The economist Suresh Naidu once remarked to me that there were three big problems with Karl Marx’s economics. First, Marx thought that increased investment and capital accumulation diminished labor’s value to employers and thus diminished workers’ bargaining power. Second, he could not fully grasp that rising real material living standards for the working class might well go hand in hand with a rising rate of exploitation – that is, a smaller income share for labor. And, third, Marx was fixated on the labor-theory of value.Delong has indeed "long thought" that Marx "vanishes into the swamp which is the attempt to reconcile the labor theory of value with economic reality, and never comes out." People who know Suresh Naidu and his work find it extremely unlikely that the views attributed to him by DeLong are accurate. So what's this business of attributing his muddled misconceptions to something Naidu had "once remarked" to him?
Saturday, April 5, 2014
Return of the Creature from the DeLong Lagoon
Project Syndicate published a version of Brad DeLong's ill-informed anti-Marx mutterings with an odd twist. Where his New York Times commentary had started out "I have long thought that Marx's fixation on the labor theory of value made his technical economic analyses of little worth," the Project Syndicate version attributes the unfounded criticism of Marx to Columbia University assistant professor Suresh Naidu: