Saturday, 3 June 2017

The Economist: "Karl Marx Has a Lot to Teach Today's Politicians".

Commenting on remarks John McDonnell (shadow chancellor) and Jeremy Corbyn (UK Labour leader) made around there being much to learn from reading Das Kapital and about Marx being a great economist, The Economist (May 11th) notes
"The shadow chancellor's comment provoked scorn. Yet Marx becomes more relevant by the day".

The Economist reports -- and reproaches -- the jubilant reaction of the British gutter press and Tory politicos (those "on the right", is how The Economist describes them): "The Daily Telegraph dismissed Messrs McDonnell and Corbyn as 'the Marx brothers'. The Daily Mail reminded its readers of the murderous history of communism. David Gauke, a Conservative minister, warned that 'Labour's Marxist leadership' was planning to turn Britian into a 'hard-left experiment'. He added for good measure that Marx's thinking is 'nonsensical'."

As a Marxist, I have little to object to that. There are, however, three observations I would add.

First. It would be premature to conclude from that that The Economist suddenly became a Marxist publication. It most certainly didn't (but you'll have to read that piece to understand why).

Second. The British gutter press and Tory politicos could easily -- and rightfully -- appeal to the authority of American liberal/leftish academics (among others) in support of their views.

Third. Marx may have much to teach, that doesn't mean Tory politicos or American liberal/leftish academics have the desire (or the ability) to learn.

All of which adds little to our knowledge about British yellow journalism and mediocre Tory politicians. It does say a lot about the courage and dignity of characters like Corbyn and McDonnell; it also says plenty about American liberal/leftish academics, but what it says is much less flattering.


Capitalism, it seems, is best defined as survival of the second-rate.

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