[OPE-L:4144] RE: extending [completing, developing, deepening] Marx

andrew klima (Andrew_Kliman@msn.com)
Tue, 4 Feb 1997 21:08:48 -0800 (PST)

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Some question in reply to Jerry's ope-l 4132.

What criteria do you use to decide whether something not addressed in
someone's work is "missing"? Keynes' _General Theory_ doesn't have a theory
of commodity fetishism. Does that make it incomplete? Why or why not? Is the
theory of commodity fetishism "missing"? Why or why not?

What criteria do you use to decide whether the absent thing is "missing" when
viewed from the vantage-point of the work itself? How would you decide, for
instance, whether a theory of commodity fetishism "belongs" in the GT?

Jerry writes: "Whether Marx was 'complete' or not should be a secondary
question -- the primary question is whether we have a theory that explains
systematically the 'law of motion' of capital."

Why are you such an absolutist in this regard; can't something be secondary in
relation to one objective, but primary in relation to another? (If I don't
want to get wet, that I carry an umbrella is of primary importance; that I
carry a tissue is secondary. The opposite is true if I want to blow my nose.)
Second, if you think this question is of little significance, are you willing
to refrain from using the alleged incompleteness of Marx's economic work as a
justification for the projects you favor?

Jerry: "Whether one wishes to call this "extending Marx" or "completing Marx"
or "developing Marx" (a phase used in the past by Andrew K) ...."

I remember Jerry attributing this phrase to me. I don't think I ever used it;
I find it very imprecise, at best.

Jerry: "I would say it is more important for us to understand capitalism
than to be concerned primarily with textual --
Marxological - questions ....

"Us"? Who is this "us"? (I think I'm old enough to decide for myself what's
important to me. I'll let you decide what's important to you.) What is the
more elemental goal you have that makes "understand[ing] capitalism" more
important? Do you think that people who have other fundamental goals may
legitimately consider "understand[ing] capitalism" less important? Do you
think it is legitimate that other people have other fundamental goals?

Andrew Kliman