Bogdanov – Catching-Up with Paul Mason

Mentioned in the recent Bogdanov post having missed the references in Paul Mason’s PostCapitalism, which was a little embarrassing given how thoroughly and positively I’d read and reviewed it.

So, this afternoon, I re-read all the Bogdanov references in PostCapitalism.

Strangely I did recognise all of it. The thought experiment of the “Martian” Marxism in Bogdanov’s Red Star where real-time (& perfect) information are brought to the project is pretty central, as is his divergence from Lenin. I even mentioned the perfect-real-time information fallacy in one of my reviews, but then there is a great deal of Marxist history in Mason’s book, which wasn’t my main focus.

What I missed the significance of was Bogdanov as the first “systems thinker”. And I missed the fixed-objective (top-down) vs evolving-relational (peer-to-peer) model aspect of the Lenin-Bogdanov disagreement, even though I also picked-up on the move away from objective-materialism in my reviews. Funny how the mind works.

It wasn’t until I saw the fundamental-physical / metaphysical aspect of the relational-evolution model in Rovelli’s Helgoland, that I made the connection with Bodganov by name. When an expressly Marxist economics journalist writes about the history of Marxism under Lenin – whatever – but when a public-intellectual fundamental-physicist does so – the cognitive dissonance smacks you between the eyes.  Again, as I said in both reviews, so much of the same material I’d already come to from first principles synthesis of other sources. Nevertheless, intriguing.

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