Marxism reborn?

Marxism also is a surprisingly effective tool in social science in order to explain people’s motives. E.g. anthropologist Eric Wolf used a Marxist perspective in ‘Europe and the people without history’. Likewise Nolan argues:  “Karl Marx more than Adam Smith understood the progressive power of capitalism in unifying the world. Marx predicted that capital would be concentrated in the hands of a few, making possible rapid technological progress.” Nouriel Roubini famously said ‘Marx was right’.

Marx believed that his crisis & concentration theory would lead to revolution since wealth would increasingly be concentrated into the hands of fewer people and the poor would revolt. So far this theory is on track except for the revolutionary part which may have been wishful thinking, but the jury is still out. Increasing centralization and automation also means fewer hands are necessary to do the same jobs leading to jobless recoveries, increasing inequalities and insufficient alternatives in sight that could assist the jobless to find meaningful employment. Played right, robotics can liberate mankind from menial labour if the spoils of such labours can be shared in a fashion that doesn’t turn us all into grumpy couch potatoes.

While Marxism is a pretty tight theory it still is a rather crude abstraction that reduces people’s motives to pure economical ones. Marx’ own humanism and his deeply felt concerns about the poor and needy are a strong argument against his own theories. The rise of the social democracy also created a solid collective answer to the potential bluntness of capitalist forces.

And it turns out that those places who most strongly claimed to embrace Marx, generated his verelendung in the most graphic of fashions. Chinese concentration camps continue to attest to that.

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/28d1a4a8-e7ba-11e2-babb-00144feabdc0.html