Marxist vs Mainstream Economics in Pedagogy and Research:
Marxist vs Mainstream Economics in Pedagogy and Research: The Unity of Theory and Praxis and Socialist Construction of the Social Formation of China Presentation to the International Symposium on the Development and Innovation of Marxist Economics Center for Political Economy at Tsinghua University (CPET) and the Editorial Department of Economic Research Journal at the Chinese Academy of Social Science (CASS) August 26-27, 2012 "If socialism doesn't occupy the battlefront, capitalism surely will." Chairman Mao Zedong Abstract of Paper and Presentation ABSTRACT The accompanying paper, The Theoretical System and Predictions of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels: A Compendium of Assumptions, Postulates and Predictions
this presentation, and modeling based upon it, explore the theoretical system of Marx and Engels as an integrated and largely coherent system of theory and praxis from which Marx made a compendium of definite and testable predictions about the logic, dynamics and trajectories of capitalism; it is important to be clear as to what Marx and Engels really wrote and argued. These predictions, one of the tests of theory and its application, are identified, formed into a compendium and sourced. Also presented in this paper and presentation are: a) some of the essential differences between Marxist versus Neoclassical or mainstream economics; b) some recurring and failed attempts to rescue Neoclassical economics from its own contradictions and failures in prediction and applications via policy; c) some suggestions on future approaches, modeling and projects in pedagogy and research in political economy based on Marxism and applied to the concrete conditions and realities of China. Marx on The Soul of Marxism 1) ON THE UNITY OF THEORY AND PRAXIS, PRAXIS AS BASIS, RAISON DETRE AND TEST OF THEORY, AND 2) UNAPOLOGETIC BIAS-PURPOSE FOR THE WORKING CLASS AND OTHR OPPRESSED AND AGAINST
OPPRESSORS: The Philosophers have only interpreted the world in various ways; the point, however is to change it. Workers of all countries unite (Inscription on the Grave of Karl Marx at High Gate Cemetery from his 11 th Thesis on Feuerbach) 1) ON THE SCIENTIFIC AND NON-UTOPIAN NATURE OF MARXISM AND ITS PREDICTIONS; 2) ON THE IMPERATIVE FOR RUTHLESS HONESTY, INTEGRITY AND SOCIAL PURPOSE GUIDING ALL SCHOLARSHIP, PEDAGOGY AND PRAXIS; 3) ON THE UNIQUE CONDITIONS OF EACH SOCIAL FORMATION If the construction of the future and its completion for all time is not our task, all the more certain is what we must accomplish in the present: I mean, the ruthless criticism of everything that exists; the criticism being ruthless in the sense that it does not fear its own results and does not fear conflict with the powers that be. (Letter to Arnold Ruge 1843) 1) ON THE MASSES AND THEIR STRUGGLES, AS THE MOTIVE FORCE OF HISTORY, DEVELOPMENT OF THEORY AND PRAXIS; 2) ON THE REJECTION OF CULTS OF PERSONALITY, RECOGNITION OF ENGELS AND ALL THE SHOULDERS OF THOSE BEFORE HIM MARX STOOD UPON; 3) ON THE REPUDIATION OF MANY CRIMES DONE IN THE NAME OF MARX AND MARXISM: Ce qu'il y a de certain c'est que moi, je ne suis pas Marxiste."(Engels quoting Marx in- Letter to Bernstein, 1882.) And in the following: "And if this man has not yet discovered that while the material mode of existence is the primum agens [primary agent, prime cause] this does not preclude the ideological spheres from reacting upon it in their turn, though with a secondary effect, he cannot possibly have understood the subject he is writing about. However, as I said, all this is secondhand and little Moritz is a dangerous friend. The materialist conception of history has a lot of them nowadays, to whom it serves as
an excuse for not studying history. Just as Marx used to say, commenting on the French Marxists of the late 70s: All I know is that I am not a Marxist. " (-Engels Letter to Schmidt, 1890.) A Warning from History that Applies to Imported Theories and Ideas Every nation in the world has its own history and its own strengths and weaknesses. Since earliest times excellent things and rotten things have mingled together and accumulated over long periods. To sort them out and distinguish the essence from the dregs is a difficult taskOf course this does
not mean that we do not need to learn from foreign countries. We must learn many things from foreign countries and master themWe learn foreign things because we want to study and develop Chinese thingsWe must not be like the Empress Dowager Tzu-hsi who blindly rejected all foreign things. Blindly rejecting foreign things is like blindly worshipping them. Both are incorrect and harmfulIn learning from foreign countries we must oppose both conservatism and dogmatismTo study foreign things does not mean importing everything, lock, stock and barrelWe must give our attention to the critical acceptance of foreign things, and especially to the introduction of things from the socialist world and from the progressive people of the capitalist world (Chairman Mao Zedong, Talk to Music Workers, pp. 85-88, in Chairman Mao Talks to the People: Talks and Letters 1956-1971, Stuart Schram ed., Pantheon Books, N.Y.) 1974) System of Articulated Modes of Production, Including Capitalism, Will Deal With Capitalism Within and from the Global Economy According
to the 16th Congress of the Communist Party of China in 2002: We must be aware that China is in the primary stage of socialism and will remain so, for a long time to come. The well-off life we are leading is still at a low level; it is not all-inclusive and is very uneven. The principal contradiction in our society is still one between the ever-growing material and cultural needs of the people and the backwardness of social production. Our productive forces, science, technology and education are still relatively backward, so there is a long way to go before we achieve industrialization and modernization. (.Report of the 16th Congress of the Communist Party of China, 2002 quoted in Some Basics on China (online edition) by D. Raja and He Yong, Political AffairsNet, at http://www.politicalaffairs.net/article/articleview/256/1/32 ,p.1) Marxs Heuristic of Mode of Production as Both Historical Epoch and System The Rhetoric of Neoclassical or Mainstream [MSE]
Economics: Irrelevant Even for Understanding Capitalism as a System and Stage Not The Endof History However, since 1870, triumphant marginalism has set itself the task of working out an economic science that is pure, or, more precisely, independent of all other social sciences. This pure economic science must necessarily be a-historical, since the laws it seeks to discover have to be true whatever the economic and social system may be. Abandoning the universal outlook of Marxism, breaking down the bridges that the latter had laid between the various branches of social science it its attempt to explain history, neoclassical economics was led to become, first and foremost, an algebra of logical deductions from a certain number of axioms based on a sketchy psychology of eternal man. (Samir Amin, Accumulation on a World Scale, Monthly Review Press, 1974, N.Y p. 5) The Foundations and Pillars (Meta-Axioms) of Neoclassical Economics: All Refuted Repeatedly in Predictions, Applications
and in Resulting Misery in Past and Current Global Crises The first meta-axiom of neoclassical economics: methodological individualism The second meta-axiom of neoclassical economics: methodological instrumentalism The third meta-axiom of neoclassical economics: methodological equilibration Source: Arnsperger, Christian and Varoufakis, Yanis, What is Neoclassical Economics?, Post-autistic Economics Review Issue 38, July 2009 Pillar I: Methodological Individualism Individual (buyer, seller, owner) is the focus of all analysis;
Whole (Macro) = Sum of its parts; Micro Macro; Strict Separation of Structure from Agency: Micro Macro but no concept of Macro Micro; Form of methodological reductionism or the notion that all large entities may be explained by reference to smaller ones; No place for social class, race, ethnicity, gender, history, state of society or type of system, time, space, Place, power, politics, law, geography, or groups in decision making; Collective action is simple aggregation of actions of rational utility-maximizing individuals. II.Methodological Instrumentalism All human behavior is preference driven with all preferences reduced to ultimate goals of utility maximization and minimization of pain, costs, uncertainty and risk; Homo Oeconomicus Model (Evolving and Retreating) a) Perfectly Rational to Bounded Rational b) Maximizer to now Satisficer of Total Utility and Profits; calculates on
the margin to maximize in Toto c) Preferences: given Exogenous; now to adaptive Endogenous d) Egoistic or Self-interested and competitive Individual e) Preferences independent of influence of others or contexts; now, via Game Theory, allows some adaptation to past outcomes and context. f) From perfectly informed on all information necessary for rational choice to bounded asymmetrically accessible and usable information g) from pure competition to imperfect competition admitted. III. Methodological Equilibration Axiomatic imposition of equilibrium as focus of analysis Questions about how, how likely equilibrium could occur in the real world never dealt with. Equilibrium merely and summarily asserted as neoclassical theory cannot demonstrate how some equilibrium could/would naturally occur out of competitive interactions of the instrumentally rational choices of economic agents. Economy can be analytically detached and analyzed independent of the other dimensions of society (pure
Economics instead of Political Economy) Economy as a Morphostatic and not Morphogenetic system. Equilibrium focus has rhetorical intention. (Who goes to the psychiatrist looking for more disequilibrium in their lives?) Morphostatic (MSE) versus Morphogenetic (Political Economy) Visions of Capitalism Core First Principles of HypotheticoDeductivist Theory and Pedagogy of MSE I. Principles of Individual Choice: a) Resources are scarce; b) real cost is opportunity cost; c) How much a decision on the margin; d) people will exploit opportunities to make themselves better off; II. Principles Underlying Interactions of Individual Choices: a) There are gains from trade; b) Markets move toward equilibrium; c) Resources should be used as efficiently as possible to achieve social goals; d) Markets usually lead to efficiency;
e) when markets do not achieve efficiency [ in their own terms], proper government intervention may be warranted and improve overall efficiency see as a typical model of First Principles: Krugman Paul and Well, Robin, Macroeconomics, 2nd Edition, Worth Publishers, N.Y. pp. 6 and 11 The Teleological Logic and Core of Capitalism: Production, Realization, Distribution and Utilization of Surplus Value Power (ignored by MSE) Insulates Theory and Those Who Teach It From the Results of Theory and Its Applications "Our power, then, has the grave liability of rendering our theories about the world immune from failure. But by becoming deaf to easily discerned warning signs, we may ignore long-term costs that result from our actions and dismiss reverses that should lead to a re-examination of our goals and
means. (Republican Congressman Henry Hyde) What Do You See? A Duck? A Rabbit? Some Common Types of Errors in MSE Econometrics and Research Design and Praxis Type I Sampling Error: ( p < .05 still gives potential Type I Sampling Error as in a set of finite data, Type I error cannot ever = 0, thus always a probability a true hypothesis is rejected even when correctly specified) Type II Specification Error: (Is the IF statement of the hypothesis correctly specified; ordinary least squares-model assumes: regressors are exogenous; error terms are assumed homoskedastic, uncorrelated and sometimes normally distributed) Violations of these assumptions common thus Type II errors. Type III Methodological Errors: a) Measurement error; b) Data mining; c) Duhem-Quine Critique; d) Publication Bias; e) Historical
events sui generis; f) add: ceteris paribus/a-contextuality; g) confirmation bias; h) fallacies (composition, division etc) (See: Hollanders, D.F. Five Methodological Fallacies in Applied Econometrics, Real World Economics Review, No. 57. pp 115). Current Crises Retreat [Again] to Joseph Schumpeter the Anti-Marxist Marxian With Mainstream Economics increasingly under siege from the realities, data, patterns and crises that its practitioners said could never happen in the long-run but have occurred again, now how to rescue capitalism, and its supporting mainstream theory, from its own supporters, their theories and their repeatedly failed and bankrupt predictions and policy applications of theory? Answer: The periodic crises and wild swings in major economic aggregates, yes may contradict the Neoclassical narrative of a self-organizing/stabilizing/renewing/equilibrating/reproducing or auto-poietic capitalism, but they provide the evidence of
positive effects of the hurricane or typhoon-like Gales of Creative Destruction out of the periodic turmoil of capitalism: Wei Ji Danger and Opportunity Polemicists for MSE and Neo-liberalism Find and Need Schumpeter--Again We are now living it is said, in the Age of Schumpeter Schumpeter was a powerful prophet and he now offers dazzling insights into everything from the rise of Walmart to prosperitys discontents. He is best known for his evocative phrase Schumpeter saw capitalism as a system that prodcreative destruction. uces material progress raising living standards, more creature comforts through the turmoil of new technologies and business methods. The entrepreneur, a man of great vision and energy (in his day, there were few women in business) was the driving force of change. Indeed Schumpeters idea of chaotic capitalism seems everywhere confirmed. (Robert J.
Samuelson, Newsweek and Neoclassical/Neoliberal Polemicist) Can Capitalism [and its supporting MSE theory] Survive? From the book Can Capitalism Survive?: Creative Destruction and the Future of the Global Economy, Harper Books, N.Y. 1976 by Joseph Schumpeter (a new book created from excerpts from Joseph A. Schumpeters Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy): How do we put the financial crisis behind us and get growing again? The answer is in rediscovering the essence of entrepreneurial capitalism. As Joseph Schumpeter, the twentieth centurys
foremost economist, observed, dynamic growth requires constant innovation and volatility. Thats capitalism, and it works. It is our way forward. (Steve Forbes, Forbes Magazine on the cover of the book). What was Schumpeters Answer as to the Stability-Survivability of Capitalism? Can capitalism survive? No, I do not think it can. But this opinion of mine, like that of every other economist who has pronounced upon the subject, is in itself completely uninteresting. What counts in any attempt at social prognosis is not the Yes or No that sums up the facts and arguments which lead up to it but those facts and those arguments themselves. They contain all that is scientific in the final result. Analysis, whether economic or other, never yields more than a
statement about the tendencies present in an observable pattern. And these will never tell us what will happen to the pattern but only what would happen if they continued to act as if they have been acting in the same time interval covered by our observation and if no other factors intruded. Inevitability or necessity can never mean more than this. (Joseph Schumpeter, Prologue, p1) Schumpeter as a Social Astronomer and Prognosticator of Capitalism One more point before we start. The thesis I shall endeavor to establish is that the actual and prospective performance of the capitalist system is such as to negative[sic] the idea of its breaking down under the weight of economic failure [Marx], but that its very success undermines the social institutions which protect it, and inevitability creates conditions in which it will not be able to live and which point to socialism as the heir apparent. My final conclusion therefore does not differ, however much my argument may, from that of most socialist writers and in particular from that of all Marxists. But in order to accept it one does not need to be a socialist. Prognosis does not imply the desirability of the course one predicts. If a doctor predicts that his patient will die presently, this does not mean
that he desires it. One may hate socialism or at least look upon with cool criticism, and yet foresee its advent. Many conservatives did and do. Nor need one accept this conclusion in order to qualify to be a socialist. One may love socialism and ardently believe in its economic, cultural and ethical superiority but nevertheless believe at the same time that capitalist society does not harbor any tendency to self-destruction. There are in fact socialists who believe that the capitalist order is gaining strength and is entrenching itself as time goes on, so that it is chimeral to hope for its breakdown. (Prologue continued pp. 2-3) MSE Assumes Away Global Contexts and Endogeneity Among and Between Dimensions of the Global System Some Contrasts Between MSE and Marxist Political Economy I NEOCLASSICAL ECONOMICS 1. ANALYTICAL FOCUS: INDIVIDUALS
2. FOCUS: DIMINISHING RETURNS 3. SYSTEMS: ESSENTIALLY MORPHOSTATIC 4. MICRO MACRO (WHOLE = SUM OF PARTS) 5. ECONOMY AS SEPARATE SPHERE OF SOCIETY 6. ULTIMATE INDEPENDENT AND DEPENDNT VARBLES 7. CAUSALITY LINEAR AND UNIDIRECTIONAL 8. NO SPACE, NO TIME, NO PLACE, NO STRUCTURE IN ANALYSIS 9. NO MONEY, DEBT, USURY, TRANS OR INFO COSTS IN ANALYSIS MARXIST POLITICAL ECONOMY 1. FOCUS: ON SYSTEMS, GROUPS, 2. FOCUS: INCREASING RETURNS
3. SYSTEMS: ESSENTIAL MORPHOGENETIC 4. MACROMICRO-- ->MACRO (WHOLE = SUM) 5. ECONOMIC AND NON-ECONOMIC ARE INTEGRAL 6. NO ULTIMATE INDEP-DEPEND VARIABLES 7. ONLY PROXIMATE CAUSALITY OVERDETERMINATION 8.DYNAMCS OF STRUCTURE SPACE,TIME,PLACE,SPACE-TIME 9. MONEY, DEBT, USURY, TRANS ND INFO COSTS INCORPORATED Some Contrasts Between MSE and Marxist Political Economy II NEOCLASSICAL ECONONOMICS 10. ULTIMATE EXOGENEITY IN SOME VARIABLES 11. TECHNOLOGY AND SCIENCE
EXOGENOUS 12. NEWTONIAN-LIKE MORPHOSTATICS 13. HUMAN NATURE CONSTANT & GENERAL 14. COMPARATIVE STATICS IN ANALYSIS 15. ELEMENTS OF ANALYSIS QUANTITIES & PRICES 16. HYPOTHETICO-DEDUCTIVIST METHODOLOGY 17. ECONOMICS AS SIMPLIFIED SOFT PHYSICS 18. FOCUS ON BARTER-LIKE EXCHANGE 19. FOCUS ON MARKETS AND INDIV EXCHANGE MARXIST POLITICAL ECONOMY 10. NO ULTIMATE EXOGENEITY-11. TECHNOLOGY AND SCIENCE ENDOGENOUS 12. DIALECTICAL MORPHOGENETICS
13. HUMAN NATURE VARIABLE/SYSTEM 14. DYNAMIC ANALYSIS SPACE AND TIME 15. ELEMENTS ARE PATTERNS & POSSIBILITIES AND SHIFTS CONTEXTS 16. DIALECTICAL INDUCTIVEDEDUCTVE 17. POLITICAL ECONOMY AS COMPLEXITY SCIENCE 18. FOCUS ON PRODUCTION Some Contrasts Between MSE and Marxist Political Economy III NEOCLASSICAL ECONOMICS MARXIST POLITICAL ECONOMY 20. NO CONCEPT POWER STRUCTURES RELNS
20. POWER STRUCTURES/RELATIONS CENTRAL 21. INEQUALITY IN INCOME ONLY FORM CONS 21. INEQUALITIES: VARIOUS INTEGRATED FORM 22. WANTS AND PREFERENCES EXOGENOUS 22. WANTS AND PREFERENCES ENDOGENOUS 23. FOCUS: COMPETITION AND SELF-INTEREST 23. HUMAN BEHAVIOR COMPLEX
AND ADAPTVE 24. ACTORS UNINFLUENCED BY OTHERS (MI) 24. ACTORS INFLUENCED BY OTHERS AND GROUPS 25. RATIONALITY AN ASSUMPTION AND GIVEN 25. RATIONALITY VARIABLE AND ADAPTIVE 26. ECON ACTIONS UNDER GIVEN CONSTRAINTS 26. ECON ACTIONS UNDER DYNAMIC CONSTRAINT 27. HIST, GEO, POLITCS, LAW,
CULTURE EXOGEN. 27. HIST, GEO, POLITCS, LAW, CULTURE ENDOG. 28. FORMAL CLEAN-QUANTIFIED 28. QUANT, QUAL, HISTORICAL, Some Comparisons between MSE and Marxist Political Economy IV NEOCLASSICAL ECONOMICS MARXIST POLITICAL ECONOMY 29. SCARCITY ETERNAL = F (WANTS > RESOURCES) 29. SCARCITY VARIABLE = F (RESOURCES < WANTS)
30. CHANGE CAUSED BY EXOGENOUS SHOCKS 30. CHANGE = F ( ENDOGENEITY & ADAPTATION) 31. ACTORS CALCULATE AND ACT ON THE MARGIN 31. ACTORS CALCULATE AND ACT HEURISTICALLY 32. COMPETITIVE MARKETS THE NORM 32. COMPETITIVE MARKETS A-TYPICAL 33. INSTITUTIONS PERIPHERAL, GIVEN, EXOGEN. 33. INSTITUTIONS CENTRAL AND ENDOGENOUS
34. POSITIVE VS NORMATIVE DISTINCTIONS 35. SCIENCE SEEN AS REDUCTIONISTICSPECIALZD 36. TEST OF SCIENCE IS PREDICTION 37. THEORY AND PRAXIS SEPARABLE 38. ALL EXCHANGES MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL 34. POSITIVE VS NORMATIVE ILLUSORY 35. SCIENCE SEEN AS HOLISITC AND INTERDISCIPL. 36. TEST OF SCIENCE IS APPLICATIONPREDICTION 37. THEORY AND PRAXIS INSEPARABLE 38. EXCHANGES MAY INVOLVE COERCION, ETC Some Contrasts Between MSE and Marxist Political Economy V NEOCLASSICAL ECONOMICS
MARXIST POLITICAL ECONOMY 39. 39. WHAT, HOW, WHERE, WHEN, FOR WHAT, HOW, FOR WHOM? CENTRAL QUESTIONS; HOW? INCLDS WHERE? AND WHEN? 40. INDIVIDUAL BEHAVIOR = F (HUMAN NATURE, CONTSTRAINTS AND PREFERENCES) 41. ECONOMIC INTERACTIONS HAVE ELEMENTS OF COMPLETE CONTRACTS 42. STRUCTURES LITTLE FOCUS AND EXOGENOUS 43. DEGREES OF VOLATILITY GIVEN & EXOGENOUS 44. COMPETITION IS PRIMARILY BASED ON PRICE AND OTHER FORMS
OF COMPETITION MARGINAL 45. CAPITALISM THE END OF HISTORY WHOM, WHY, WITH WHAT IMPLICATIONS AND CONTEXTS? 40. INDIVIDUAL BEHAVIOR = F (CONTEXTS, IMPERATIVES OF SURVIVAL, INTERESTS , POWER) 41. ECONOMIC INTERACTIONS MAY NOT HAVE ALL ELEMENTS OF COMPLETE CONTRACTS 42. STRUCTURES CENTRAL FOCUS-ENDOGENOUS 43. VOLATILITY VARIABLE AND ENDOGENOUS 44. DIFFERENT FORMS OF COMPETITION, THEIR VARIABILITY ENDOGENEITY CONSIDERED 45. CAPITALISM AS A STAGE OF HISTORY
All Social Formations are Dynamic Systems of Articulated and Interacting Modes of Production Composed of Remnants of Past MOPs, a Dominant present MOP and Embryos of Future MOPs The Etherial World of MSE: No Modes of Production and No History
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