What if Marx was Right?by Art Jacobson on Jul. 26, 2011, under Economics, Marxism, Politics
It’s an interesting question. I’m prompted to ask it as the result of throwaway comments I’ve heard at social gatherings over the past six months.
On three or four occasions I’ve been at informal social events at which, inevitably, a general discussion of our current political and economic problems arose. Nothing too deep and intense, mind you; but discussions that reflected unease and puzzlement, and extreme dissatisfaction with the state of our nation.
This was, after all, the cocktail party banter of well-educated and solidly middle class people, but underlying it seemed to be the sense that their lives had somehow slipped out of their control…in ways and for reasons that they couldn’t understand.
Then someone said, “Wow, maybe Marx was right after all.” People chuckled and moved on to other topics. I doubt I would have heard any such comment ten years ago.
Were such comments made by folks who had read Marx? I seriously doubt it. Were they “Marxists?” I believe that even Marx denied he was one of those. But they were educated men and women who probably remembered enough of some introductory college course to know that there was an analysis of our economic system that took a critical view of it.
The human mind loves interpretive schemas, ways of organizing data that help to make sense of what we are having trouble understanding. What if we turn to Marx simply as providing a gestalt into which we could pour our current experience. Would we be clearer about the condition in which we find ourselves?
Remains to be seen. But why reject the opportunity to see what we might learn from such an experiment.