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Wed Mar 7, 2012, 03:36 PM

You can't keep a good man down--Karl Marx in news stories lately [View all]

Grantham wonders if Marx was right after all

“Capitalism,” he writes, “threatens our existence.”

Already, capitalism is proving that Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels were at least partially correct. They “looked forward to globalization and the supranational company because they argued it would make capitalism even more powerful, overreaching, and eventually reckless,” Grantham writes.

Globalization “would ... offer the capitalists more rope to hang themselves with ... rope ... bought from briskly competing capitalists, eager till the end for a good deal.”


• It’s about profit, not people: “Capitalism in general has no sense of ethics or conscience. Whatever the Supreme Court may think, it is not a person.”

He concluded however that workers will never rise up because robots will eventually take over the workforce (!?). I guess the rest of us just disappear or something, lol. Good luck with that Grantham.


Foxconn Raises Pay: Karl Marx Explains Why

And it is at this point that we can turn to Marx for our explanation.

The Bearded One pointed out that employers will pay as little as they can to their labour. He also pointed out that this was limited by the availability of workers. If there was that large reserve army of the unemployed then capitalists could pay very little for labour. Anyone agitating for a greater share of the profits could simply be fired and replaced.

He also pointed out that when there is no such reserve army then employers will have to bid up wages to attract the labour they desire. Yes, capitalists are in competition with each other for access to the labour they require to make profits. So, as productivity rises, as the reserve army shrinks, then wages for workers will improve as capitalists attempt to hire the workforce they desire.

He notes that labour productivity rose by 10 per cent annually from 2000 to 2010, about the same level as wages increased.

Quite: as labour productivity has increased, as the hundreds of millions of unemployed and under-employed rural peasants have found urban jobs or just improved conditions in the country side so a labour shortage has developed and thus companies must bid up wages to get the workers they want.

I’m not quite a Marxist, in the sense that I don’t believe that everything is about economics. But I would certainly plump for an economic rather than political reason for these pay rises. It’s not the calls for everyone to be nicer that are raising wages, it’s that there’s no reserve army of the unemployed left and thus wages are being bid up for purely economic reasons.

If the author doesn't think "everything is about economics", I wonder why he is writing for Forbes...maybe he wandered in by accident? And he hasn't heard the good news about the robot armies.

Karl Marx is never going to provide therapy for bankers


We're all used to hearing that old dinner-party refrain about how, despite it being a great idea in theory, communism would be impossible to implement in practice. In his Radio 4 series last year the philosopher John Gray argued something similar, observing that, although Marx was right in predicting that capitalism would eventually undermine the middle-class lifestyle, thus descending ever more of us ("the 99%" into wage slavery, he was "wrong about communism".

This is typical of the liberal-conservative view of Marx. For reformers such as Roubini, Marx was right – just not completely right. His stark truth that "history is class struggle" is deemed sufficiently provocative to make us stare down into the abyss of a precarious future with no steady income and zero social security. But having stared, we should have the good sense to step back and retrace our path somewhere else, toward a more "responsible capitalism", or toward what David Cameron calls "capitalism with a conscience". Or even (in the words of Bill Gates, another capitalist "reformer" toward a more "creative capitalism". In any case, so the opinion goes, we should take Marx seriously, not by advocating proletarian revolution, but by heeding the doom-laden warnings of the Communist Manifesto in which, "all that is solid melts into air". In this sense Marx is like the Ghost of Christmas Future, conjuring up nightmarish visions of what society will become if we don't mend our ways.

This commonsense interpretation may sound morally convincing. However, it is at odds with everything Marx actually wrote.

In Marx's early writings in particular, communism is not capitalism's evil twin. Nor is it the utopian promise of a brighter tomorrow. "Communism", writes a young Marx in 1845 "is for us not a state of affairs which is to be established, an ideal to which reality [will] have to adjust itself. We call communism the real movement which abolishes the present state of things."


Actually an interesting article that got pitilessly red-baited in the comments.

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Reply You can't keep a good man down--Karl Marx in news stories lately [View all]
Starry Messenger Mar 2012 OP
Turbineguy Mar 2012 #1
socialindependocrat Mar 2012 #2
TBF Mar 2012 #3
socialist_n_TN Mar 2012 #4
white_wolf Mar 2012 #5
socialist_n_TN Mar 2012 #8
Starry Messenger Mar 2012 #6
socialist_n_TN Mar 2012 #7