Social Scientist. v 19, no. 212-13 (Jan-Feb 1991) p. 3.

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Analytical Marxism: A Critical Overview**

The school of Analytical Marxism (henceforth, AM) has presented its work as response to certain crisis elements within Traditional Marxism (henceforth, TM). These crisis elements are both theoretico-analytical and historico-political; they involve questions about the validity of traditional Marxian categories (labor-values, exploitation, and so forth) and about the ability of TM to understand historical developments in both socialism and capitalism (Roomer 1986, 1-2 and 191). As a response to these crisis elements, AM has proposed that Marxian theory be reformulated from the standpoint of the principle of methodological individualism, and AM has indeed produced a transformation of the Marxian conceptual landscape, rejecting some concepts (Hbor values) while redefining others (exploitation).

Our own view is rather critical of AM. While we recognize that there are problems with TM, and while we agree that these problems are significant enough to require a fundamental rethinking of Marxian theory, we do not believe that AM represents a successful attempt to reconceive the structure of Marxian theory. We believe, on the contrary, that AM represents a retreat from Marxian theory and, more precisely, a retreat even from those aspects of the Marxian tradition in which AM professes an interest. We believe, moreover, that whereas AM has claimed itself to be more scientific and analytically rigorous than TM, these claims of analytical rigor are a rhetorical device that only camouflages (though, perhaps, not consciously) the retreat from Marxian theory.1

* Jack Amariglio is on the Faculty of Economics at Merrimack College; Antonio Callari teaches Economics at the Franklin and MarshallCollege; Stephen Cullenberg teaches Economics at the University of California, Riverside.

** A first version of this paper was presented at the AEA/HES session entitled Analytical Marxism at the ASSA meetings in New York, December 28-30,1988. We would like to thank Gary Dymski for his comments on and criticisms of our paper.

Social Scientist, Vol. 19, Nos. 1-2, January-February 1991

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