History, Evolution, and The Darwin Debate

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Marx obsolete or timely?

April 13th, 2009 · No Comments

Comment on The eonic effect and the terminal failure of marxism

This commenter wonders why we still take Marx seriously. I was critical of Marxism, but my critique is not the usual one. We can criticize Marx, that’s easy, then wonder why interest persists in his thinking: witness the fact that his Capital has sold briskly during the financial crisis.
There is no mystery to the continued appeal of Marx: it is not a question of his theories, which can be criticized or shown to be wrong.
The issue lies in his own critique of economic theories as these become ideologies. His criticisms were very original in the generation in which he lived (although mostly his ‘theories’ were gathered together from other sources in his time) in the sense of helping people respond to the shock of unadulterated capitalism in action. Without that response capitalism would never have survived: the spectacle of Manchester and its working class was too savage to endure. We live in a world of capitalism made over in response to that original critique. Because of Marx and his type, capitalism endures, because it adapted to the threat to do away with it.
I agree with the problems in Marx’s thinking and have been a persistent critic. But the current crisis has confirmed Marx’s insight that economic models and theories, the whole game of hotshot mathematical economics, can be a form of ideology, hiding a different reality. A dozen commentators on the financial crisis have been restating Marx’s insights, often without realizing it.

Tags: 1848+ · Critique of Evolutionary Economy

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