Over the past month, the Crooked Timber blog (referred to below as CT) has posted three attacks on Marxism by John Quiggin, an Australian economist who I have a particular distaste for after he deleted something I wrote about Yugoslavia that went against the liberal/social democratic orientation of the blog’s professorial co-owners five years ago.
The first installment was titled Marxism without revolution: class that makes about as much sense as writing about Christianity without god or Opera without singing. It is basically a Panglossian vision of the world in tune with the privileged status of a don: “The creation of a democratic welfare state, funded primarily by progressive taxation, produced societies with a more equal distribution of economic and political power than any seen since the emergence of agriculture, and with better standards of living for virtually everyone in the developed world.” Who needs revolution when things are going so good? Since Quiggin has never written a single word about people living in places like the Congo or the Philippines, one can understand his fat and jolly burgher stance.
The next was titled Marxism without revolution: crisis. In it he accuses Marxists of being incapable of offering proposals that can “stabilise the capitalist economy.” Well, fancy that. By contrast, Quiggin offers up Keynesianism as just the ticket: “I read the historical evidence as showing that the system can and should be stabilised to a significant extent, as was done during the postwar decades, using Keynesian macroeconomic policies and tight regulation of the financial system.” Of course, the question of what Keynesianism can offer those underdeveloped countries that play such a secondary role in his ideological worldview is never considered. More about that anon.
The last was titled Marxism without revolution: Capital. It is perhaps the 2000th attempt to dismiss the labor theory of value that is the foundation for Marx’s analysis of politics and much else. There’s not a single thing that Quiggin writes that hasn’t already been written before, starting with Eugen Bohm-Bawerk’s 1896 Karl Marx and the Close of His System. The never-ending assault on the labor theory of value reminds me of the tale of the princess and the pea. Like the pea that is Marxism concealed under a dozen thick mattresses, princesses like Quiggin are so irritated by the thing jabbing at their ribs that they cannot get a proper night’s sleep.
Lea completo “Marxism and Keynesianism” en el blog: