Marxism and the political economy of Paul Sweezy-1

Marxism and the political economy of Paul Sweezy-1 -...

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Marxism and the political economy of Paul Sweezy By Nick Beams Harvard, LSE and WW II Paul Sweezy was an American radicalists. He was born on April 10 1910. The Great Depression and the coming to power of Hitler in Germany all influenced his early development. In 1938 he became and instructor in the Economics Department at Harvard and the founder of the Harvard teacher’s union. He had a 5-year contract with Harvard as a teaching assistant and in 1942 he joined the war with 2 years left at his teaching post. He joined the OSS and was stationed in London and working on following the British economic policy. After the war he decided not to return to Harvard to teach. The Wallace campaign 1948 he became involved in the presidential candidacy of Henry Wallace Sweezy criticized the lack of socialism in the Wallace campaign He was for Rooseveltian style reforms at home, combined with a pro-Soviet oriented internationally. Sweezy and Huberman came together and made the Monthly Review which was launched in May 1949 which featured an article by Albert Einstein, “ Why Socialism?” However with the aftermath of the war the political environment had changed dramatically and the Communist view on things was looked down upon. BOTH Sweezy as well as Huberman were targeted. Hubermand was called before Senator McCarthy’s Senate committee in 1953. The New Hampshire Attorney General subpoenaed Sweezy on two occasions in 1954 as part of investigations into “subversive activities.” Similarly, Sweezy was questioned about his views of communism. Sweezy refused to answer on the basis of the first amendment to the US constitution providing for freedom of speech and was jailed for contempt of court. *** His case went to the US supreme Court and his conviction was overturned.*** Part 2: The Theory of Capitalist Development Sweezy’s views on political economy became central to what might be called the Monthly Review School. His views were formed in the late 1930’s when he began to come to grips with Marx’s analysis. In the course of the graduate seminars he sought to raise the
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level of treatment of Marx, discovering that it involved a “long hard struggle to overcome the traditions and inhibitions of a neoclassical training….it took me a long, long time before I could accept the Marxist labor value theory because I was totally accustomed to the type of thinking of marginal utility price
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This note was uploaded on 04/28/2011 for the course POLI 243 taught by Professor Markbrawley during the Spring '09 term at McGill.

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Marxism and the political economy of Paul Sweezy-1 -...

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