economist. 
The problem I have with traditional Marxist economics is that I don't feel
it offers enough assistance on how to intervene in the political process
that Mehmet talks about. Specifically, too much time seems to be spent on
going over the exact meaning of passages from Das Kapital and too little
exploding the mythologies of modern-day capitalism - the 'magic of the
market', the efficiency of the price system etc. Thus the overwhelming
majority of the world's intelligentsia has accepted that despite massive
evidence to the contrary, capitalism is the most effective means of
delivering growth and satisfying demand. This is where Adam Smith's models
needs to be compared to reality. 
The second problem I have with Marxist economics is that while the mechanics
of capitalism are obviously important we need also to be able to offer a
convincing set of mechanics for an alternative economy.
Here I think that the broad concept of alienation as applied to the economic
process offers a straightforward and easily understandable solution to the
mass of the population: that the transfer of decision-making away from
capital to the other actors involved in the delivery of products and
services - producers, consumers, and the wider community - is the key to
solving the economic and political problems posed by capitalism.     
Apologies if what I write sounds trite or uninformed.
P.S. I live in Turkey but unfortunately I will be in Ireland while the
conference is on. Hope it goes well.

-----Original Message-----
From: marxism-bounces+patbyrneme=hotmail.com at lists.econ.utah.edu
[mailto:marxism-bounces+patbyrneme=hotmail.com at lists.econ.utah.edu] On
Behalf Of Michael Perelman
Sent: 21 September 2009 23:30
To: Pat Byrne
Subject: Re: [Marxism] Turkey: Final Version?

I like what you are doing with the medical analogy.  I am not sure that 
the time constraints at the conference will allow me to expand on it.

If I did, I would go on to the way that capitalist medicine 
concentrates on the individual relationship, like to economist focuses 
on the transaction.

But capitalism as a disease is a nice touch.

> As for the medical analogy:  even the best doctors, thus who
> support, and engage their patients, are constrained in their practice of 
> medicine [wish I could italicize "practices"] by the demands, terms,
> to reproduction of the economy.
> Good doctors cannot overcome those limitations by engaging, involving
> patients in their own treatment.   They cannot "cure" social illnesses 
> through individual contact, no matter how numerous those individual
> can be.  There is in fact a real material need for the abolition of 
> capitalism in order to actually maintain, enhance the public health,
> health.
> Think the same applies to good, and really good, economists.

Michael Perelman
Economics Department
California State University
Chico, CA 95929

Tel. 530-898-5321
E-Mail michael at ecst.csuchico.edu

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