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However, there is a far more important reason. For the Classical economists, and especially for Marx, Value establishes a philosophical orientation and is the ontology of the relationship between individuals and social structure Value is a type of social philosophy.

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Value theory establishes that there will be riddles of transformation problems due to the fallacy of composition, under certain assumptions these transformation problems can be solved, under other assumptions not. Then we get bogged down on arguing about assumptions. This is not my project, I will leave it to others to do this dance. To paraphrase Kalecki, capitalism makes theory appear contradictory, it is not theory but the system that is contradictory. Thus, we need Value. You seem to dislike formal modelling.

Capitalism: Competition, Conflict, Crises by Anwar Shaikh –

Again assumptions of formal modelling are always unrealistic, Shaikh has plenty of formal modelling, I think it always has relevance, and never is he reducing his position to a formal model. On the class struggle, I think that South Africa is a good example, when I was growing up there was a mass semi-insurrectionary movement involving millions of workers against apartheid capitalism, today there is some class struggle but it is a shadow of that.

You can also see it in the decline of the labor movement in the USA, etc. Even in China with an industrial working class of million plus, there are a small number of short strikes every year. Where I differ from Hans is over the critique of Sraffa. That is my purpose. Interestingly you can trace this back to the value debates in the USSR in the s. Basically there were two sides back then, the idealists around Rubin, who emphasised the necessity of value, and the planners around Bodganov, who wanted to replace value with physical measures.

Sraffa of course was around the CP and wrote his first equations in , coincidentally the first year of the five year plan. He then went to Cambridge where he worked very closely with Maurice Dobb, the foremost Stalinist in the UK, who held the Bogdanov view, which had triumphed over the idealists by The Stalinists had a conundrum, how to measure the output of the plan when there was physical output but no value? This is basically what Shaikh does. His system was championed by Dobb and Ronald Meek as it fulfilled the Stalinists search for value in the physical system.

This is what Steedman and others pointed out in the s. The assumptions of a formal model need to be an abstraction from reality, i. As far as the new solution goes, it had its place as a holding position if you will, but in my opinion failed to get to the root of the matter, my recollection is however, that Shaikh explicitly rejects it in his book. We have disagreements for sure.

I can live with disagreements. To be clear what I am disagreeing with:. His book is a much larger story. Sraffa in develops this surplus approach primarily as an explicit critique of marginal theory.

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For neo-classical theory of income to be true, labor has to be treated as analogous to capital and land. This is implicit in Jevons and to some degree Marshall, but becomes very explicit in Human Capital Theory developed exactly as Sraffa is developing his critique. In the surplus approach labor is radically distinct from capital and land. Moreover, the value of capital radically depends on the distribution of income profits and wages. Thus, before we can talk about capital we are logically forced to address the determination of distribution.

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  • This is why Marx begins with Value. How Sraffa gets to all these points is a fine thing to critique, but I find his larger goal and larger points the essence and hub of the matter. Dobb would always contrast the new marginalism and utility theory of value with the labor theory value. Shaikh embraces this approach see pp — 3.

    There seems to be some importance here to the issue of money in chapter 15, and for profits and growth in chapter Bill, I hope that you will forgive me, but I cannot resist the temptation to write the following. That is fine, very few people do. But you draw attention to the vitality of the class struggle in South Africa when you were growing up. I have in mind, for example, Govan Mbeki. Awful thought. To Hans, disagreements ware what make life interesting.

    My basic contention is that the classical surplus tradition is a catch all label that conflates two distinct and counter posed theories. On the one side the heirs of the Idealists around II Rubin, or the tradition of real classical political economy of Smith, Ricardo and Marx predicated on the labour theory of value, and on the other hand, the heirs of the Mechanists or planners, in other words the physicalists in various forms. As these traditions are incompatible so their assumptions are mutually inconsistent.

    As you point out Sraffa convincingly refutes the explanation of the price of capital being due to scarcity, for as he points out, on the assumptions of the marginal model there is re-switching. His assumptions violate every actual process of production anywhere. The value of capital does not depend on the distribution of profits, but the cost of production of the physical goods used as means of production, i. Sraffa has no actual explanation for the production of surplus or their distribution, Indeed in his pure model there are no people.

    Capitalism: Competition, Conflict, Crises

    Dobb joined the Communist Party in and never left until his death in the mid s. Naum Jasny, a key commentator on Soviet national income measures after the Second World War, poked fun at him as a particularly adroit follower of the Moscow line. Search for articles by Jasny on Dobb. The relevance of that here is that Stalin in his Problems of Socialism, explained that the law of value existed in the Soviet Union, even though it did not exist as a regulator of production i. Sraffa helped Dobb explain this contradiction in terms. That approach, the approach of Smith, Ricardo and Marx, explains why labour time is necessary as an objective value of exchange value due to the incommensurate nature of physical output with physical input in a market economy.

    It does not seem to me that there is a Sraffian political economy, because his propose is far more particular. Sraffa has fallen out favor, in part due to those sympathetic to his accomplishment. In brief, this is to have a theory of relative prices, which necessities a theory of money and its movement, surplus, and class struggle. It is all there in Shaikh, and he is able to further demonstrate the macrodynamic these theories entail generate tendencies toward inequality, instability and socioeconomic crisis.


    A massive accomplishment. There exists no comparable contemporary theorist. In addition he provides excellent critiques of orthodox and heterodox positions in the midst of developing his position. As to Dobb. Look, he is writing Soviet economic development history. I do not take it as either pro- or anti-Soviet. Dobb had a very personal commitment to the British Communist Party, well not to The party itself, but to the tradition of communism.

    He believed starting a political movement a new was a mistake. He suffered abuse from the Soviet Marxists also.

    Anwar Shaikh: Capitalism: Competition, conflict, crises

    Dobb seems to allowed implicit censorship from the Soviets to influence some of his pamphlets, his books far less so. Again we have little to go on to understand his decisions, it may have been to have open access to study the Soviet political economy, could have been for other personal or political reasons. In Capitalism, Shaikh's approach demonstrates that most of the central propositions of economic analysis can be derived without any reference to standard devices such as hyperrationality, optimization, perfect competition, perfect information, representative agents, or so-called rational expectations.

    In every case, Shaikh's innovative theory is applied to modern empirical patterns and contrasted with neoclassical, Keynesian, and Post-Keynesian approaches to the same issues. Shaikh's object of analysis is the economics of capitalism, and he explores the subject in this expansive light. This is how the classical economists, as well as Keynes and Kalecki, approached the issue. Anyone interested in capitalism and economics in general can gain a wealth of knowledge from this ground-breaking text. Customer Reviews. Write a review. See any care plans, options and policies that may be associated with this product.

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