Still Mazzucato

Marcel Duchamp, Miles of String, 1943
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By ELEUTÉRIO FS PRADO*

Response to critical comment by Gilson Schwartz.

The author of this note has written a critical commentary – posted on the website the earth is round, on 21/04/21 – to the book by Mariana Mazzucato, The value of everything – production and appropriation in the global economy, posted under the heading the value of everything. He was not well received by Gilson Schwartz who, for this reason, addressed him with a severe criticism, also published the earth is round on 27/04/21, under the title The value of Mazzucato.

Its objective was to make a “defense of the economist, based on the criticism of Eleutério Prado”. Now, whoever reads your article will be able to notice that it does not advance any theoretical argument in favor of the thesis defended by the Italian economist. Also due to the various inaccuracies in her text, it seems that she really did not bother to read this author's book, which, as is known, has international expression. Differently, his text is dedicated exclusively to disqualifying “the criticism of Eleutério Prado” from itself.

In this critique, Schwartz accuses the chosen opponent of “making a critique that applies to its author” and not to his arguments. Well, this is false. There is no argument in this opponent's article ad hominem addressed to the economist Mazzucato, as anyone who has the patience to read it will be able to verify. His argument is respectful; seeks to stay strictly on the plane of logic. If you have the extra patience to read Schwartz's article, you can also see that it is constructed throughout as a critique ad hominem to Eleutério Prado.

According to him, “Prado situates Mazzucato's thought in the North American strand of French ideology”. This is false, as the note simply says that it is in the field of postmodernism because it explicitly treats the issue of value in economics as a matter of narrative. For Prado, in addition, according to him, “the book The value of everything turns to a modern myth: the creation of value in the economy”. Now, who says that is Mazzucato herself and not his commentator.

According to him, “the “scientific” option offered by Prado is the labor theory of value”. Now, this is also false since this topic is not addressed in the note. The latter only says that Mazzucato, instead of identifying value with use value, should find an explanation discussing exchange value like Smith, but also – it is added – Ricardo, Marx, Marshall, Walras, Jevons, Keynes, etc. Furthermore, the note does not attack “heterodox reformism” nor does it say that “without revolution, there is no solution”, as it states.

Now, this opponent's note does indeed state – and logically proves – that Mazzucato's theoretical work does not support “a critical praxis not only reproducing what exists, but truly transforming”. He does say that he does not support the thesis defended by the Italian economist, namely, that the State is crucial in capitalist accumulation (thesis with which this notary agrees), and that it, through public-private partnerships, must lead development in the advanced capitalist countries (to which this sucker – as he was raised by his accuser – disagrees as he advocates democratic socialism and does not endorse any form of authoritarian socialism).

Anyone who knows Gilson Schwartz knows that he considers himself a great intellectual, someone who always brings great innovative ideas to the public. In his own critique of Prado, he profiles himself alongside Marcos Muller, Roberto Schwarz, Gerard Lebrun and Paulo Arantes. Great partnerships! The great critic, pardon the exaggeration, has paired with giants!

On this point above all, the author of this note differs from him, as he knows his place as a mere dissatisfied economist who has chosen the difficult path of critical political economy. He declares, finally, that he feels a certain shame for participating in a pointless polemic. Had Schwartz theoretically defended Mazzucato's thesis as he should have done, the polemic might have been informative for readers of the earth is round. But he would have to read this author's book first.

* Eleutério FS Prado is a full and senior professor at the Department of Economics at USP. Author, among other books, of Complexity and praxis (Pleiad).

 

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