Keen, the LTV and the LTP

Bradley Mayer concrete at
Sun Nov 12 03:24:07 MST 1995

> If you want to see what I think of capitalism, then check out
> my Journal of Post Keynesian Economics piece (1995, Vol. 17
> No. 4), where you *may* see that I argue that unbridled
> capitalism is unstable, and likely to lead to sustained
> depressions.
> [I say may because what you see and what I write are often
> two completely different things...]
> My political agenda, about which both Miller and Inigo
> informedly speculate (NOT!), I am a supporter of the mixed
> economy over both free market capitalism and centrally
> planned socialism, and my analytic work I hope shows (and
> will continue to show) that a market economy with a strong
> social security system is more dynamic and more viable
> than either "pure" capitalism--which is the political
> agenda of neoclassical economics--or "pure" non-market
> socialism--which seems to be the agenda of most labor-
> theory-of-value-supporting marxists.
> In terms of the future development of society, I do not
> see capitalism as eternal, but believe that if those who
> wish for a better society confine themselves to attempting
> to bring about a socialist revolution, the type of society
> we will find ourselves in will be something far worse than
> capitalism.
> Cheers,
> Steve Keen
Could the class line be more clearly drawn by Keen, particularly in the 
last paragraph? Actually existing capitalism is preferable to socialist 
revolution. Keen is disingenuous in his confusion of the issue of where 
we stand in the  class struggle with that of the LTV discussion. But the 
validity and legitimacy of raising the first issue on a marxism list stands 
independently of the issue of the scientific validity of Marx's LTV. 
*Both* are covered under the subject of marxism. Keen imagines that the 
correctness of his critique of the latter grants him some release from 
the "practical" obligations of the former. But in fact, even if Keen were 
right and marx wrong on LT of <?>, we would simply develop a new theory 
to meet the needs of the class struggle, which exists independently of 
theory.  Obviously, this position does not subscribe to the "house of 
cards" theory of marxism. Rather, it bases itself upon a radically 
different conception of science from that of Keen's, as has surely been 
established by now on this list. If marxists are obliged to refute Keen 
on the LTV (I take the Jones/Bhandari view on this), then Keen is just as 
obliged to give an answer to the class questions which have been posed to 
him. This is really quite a "liberal" and magnanimous arrangement, hardly 
in correspondence with the caricature of sentimental, stalinoid 
dogmatists that Keen likes to paint in his resentment in suffering the 
indignanty of having been put to these questions. Marxists have the right 
to raise these admittedly sensitive questions on a marxism list, don't 
they? Keen has given a clear answer, and one only hopes that future 
requests for answers to such relevant questions are met with less 
sneering resentment.  Keen's clearly pro-capitalist politics all the more 
demand a marxist response on the LTV and other theoretical areas as well. 
"Post"-Keynesianism will prove no more difficult to refute than its 
historical namesake, in either the twentieth or twenty-first centuries.
			-Brad Mayer

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