Rakesh Bhandari bhandari at phoenix.Princeton.EDU
Tue Mar 9 17:36:42 PST 1999

>Sure. I was only summarizing one side of the argument--sorry if I implied
>he'd scored a knock-out! But my impression has been that their peers have
>pretty solidly given this round to Sahlins. It was his serve, after all.

Dear MA,

I can't let peer judgement have much weight in this case since Obeysekere seems to be challenging the extreme cultural relativism that he claims has become dominant in post Boasian anthro. Again, I have not read the texts; I don't know whether Gannath Obeysekere is correct to charge Marshall Sahlins with a resurrection of the most pernicious aspects of Levy Bruhl's theory of pre logical mentalities (or whether Levy Bruhl's theory is so obviously pernicious; seems that Evans Pritchard didn't think so for rather profound reasons?) Judging Sahlins by the title of his rejoinder *How Natives Think*, one would think there was a return to Levy Bruhl here. At any rate, I can't imagine the debate is a simple one--though apparently it has been quite a polemical one (take note, Doug!) And I shouldn't judge books by their covers.

As I mentioned in private correspondence, I found quite interesting Stephen Lukes' criticism of Levy Bruhl in the volume he edited with Martin Hollis Rationality and Relativism (something like that). I wonder if Lukes' argument would lend support to Ob against MS. At any rate, if I read these texts, I would surely find that they have worked through Levy Bruhl, Levi Strauss, Piaget, Godelier, Horton, Foucault, Halpike, Lukes, Mudimbe, Worsley etc at a very high level of sophistication. It must be fun to be an anthropologist. I am sad that I won't have time to think this through

(I have to determine the strength of the evidence for the Brenner thesis that intl competition reduced the nominal output-capital ratio and therwith the rates of profit and accumulation in the OECD, giving rise to first much excess capacity that was not easily liquidated and then to nasty bourgeois reactions such as wage cutting, intensification of labor, competitive devaluations and the like--any thoughts?

It seems to me that R and D intensive US industries were not hit hard by intl competition until 1981, only consumer goods and the like, but the only disaggregation Brenner employs yields the div between that between mfg and service, no internal disaggregation of the former--oh hell, i wish i were an economist because it seems that the price pressure from imports in the 60s and 70s did not hit R and D intensive US mfgs so hard as to depress their profitability or world market share; if so, then we get a case not of the simple decline of US industry but of its structural transformation under the pressure of intl trade, leaving us today with an industrial base that is top heavy with capital goods production and thus most dependent on the strength of global investment demand, the determinants of which must be theorized)

But I do look forward to your postings, as well as Charles' and others', on this most important debate.

Being light skinded myself, I personally have never had problem with white men, even pale, red necked skippers.

yours, Bh

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