chapter  1
11 Pages

Recollections

ByDORIA PILLING, KAZUTO IIDA, DOT GIBSON

Doria Pilling writes: Geoff was planning a publication of a collection of his academic work before his untimely death in August 1997. The title of the present volume, the major part of its content, and the order of the chapters are as he planned. Chapter 5, ‘A “third industrial revolution”? Marxism and the productive forces’ is published here for the first time. Chapter 8, ‘A very peculiar capitalism’ appeared originally in Thames Papers in Political Economy, but the version included here was consider­ ably re­ worked by Geoff. Chapter 7, ‘On disinterring Karl Marx’ was also exten­ sively re­ written by Geoff since it appeared as a book review in Workers International Press in 1997. The other chapters consist of previously published articles and chapters from his books. Geoff was born in 1940 in Ashton­ under­Lyne in Greater Manchester, formerly a thriving cotton mill town, famous for its market. His parents were working­ class, his father being a self­ employed window cleaner for many years, and then working in the market. His mother worked as a secretary for a firm of carpet-fitters. Both parents encouraged him educationally and he went to Audenshaw Grammar School and then Leeds University to study economics. He obtained his BA in 1961 nar­ rowly missing getting a first-class degree. He held posts as a lecturer in economics at Sheffield and Bradford universities, and joined Middlesex Polytechnic (later Middlesex University) in 1969, where he eventually obtained a readership. In 1983 he obtained a PhD from Kingston Polytechnic entitled The Nature and Significance of Marx’s Critique of Classical Political Economy. The originality and impact of Geoff ’s academic work are detailed in the speech that Ben Fine made at his Memorial Meeting at Middlesex University in November 1997, which is included in the Foreword to this book, and in Keith Gibbard’s Introduction to the book. His ideas reached across the world, as is made clear in the specially written contribution by the Japanese economist, Kazuto Iida, translator into Japanese of Geoff ’s The Crisis of Keynesian Economics: A Marxist View.1 Geoff ’s penetrating and painstaking critiques of orthodox British Marxist political economists and of Keynesianism were never made in the pursuit of academic recognition. As Cliff Slaughter, lecturer at Leeds and Bradford Universities and Marxist scholar, wrote to me, after Geoff died:

Everybody knows that he had great talent, but most important of all, about Geoff, was that he never had a single thought of directing that talent to any other purpose than the cause of the working class from which he came. He had no thought of personal ‘success’ or self advancement, but proceeded always with great intellectual courage to defend the cause of working class emancipation and the theory necessary to achieve that emancipation, against every enemy of the working class and socialism, and against all those who falsified those theories and ideals. . . . He gave his whole life to what he pas­ sionately believed in, and no more can be said of any man.