Coming Soon:

The following books by Robert Paul Wolff are available on Amazon.com as e-books: KANT'S THEORY OF MENTAL ACTIVITY, THE AUTONOMY OF REASON, UNDERSTANDING MARX, UNDERSTANDING RAWLS, THE POVERTY OF LIBERALISM, A LIFE IN THE ACADEMY, MONEYBAGS MUST BE SO LUCKY, AN INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF FORMAL METHODS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.
Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON KANT'S CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON. To view the lectures, go to YouTube and search for "Robert Paul Wolff Kant." There they will be.

To contact me about organizing, email me at rpwolff750@gmail.com




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Saturday, February 19, 2011

A MESSAGE TO JOHN C HALASZ

For some time now, you have been posting extremely long "comments" to my Marx tutorial. I have not replied for several reasons, one of which is that I find what you write rather difficult to engage with or to understand at times. I would like to suggest that rather than using the comments portion of my blog for what are essentially independent essays, you start your own blog and present them in a more orderly and coherent fashion. I would be quite happy to refer my readers to your blog site, leaving the comments section on my blog open for shorter comments directed more immediately to my posts. I do not intend to delete your comments on my blog. I think that would be rude of me. But I do think an independent blog would be a more appropriate site for what you wish to say.

2 comments:

john c. halasz said...

O.K.

(Though you've left me stranded on the falling rate-of-profit. I was about to explain that the value rate can be falling when the money rate seems to be rising, due to financial speculation, And how oligopolistic consolidation forms a counter-tendency, but high fixed capital costs form a peculiar problem for them to manage, But that's all folks!)

But obviously, I found your Marx tutorial rather unsatisfactory and unenlightening. SO I just make a few direct, unpolemical criticisms here.

You used a few simple equations, not quite to be found in Marx, to explain some basics, but I felt they left 90% of the actual and relevant content out. And you seemed to sustain the claim that Marx' LTV is formally inconsistent. However, aside from the fact that the inconsistency charge has long been used to dismiss and suppress Marxian economics, it's by no means clear or proven that it is so. (It could be just a matter of applying the wrong formalism). And you ended with the insight that workers are exploited. But ruling elites have always "exploited" the laboring masses, and it's not clear why that matters, rather than being a "necessary" fact of life, facing an impotent moralistic claim about "justice". But Marxian exploitation is more a functional than a normative concept, and plays a specific role in his theory: it is required to valorize accumulating capital, and its is the maintenance of the "value" of the latter that drives the whole system.

john c. halasz said...

(Cont.) So I was attempting, by way of response, to address a core question, which your explanation at best left in abeyance, at worst obstructed: why Marxian value theory rather than just price theory? Which is a complex, not a simple matter to explain. Usually, in addition to the charge of inconsistency, it is held to be at once redundant and obscure, "metaphysical", and thus Marx' economics can be readily dismissed. Obviously, I don't think the "metaphysical" charge holds, but, as things usually go, I would bear the burden of "proof".

I'll just add also that I don't think one can grasp accurately Marx' thought simply by treating it as an economic theory, and detaching his economics from his distinctive philosophy of praxis, which subtends the former, which is intended to serve the latter commitment. That neglect also tends to render his theory/critique of ideology largely without point and "force".

I'm sorry if you find my typing style somehow obscure or unclear, That's not my intent, though equally I can quite be the one to judge.

It's your blog to conduct as you please, so I'll just respect your rights and tolerances.

P.S. Feel free to delete my Marx series comments, as I have them saved and likely no one cares to read them anyway. I sometimes just type out my subaltern blog comments to externalize my thinking and see if I've got it "straight".