sábado, octubre 04, 2008

Marx not a “Marxist”

"Marxism"not a technical term

Marx not a “Marxist”

Soviet "Marxian” thinking about the"dictatorship of the proletariat" and it duration, the character of the state, and what would happen to it after the revolution, or civil liberties under Communism, and many other things, are definitely not consonant with Marx’s views.

The diligent attempts at an exegesis of Marx’swritings, to which Soviet economists and philosophers have been driven in orderto reconcile Soviet policies with Marx’s ideas, have been frustrating and emasculating their research efforts.

Marx was, of course, an economist on quite another level than most writers in the mixed crowd of those who now call themselves"Marxist". Indeed, their mostly inept attempts to hitch their incongruous thoughts to Marx must be seen as an offense against one of our great classics.

Behind all Marx’s interest in constructing abstract models for the “laws of movement” of the capitalist society, he wasfundamentally an empiricist.

Moreover, if Marx were living today he, as a hard-working and circumspect scientist, would know and take into account all that we now know but that he could not possibly have known a century and more ago. As a historian and empiricist, he would observe and account for not only what had evolved according to his forecasts, but also what had taken another route.

He did not give his backing to revolutionary attempts when the objective conditions for success were not present. If he lived today,he would, for instance, have observed how the technical development of armaments, even those less advanced ones available to underdeveloped countries,has radically increased to power to suppress rebellions by military force.

He would therefore have little in common with the many left-wing youths in the United States and the Western countries generally, who mostly call themselves “Marxists” and who – without danger to themselves-indulge in expecting rapid success for isolated guerrillas, particularly in Latin America, such as Colombia as an example.

That he would have despised as unrealistic the“Marxists” in the Western countries who wanted to start a revolution there iscertain. Some of them are even other worldly enough to aspire to be “Marxist Marxians”.

Marx did not see that valuations are always and necessarily conditioning economic research, as there is no view except from a viewpoint and no answers except to questions. This deficiency in his thinking shows up in he facile manner in which he could take for granted that his ownviews were simply "scientific" and "objective".

Marx, therefore, was not driven to face the problem of selecting value premises, which should not only be rendered explicitly, but whose propriety in a specific situation and a specific problem should be established.

(Source: Gunnar Myrdal, against the stream: critical essays on economics. New York:Pantheon Books, 1973).

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