In any event, Wright is most interested in how socialism leads to what he calls “social empowerment,” of which there are three types. He writes that social empowerment can be “over the way state power affects economic activity” or “over the way economic power shapes economic activity” or “directly over economic activity.” Is this clear, students? Any questions about the important difference between “affects” and “shapes” or on the technical use of “over”?
Prof. Jacoby snarks that Wright “has read all of his [own] works and finds them remarkable.” Clever. My riposte: If Prof. Jacoby was in fact “startled” by what EOW wrote, then Prof. Jacoby has either not read all of his own works, or has perhaps found them unremarkable...
He might have mentioned, oh, that he’s been going after the “new left” (including EOW), with exactly the sort of attack he makes on Envisioning Real Utopias, for at least a good quarter century. In The Last Intellectuals (Basic Books 1987: p. 187), Jacoby finds it “perhaps … laudable” that Wright (1978) “wishes to ‘engage in debate with mainstream social theory.” And yet, poor Prof. Jacoby lamented then, EOW 1978 ultimately failed because his “theoretical preconditions derive from the French Brand … in which vapid definitions and pronouncements decorate occasional examples and baroque diagrams.”
Prof. Jacoby, from his own positions at UCLA and similarly high-profile places, has made many a broadside against those left intellectuals from the 1960s who ensconced themselves with tenure in the academy and — unlike the Startlingly Startled Prof. Jacoby — have turned inward and gotten self-referential (and remembered their own work). He has also written his own book about real utopias, er, pictures imperfect — which, unlike EOW’s book, does cover the history of Utopian thought (and which does give attention to a Kibbutz movement...)
Perhaps Prof. Jacoby just thinks such (self-referential?) disclosures are unnecessary. No need to mention that he’s a near lifelong antagonist of the author he is reviewing... No need to mention that he wrote a book that might be a competitor...
« Older The Doge was the leader of the Venetian Republic, ... | Endogenize Ideology: Steve Wal... Newer »
This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments
Buy a Shirt