[Marxism] Daniel Bensaid on G. A. Cohen and Analytical Marxism

Ken Hiebert knhiebert at shaw.ca
Wed Aug 17 10:50:27 MDT 2016

Nor has the current of Analytical Marxism survived the watershed of the 1990s as such.  Rational Marxism and some of its distinguished sponsors have failed the test of social remobilization and struggle against imperial globalization.  From the outset, the group was marked by a certain eclecticism, pulled between the Marxist problematic of Robert Brenner, Erik Olin Wright or G. A. Cohen and a certain Philippe van Parijs who never claimed to have much in common with any form of Marxism.  Jon Elster himself ended up conceding the impossibility of seriously combining Marxism with game theory and methodological individualism.  if his works, or those of John Roemer, can be stimulating, their farewell to Marx supplies candid clarification.
p. xiv Verso 2002

( I have prioritized confrontation with Karl Popper and...)
With Analytical Marxism (G. A. Cohen, Jon Elster, John Roemer, Erik Olin Wright), because throughout the 1980s the merit of these authors was to pose fundamental questions about history, progress and class in the light of the tragic experiences of the twentieth century.  They sought to save Marx from his archaism by formulating a general theory of history (Cohen) or exploitation (Roemer), informed by recent developments in game theory and theories of justice.  The result - recognized as such - was the methodological destruction of the central theoretical core of Marx's thought (value theory, abstract labour, the relation between value and prices), which illustrates the incompatibility between any radical methodological individualism and a critical theory of social conflict.
p. 5 Verso 2002

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