Wed Sep 2 18:50:37 PDT 1998

Brenner was ill-advised to open his piece with a hopelessly flawed survey of the theoretical divisions among Marxist economists. Reducing Shaikh to a footnote is ridiculous. But Brenner is an Marxist historian, not a Marxist economist. I'd be interested in knowing what Andrew, Rakesh, et. al. think of his novel and provocative periodization of postwar history. For example, Brenner moves the onset of the crisis in the U.S. back to 1958. He argues that it was temporarily resolved by an employer assault on labor (he fails to note the role of the state here), which is all the more intriquing since he argues that the employer assault on labor in the late 1970s and 1980s was not successful in resolving the crisis. The difference lies in Brenner's placing inter-imperialist rivalry at the center of the analysis. U. S. capital was temporarily successful in the early 1960s because it threw W. German and Japanese capital into crisis. But the Vietnam War undermined the hegemonic position of U.S. capital (Brenner is even weaker on the causes of the Great Inflation, 1965-79, than he is on the theoretical controversies among Marxist economists). Isn't this level of concret events important, or do we just dispose of the arguments in the first chapter and not bother with the rest?

Edwin Dickens

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