Chapter 11: The General Theory, Marx, Marxism and the Soviet Union
Gilles Dostaler1 When my new theory has been duly assimilated and mixed with politics and feelings and passions, I can’t predict what the final upshot will be in its effect on action and affairs. But there will be a great change, and, in particular, the Ricardian foundations of Marxism will be knocked away. Keynes to George Bernard Shaw, 1 January 1935 The boys, who cannot grow up to adult human nature, are beating the prophets of the ancient race – Marx, Freud, Einstein – who have been tearing at our social, personal and intellectual roots, tearing them with an objectivity which to the healthy animal seems morbid, depriving everything, as it seems, of the warmth of natural feeling. Keynes, ‘Einstein’, The New Statesman and Nation, 21 October 1933 INTRODUCTION There is a huge literature concerning the impact of Keynes’s General Theory on the evolution of economic theory, as well as on the development of public policy in the capitalist countries in the postwar period. In the following pages, we will examine the relations between The General Theory – which Keynes announced would knock away the Ricardian foundations of Marxism – Marx, Marxists and the first country whose government claimed to draw upon Marxism, the Soviet Union. The importance of The General Theory was such that it could not leave Marxism indifferent, or unscathed. This, of course, requires that we devote a few words to the complex love-hate relationship between Keynes and Marx. We will begin by recalling the debate between Keynes and George Bernard...
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