Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Look here upon this picture and on this,...

Piero Sraffa, economist, Ricardian,  5 August 1898 – 3 September 1983.  Author of  The Production of Commodities by Means of Commodities, sometime fellow of Trinity College Cambridge, interlocutor of Wittgenstein, who personally faced down Mussolini's demands upon him and subsequently was given refuge in Cambridge at the instigation of John Maynard Keynes.

Angels are not neo-Ricardians but Sraffa's contributions to economic thought and his intellectual importance in the history of economic theory can only be saluted.  A man Cambridge can be proud to own as an outstanding intellectual of infinite courtesy and great, if retiring, charm.

Eric Hobsbawm, Communist, dead this week. Sometime fellow of King's College Cambridge.  Refused a lectureship by Cambridge he obtained one from Birkbeck, University of London and then complained he wasn't promoted because of his political ideology.  Never resigned from the Communist Party of Great Britain.  never flinched in the face of the tens of millions of deaths and the even greater numbers of lives ruined under realised socialism in Europe.  A man Cambridge can be proud to have refused (though King's might feel discomfort in accommodating him) and whose maltreatment of the English language is among the many things hard to forgive.


6 comments:

Nick Drew said...

nicely juxtaposed, HG

I was reading this review the other day

Her premise is that dismissive disgust at blood spilt and life lost is an edifying [sic] but overly simplistic and apolitical response to revolution past and present... On her account, the price of the Terror was "a sacred transaction in which the foundation of values required the death of men, in which body and soul had to be committed, and anyone could perish from fear or be overcome by disgust. This in my view is the forgotten price of the Revolution, the buried price of the Terror – a price that is indissociably moral and political at once, and that lies in discomfort, risk and a gamble" ...the reader should approach terror and terrorism without ideological fears and taboos, as a crucial contribution not only to the history of the emancipatory movements but also as a reflection on our own predicament. Do not be afraid of [it]; the fear that prevents you from confronting it is the fear of freedom, of the price one has to pay for freedom.

what can we do with these people ?

Elby the Beserk said...

Hobsbawm, however fine a historian he nay have been, was to the end prepared to accept the slaughter of millions, had it led to the true revolution.

For that alone he should have been publicly excoriated on his death, not the subject of endless hagiographies.

Elby the Beserk said...

There used to be an excellent lecture on "Can there be an after Socialism"; sadly it is no longer available, but can be bought or hired (uh?) here

http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=135511

or seen on video here

http://vimeo.com/21613629

He tackles explicitly the Left's refusal to take responsibility for their past of mass slaughter.

hatfield girl said...

What can we do with these people? They are drunk on words. To speak, for them, is as valid as to do. Of course it isn't, so we can ignore them; or point to their wordy silliness and try to keep them out of our universities etc., but then we have to put up with Hobsbawm-style cries of discrimination, censorship...

hatfield girl said...

I'll have o watch the video Elby, before responding.

lilith said...

Oh yes