Magazine article Monthly Review

Last Letters: Correspondence on "Some Theoretical Implications"

Magazine article Monthly Review

Last Letters: Correspondence on "Some Theoretical Implications"

Article excerpt

Baran to Sweezy

Palo Alto, California, February 25, 1964

A few lines in haste before dashing off to campus. (1) Muchissimas gracias for the Lekachman volume; I am looking forward to perusing your contribution tonight.1 (2) In the same mail arrived your letter of the 24th. I am seriously worried about IS [The Irrational System chapter] in its present form; although there is - I believe - nothing wrong with the thoughts it contains, it will have to be somehow recast, almost for tactical reasons. Much of it somehow does not belong probably in a book by economists. But anyway, read it first and let me have your reactions; I would like to return to it after everything else is finished - if for no other reason, than simply because this provides for a "cooling off" period. (3) Meanwhile I am 2/3 done with the revision of Chapter 5 [The Sales Effort] - I think, it comes out now quite well - and aim at finishing it this week, at the latest next Monday. At that time, I'll ship it to you. (4) Could you put at the top of your priorities list a careful going over the Chapter on Conceptual Implications; this is what I must turn to soon as I am done with Chapter 5, and I would very much want to have on the desk your comments as I go at it. After that is done (no later than end of March and probably earlier) - a massive effort to revamp all of QoS [On the Quality of Monopoly Society chapters I and II] cum IS. April for QoS II (QoS I requires relatively little doing except incorporating some new data + the material on income distribution when I get it from Aron Douglas who is now working on it), and May for IS revisions and composition of the Epilogue.2 That would then be the finale. Anyway, the way I feel now is Lieber ein Ende mit Schrecken als ein Schrecken ohne Ende [Better a terrible ending than terror without end].

Your having an office out of the house is a tremendous step forward. Delighted to hear it. A further reform of some consequence would be to have the bourbon bottle at some third place (out of the house and out of the office) - then things would really start popping.

The Jack [Rackliffe] situation is most worrisome. Que faire? [What to do?] We must have a decent copy editing job done.

More later.

Sweezy to Baran

Larchmont, New York, May 2, 1964

Dear Paul,

Most of the penciled notes in the margins were written on first reading - don't remember exactly when. All the separate notes are from over the weekend. Dunno how much help any of them will be.

At some stage we must invite Huby [Leo Huberman] to read the whole ms., and we could make a point to ask him to keep an eye open for obtrusive repetitions, rasping inconsistencies of style, etc. He is of course not an economic theorist but is often very good on matters relating to form and presentation. As to straight copyediting - which I interpret to mean fixing up bad sentences, etc., as well as imposing uniformity in such things as punctuation and capitalization - we might try Vic Bernstein on one chapter and then give him the rest if we like what he does.

Chapter 10 - Theoretical Implications [Handwritten Notes]3

Section 1, paragraph that begins "Writingin 1873"

In connection with the query [on the manuscript here]: If I remember correctly - I am writing without access to Capital - Marx dated the transformation of political economy to vulgar economics from the French overturn of 1830 and specifically emphasized Senior's doctrine of abstinence as its earmark. Mill he conceded to be far above the level of the run of vulgar economists, a sort of hangover of the earlier period. He never really dealt with the subjective value theorists of the '60s and '70s, but today we would have to recognize their emergence and triumph as marking the final demise of political economy and the enthronement of apologetics. Thus I would say that this whole development antedates monopoly capital. Its explanation I would find, following Marx, in the rise of the proletariat and of socialism which gave birth to Marxism, which also antedates monocap. …

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