Thursday, 17 April 2014

Was DeLong Right?

After pouring long-thought scorn on Karl Marx and his economics ("I have long thought that Marx's fixation on the labor theory of value made his technical economic analyses of little worth", link), Prof. Brad DeLong revealed how he came to those erudite views:
"The economist Suresh Naidu once remarked to me that there were three big problems with Karl Marx's economics. (…) And, third, Marx was fixated on the labor-theory of value". (link)
Those puzzling about DeLong's opinion finally learned where it came from: he's long thought what Suresh Naidu once remarked to him. DeLong doesn't make any excuses: it's not his fault.

(DeLong's dog never ate his homework, either -- if you, like me, were wondering)

But, as DeLong also wrote:
"Thus he vanished into the swamp, the dark waters closed over his head, and was never seen again."
Naidu, understandably, decided to make his own opinion crystal clear:
"The larger point is that Marx's fertile mind generated many ideas, distributed over a lifetime of thinking and writing exactly as capitalism was transforming itself and the world". (link)
To me, this seems diametrically opposed to DeLong's unqualifiedly negative opinion. And if one is right, the other must be wrong, yes? Well, no; not necessarily, it seems. In fact, I must be mistaken, judging by Naidu's closing remarks:
"But all this said, I think Brad wrote a good column, even if the question of 'Was Marx Right?' is fundamentally silly".
So, there, the mystery is solved. However diametrically opposed, everybody's right; DeLong isn't wrong, neither is Naidu. It's all the NYTimes editors' fault, for asking silly questions! And Michael Roberts' too, for making irksome comments!


What the hell, I also blame Sandwichman, who also commented on Suresh Naidu's guest post at Slack Wire!


Now you may have noticed I sometimes seem less than impressed by mainstream economists (including many from some of the warring Keynesian sects), among other things for their apparently philistine attitude to Marx.

For instance, lately I've commented on the NewKe(ynesian) Prof. DeLong; but I've also been known to comment on a PoMo PoKe Wunderkind (furiously anti-NewKe, btw, apart from anti-Marxist); even the big cheese himself, Lord Keynes, has not escaped criticism.

Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against Keynesian economists. As a matter of fact, some of my closest friends are Keynesian economists…

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