Posts tagged ‘Karl Marx’

April 3, 2014

Was Marx Right?

marx

For Karl Marx’s birthday last year, his hometown of Trier, Germany, displayed 500 figures by Ottmar Hoerl. Thomas Wieck/Agence France-Presse-Getty Images

In the golden, post-war years of Western economic growth, the comfortable living standard of the working class and the economy’s overall stability made the best case for the value of capitalism and the fraudulence of Marx’s critical view of it. But in more recent years many of the forces that Marx said would lead to capitalism’s demise – the concentration and globalization of wealth, the permanence of unemployment, the lowering of wages – have become real, and troubling, once again.

The fall of communism discredited Marx’s political vision. But, as observers have wondered before, is his view of our economic future being validated?

Here’s the voice of reason in the debate:

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September 16, 2011

Marx is hot 3

Marx to Market: The economic crisis has made the philosopher’s ideas relevant again, but the world shouldn’t forget what Marx got wrong. By 

 

Society generally moves on from its mistakes. Doctors no longer drain blood from patients. Aviators don’t try to fly by strapping wings to their arms. Nobody still thinks that slavery is a good idea. Karl Marx, though, appears to be an exception to the rule of live and learn. Marx’s most famous predictions failed; there has been no dictatorship of the proletariat, nor has the state withered away. His followers included some of the 20th century’s worst mass murderers: Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot. Yet the gloomy, combative philosopher seems to find adherents in each new generation of tyrants and dreamers.

You might even say the Bearded One has rarely looked better. [READ THE REST]

September 6, 2011

Marx is hot 2

From the BBC:

Plastic bust sculpture of Karl Marx

Karl Marx may have been wrong about communism but he was right about much of capitalism, John Gray writes.

As a side-effect of the financial crisis, more and more people are starting to think Karl Marx was right. The great 19th Century German philosopher, economist and revolutionary believed that capitalism was radically unstable. [READ MORE]

George Magnus (UBS): Give Karl Marx a Chance to Save the World Economy

Karl Marx and the World Economy

Policy makers struggling to understand the barrage of financial panics, protests and other ills afflicting the world would do well to study the works of a long-dead economist: Karl Marx. The sooner they recognize we’re facing a once-in-a-lifetime crisis of capitalism, the better equipped they will be to manage a way out of it.

The spirit of Marx, who is buried in a cemetery close to where I live in north London, has risen from the grave amid the financial crisis and subsequent economic slump. The wily philosopher’s analysis of capitalism had a lot of flaws, but today’s global economy bears some uncanny resemblances to the conditions he foresaw.

Consider, for example, Marx’s prediction of how the inherent conflict between capital and labor would manifest itself. As he wrote in “Das Kapital,” companies’ pursuit of profits and productivity would naturally lead them to need fewer and fewer workers, creating an “industrial reserve army” of the poor and unemployed: “Accumulation of wealth at one pole is, therefore, at the same time accumulation of misery.” [READ MORE]

 

 

August 25, 2011

Karl Marx is hot

Karl Marx

Image by Dunechaser via Flickr

Joe Weisenthal in Business Insider:

With things going the way they are, a lot of people are talking about big history in action, whether it’s the breakup of the Eurozone, or the simultaneous market/economic/political spasm happening in the US.

Today Paul Krugman reminds us once again that this could be 1937 all over again.

Simon Johnson thinks it could be even worse: The long depression of the 1870s all over again.

Recently Nouriel Roubini got a lot of attention for saying that Marx basically got the battle between labor and capital correct, and that capitalism itself now stood on the brink of collapse.

And even on Wall Street…

UBS’ George Magnus has a big piece out on political economy favorably quoting Karl Marx[…]

Again, you know it’s a real panic when everyone’s trotting out the old guys, and even capitalists think Marx got the endgame right.

Here’s what Roubini said:

“Karl Marx said it right. At some point capitalism can self-destruct itself because you cannot keep on shifting income from labor to capital without having excess capacity and a lack of aggregate demand,” Roubini said. “That’s what’s happening. We thought the markets work. They’re not working.”

Zombie Marx

Recommended reading, following on from the above: Mike Beggs in Jacobin on “Zombie Marx”, starting with Brad DeLong’s attacks on David Harvey, but moving on to a fascinating discussion of which elements of Marx’s economic theory are relevant today, and how we should approach Marx’s work. Also read: Norman Geras on gravediggers and skeletons.