Wide of the Mark(s)
ARUN BOSE, MARXIAN AND POST-MARXIAN POLITICAL ECONOMY, Penguin Paperback, 1975. 300 pp. £ 1.60.
THE FIRST part of the book attempts to analyze the Marxian theory of value, capital and exploitation with the aim of producing a so called post-Marxian theory of capitalist exploitation. The second part attempts to provide a post-Marxian political economy applicable to contemporary capitalist and socialist economies. Both the attempts, in particular the latter, have missed the mark. What emerges is a mass of confused ideas -which at times become quite hilarious. It is somewhat astonishing to read in the preface that the author was a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain as a student and later a ^full-time Marxist communist activist in the Indian communist movement (1940-50) when there were dress rehearsals of almost all that has happened in the Indian communist movement in recent years.55' The author also says in the preface: ^'Whenever I tried to use Marxian political economy as a sacrosanct dogmatic theory, the contrast between its easy but ephemeral success in winning recruits at political conferences or in the streets and its limitations as a potent instrument for revolutionary action was brought home to me very sharply.552
After discussing Marx^ theory of value, the author proceeds to tackle the various non-Marxian theories of exploitation—the Walras-Lange-Lerner, the Pigouvian and the Ricardian socialist theories—with a view to illustrate how far these bear similarities to the Marxian theory of exploitation. Finally, we are introduced to the modern ^neo-Marxian theories of exploitation which are characterized by a revulsion against notions of class harmony in a capitalist system.5' The central focus of these theories is the ^perennial gale of worker-capitalist class antagonism55 based on the inverse relation between profits and wages.
Then comes the attempt at a ^demystification55 of the Marxian