Fridrich List

Charles Brown CharlesB at
Mon Sep 28 11:36:09 PDT 1998

Greg Newell writes: -clip-

That said, the question of the Marxist perspective, while useful to us, misses the point for what Friedrich List was writing about. List was attacking the Smithian line, not the Marxist. To get the gist of how his attack on Smith is organized you have to read Smith. Smith criticizes factory production (anticipating Marx's alienation), questions the patriotism of manufacturing capital, and lauds agricultural capitalism and the virtuous agricultural life. __________

Charles: Is this like Thomas Jefferson ?


Since neo-Smithian economics is the dominant ideology of our time, _____________

Charles: How is this so ? I realize this is a broad question, but I hope you won't mind. Do you mean neo-classical liberalism ? ________ List is not Keynes, but like Keynes he takes certain precepts of "the market economy" and uses them to show that government intervention is essential to "make things work." If you think that capital is the problem, and that any program of action short of its overthrow might actually make capital stronger and perpetuate injustice, then you won't like Keynes or List. If you figure that like it or not, you're stuck with capitalism, then it becomes relevant to look at which theorists have provided ammunition to criticize the dominant regime without going so far outside capital's definition of "reasonable debate" as to put you on the margin of the margin. (Merely arguing for social welfare, which Rakesh disparaged, puts you on the extreme left of current American politics). _________________

Charles: This reiterates a theme from a thread from a little while ago: Reform of capitalism to save capitalism by measures that are only partial and temporary ameliorations of its problems to short circuit working class anger shy of revoltion is a uniquely bourgeois ruling class finesse. Relatedly, the democratic-republic and liberalism are the preferred and main forms of bourgeois rule.

Charles Brown

>From the market to the Marxit

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