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View Diary: Conservative misunderstanding of the economy: The fundamental issue of the hour. (63 comments)

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  •  Sorry, but you're mistaken. (0+ / 0-)

    Government does form capital. It pools dollars together from disparate sources, scattered across the country, just like a private sector business. It also borrows, just like a private company -- though at a much lower rate.

    (Currently, less than zero)

    And, of course, it prints dollars and creates our coins, sets the value, establishes trade with the rest of the world, defends the currency, etc. etc.

    Money begins with government, not the private sector. Take away government, and currency has no set value.

    And, since workers create value, and workers exist in both the public and private sector, one is incorrect in asserting that only the private sector can "create wealth", blah blah blah.

    Labor creates wealth, and labor doesn't care if an endeavor is for-profit or non-profit, private sector or public.

    And if we really get down to brass tacs, the public sector is far more efficient, if it's left alone by private business. If it doesn't have to worry about privatization and private business skimming off the top, it is more efficient and can give end users more bang for the buck. The private sector can't compete with it on value, because of its much higher overhead.

    But that's a subject for another diary.  

    •  But no, it your error (0+ / 0-)

      Pooling dollars is NOT forming capital, and no economist has ever, that I have seen, used the term in this fashion. But perhaps you could cite some sources for your view.

      And again, money does not begin with government. Were this true, there would be no need or rationale for taxation—government would simply print pieces of paper and stamp out coins and that would be it: value created, Q.E.D.
      BTW—take away the government and people will exchange gold, diamonds and other valuables just as has always been the case in the absence of government. Odd, isn't it?

      And again: workers only create value if they produce something over and above the worth of their labor. Certainly workers for governments do things that are necessary and worthwhile, but unless their employer realizes some profit above and beyond the cost of their employment, no wealth gets created. Labor sells its output and does not care whether it for a non-profit or for-profit enterprise, as you say. Which is as good an illustration as you could hope for of the fact that workers don't create value. The only thing that could create value is someone, the employer, in some way selling on the result of the labor.

      And so far as efficiency goes, you must surely be  joking. I live in New York City, were the skimming of public funds by public employees and political insiders is the daily fare of our newspapers. You live in a country where one department alone, the GSA, apparently so sloshes with cash that it can shell out several hundreds of millions of dollars annually to put on lavish conventions, that can have 4 full-time employees who supposedly plan such shindigs, yet also hire a "consultant" for another $750K to plan the same things the staff planners were hired for. Or perhaps you live in California, where this week the the leader of those wondrous civil servants in the "non-profit" SEIU is indicted for appropriating hundreds of thousands of dollars (not to mention the half million or so his wife sucked out). Ah, efficiency!

      •  "Creating wealth." What a moronic phrase. (0+ / 0-)

        Capitalists don't create wealth. They extract it -- from workers, consumers and the earth.

        And this is really twisted:

        And again: workers only create value if they produce something over and above the worth of their labor. Certainly workers for governments do things that are necessary and worthwhile, but unless their employer realizes some profit above and beyond the cost of their employment, no wealth gets created
        You have the dynamic backwards. Workers create value. Workers create the total value of goods and services for the company. They make the goods on the shop floor. They account for it. They support it. They sell it. Their labor creates the value of the good or service in question. Without their labor, there is nothing.

        Ownership? They take the lion's share of the value created by their workforce. They derive virtually all of their compensation through the drastic short-changing of their workforce for the value it creates. Ownership pays itself by radically underpaying its workforce. It takes the difference between the value they create and radically suppressed wages it pays. The more ownership wants for itself, the less it can pay to the workforce that creates value. And since 1973, it has suppressed wages for the rank and file like never before.

        Take away workers, and you have nothing. Take away the owner, and as long as workers manage themselves, democratically, the product or service will still be created. Ownership and executive management are expendable elements in the game. Workers are not.

        And thanks for showing your true colors with your bogus claims about the SEIU and the GAO.

        Yes, there is corruption. But who does the corrupting? That's why I said that if the public sector were left alone, if the private sector got out of its way, if it stopped endlessly lobbying the government, endlessly trying to bribe it, we'd be golden. It is the private sector that corrupts and destroys good government. It is their mission to do so, as it has the dual effect of increasing returns for business and destroying the public's trust in its only potential agent in this system.  

        Oh, and the reason our government doesn't just hang on to the money it alone prints and coins? We have a capitalist economy and the government works for capitalists. The public sector could easily do without the private, if we evolved as a people to see the logic in it. And the logic is inescapable, as only a fraction of the population (business interests) controls the economic destiny of the majority in our system. The majority should rule instead.

         

        •  Extraction (0+ / 0-)

          Capitalist don't create...they extract
          They take the lion's share...
          Short-changing...underpaying...suppressed wages
          Etc., etc.

          My apologies. I hadn't realized that you were merely spouting Marxist rubbish, not economics. I should not have bothered.

          As for the bogus claims about the SEIU, here you go:
          http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/...

          Solidarity forever through the selfless efforts of our union leaders. But ya know, there's a difference between supporting the right to unionize and burying your head in sand. Do look up sometime.

          •  It is extraction. Not rubish. Extraction. (0+ / 0-)

            Calling something "Marxist" isn't an argument. It's just a confused attempt to denigrate a factual analysis with what you think is a slam.

            It's not a slam. It's a compliment. Marx was the most brilliant critic of capitalism in our history, and those who follow him have added to his insights, broadened their sweep, and improved even more on his already excellent diagnoses.

            Yes, it is a fact that business owners have suppressed rank and file wages since 1973. From 1947-1973, they actually grew at a rate that exceeded those at the top -- the only time that has happened (year to year) in the history of capitalism.

            That's not even debatable.

            Yes, it is a fact that workers produce total value for a business and ownership derives its income from the underpayment of wages. The more they make, the more they've underpaid their employees. If it paid fair wages for the value created by that workforce, minus all of its own input, it could never make 400 times as much as its employees. Larry Ellison, for instance, made well over 10,000 times his own rank and file last year (one billion in compensation). Ownership would struggle earning even 10 to 1, George Orwell's favored ratio.

            You want to talk about union leadership stealing from the rank and file? Ownership has done that since the beginning of capitalist enterprise, and never moreso than today.

            As for that union boss. You think one corrupt union boss indicts SEIU and all unions? Sorry. It doesn't. And if you applied the same standard to capitalist ventures, you would have pronounced capitalism beyond redemption as soon as you were able to think and reason for yourself.

            •  Hi! (0+ / 0-)

              What's your name?
              Labor.
              What do you do?
              I create value.
              How?
              I move things from place to place?
              How does that create value?
              Because I get paid.
              Who pays you?
              The boss.
              Why does he pay you?
              So that I will move things.
              Any things?
              No, just the things he wants moved.
              Moved anywhere?
              No, just where he tells me to move them.
              How does this create value?
              Because he pays me.
              But only for moving specific things to specific places?
              Yes.
              So, the value comes not from the moving, but from knowing which things to move where?
              I guess so.
              Then the value comes primarily from the knowing, not the moving?
              I guess so.

              Thanks, Labor. Nice talking to you.

              •  Are you joking? Or just a typical conservative? (0+ / 0-)

                You think Labor just "moves things"?

                They build the products consumers purchase. That creates "value." All of it. They service those products. They support those products. They go to your house to fix and repair and install goods and services.

                They make the products with their own hands on the shop room floor. They support and account for and sell those products.

                Ownership doesn't.

                Labor does.

                Labor creates value. There is no value without Labor. Ownership just extracts their compensation from the value created by Labor. They drastically underpay Labor for the value Labor creates to derive ownership's obscene compensation.

                Seriously. You don't have a clue about how the economy works.

                •  Clueless (0+ / 0-)

                  How did labor decide what to build? Who designed it? Who will take it from labors hands and, as they say, monetize it (i.e., make it actually, not potentially, valuable). Who will provide a place to work and pay wages until such monetization occurs. That will be the work of the entrepreneur, the guy whi knows what to do and what to do with it. You, too, my friend, could use a clue—and a very, very basic economics text.

                  •  You're just another cultist. (0+ / 0-)

                    Lost in the cult of the "job creator".

                    Anyone can decide what to build. The public should decide, based upon need and environmental sustainability. But in our system, private business interests decide. Which is why we have so much waste and our landfills keep growing exponentially. Which is why all of our stores send back mountains of unsold goods every year. It's also why we lead the developed world in inequality. Because virtually everything in America is privatized. Which means it's instantly far less efficient, more wasteful and a train wreck for the planet.

                    So, yeah, I'll give you that. In our system, a business owner decides. So? The results of those decisions aren't much to brag about.

                    Next: Very few business owners do the designing. That's extremely rare. Chalk that one up for Labor, too. Labor also sells the products and services them once they leave Labor's (manufacturing) hands.

                    Chalk another one up for Labor. Yes, ownership sets the price, with input from his or her workforce . . . accountants, market research, sales, etc.

                    As for the place of work. Typically, business owners borrow the money for that. And/or they take on investors. Once the business is up and running, they depend primarily on consumer revenue, which doesn't happen if Labor doesn't create the value consumers buy. Ownership also rents that workspace to Labor, overcharging them for that space through a reduction in their wages. Overcharging them for that rent well beyond the point where the space is paid for many times over.

                    And thanks for following the usual conservative pattern. When you can't get anywhere with your argument, you resort to silly nonsense about intro to economics textbooks.

                    I'm decades past an intro to economics, bud. Along with reading my share of Marxist economists, I also read Krugman, Stiglitz, Dean Baker, Robert Kuttner, John Quiggin and the folks at Naked Capitalism, etc. etc. Judging from your own incoherent statements here, I doubt you've spent any time studying economics at all, opting instead for Ayn Rand, a third-rate mind and a fourth-rate writer.

                    Unfortunately, her followers are even worse.

                    •  3rd Rate Minds (0+ / 0-)

                      No, I think I'll leave that designation to you and yours. Frankly, anyone who thinks Marx and his brain-dead epigoni make for intelligible economic theory long ago checked his brains at the library door. Your descriptions here of production, markets, efficiencies and value are entirely laughable. Happily, that part of the world which has survived the depredations inflicted in the name of Marxism (as they now curse his name), will daily leave that bad joke in the dust. Ciao.

                      •  You've already lost the debate when . . . (0+ / 0-)

                        you dismiss Marxism because of the revolutions that took his name but never applied his theories. It tells me you've never read him, nor have you read those who built upon his works.

                        Three mainstream Marxists you should read, before you put your foot in your mouth again:

                        David Harvey,
                        http://davidharvey.org/

                        Richard Wolff
                        http://rdwolff.com/

                        and Terry Eagleton.
                        http://chronicle.com/...

                        An important excerpt from that article:

                        The truth is that Marx was no more responsible for the monstrous oppression of the communist world than Jesus was responsible for the Inquisition. For one thing, Marx would have scorned the idea that socialism could take root in desperately impoverished, chronically backward societies like Russia and China. If it did, then the result would simply be what he called "generalized scarcity," by which he means that everyone would now be deprived, not just the poor. It would mean a recycling of "the old filthy business"—or, in less tasteful translation, "the same old crap." Marxism is a theory of how well-heeled capitalist nations might use their immense resources to achieve justice and prosperity for their people. It is not a program by which nations bereft of material resources, a flourishing civic culture, a democratic heritage, a well-evolved technology, enlightened liberal traditions, and a skilled, educated work force might catapult themselves into the modern age.
                        Two excellent websites for further reading:

                        http://monthlyreview.org/

                        http://climateandcapitalism.com/

                        •  Terrible misunderstandings (0+ / 0-)

                          Gee, does this also mean that Milton Friedman was in no way responsible for the undoubted misuse of his thought in, say, Chile?

                          I have read a great deal of Marx and of Marxists—I did my graduate work in political theory and teach it today. But it's interesting to know that Russia, China, Albania, N. Korea, Hungary, Poland, E. Germany, N. Vietnam, Romania, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Yemen (etc.) all somehow arrived at the same misunderstandings, which (misguidedly, to be sure) necessitated tyranny, oppression, misery, and death for many millions. Myself, I might just begin to wonder what it was about Marxism that lent itself to such misunderstandings and results. You, I see, are eager to get started again. Me, not so much.

                          There is good news, however, Just yesterday I sold off my copy of Adorno's Negative Dialectics through Amazon. That creates room on the shelves for something worthwhile.

                          •  Again, are you joking? (0+ / 0-)

                            You list numerous countries that had no say in the matter, coming out of the divisions of WWII. They were taken over by the Soviet Union, against their will. Part of the world was essentially partitioned. Come on. You want to claim them as independently arriving at the decision on their own?

                            You can't be a teacher. You're just too ignorant when it comes to history, economics and political theory.

                            (BTW, your comment about Labor and its function is nothing short of laughable.)

                            Obviously, you haven't read Marx or those who have built upon his criticism in the last two centuries. If you had, you'd know that virtually nothing done in the Soviet Union, China or Cuba followed his ideas.

                            He was a humanitarian, a small d democrat, a liberationist and an emancipator. There was no democracy in any of those nations or satellites you mention above. The people never owned the means of production, as he stipulated they must. And, again, as Eagleton correctly notes, he never would have tried revolution in countries a century behind the rest, unable to create surpluses.

                            Ironic that some on the right think they're critiquing Marx when they complain that his ideas lead to the "sharing of misery." He said (himself) that this would happen if revolutions took place in countries that couldn't feed and clothe and house themselves prior to the revolution. If a nation was basically Feudal in effect, he said it wouldn't work.

                            So, again, right off the bat, they weren't following him. And they never implemented real socialism, much less communism -- which is the withering away of the state until its absence.

                            I think we've had other discussions, with you using another handle, right? You claimed you were a teacher in those as well, but everything you wrote indicated that you're nothing but another brainwashed righty, who likely reads fringe wingnuts like the Austrians, Rand and their followers.

                          •  Sadly (0+ / 0-)

                            I've read all too much Marx. And have had actual conversation with people like Eagleton—one of those people best characterized as a first-rate, second-rate mind. And will be teaching an intro political philosophy course starting in a few weeks—but no Marx: Artistotle's Politics, Machiavelli's Prince, Locke Letter on Toleration, Rousseau's Discourse on Inequality, and Mill On Liberty.

                            But I have never used any other name here, object to the insulting charge of brainwashing, admit to having read Rand (in high school, about 45 years ago) and admit further to reading all sorts of crap, including both Marx and Mies—it's quite literally part of my job description.

                            You have a naive, rose-colored view of Marx, his followers, and the fully-expected consequences of his doctrines. I leave you to it. Me, I'll return to Aristotle and trouble you no more.

                          •  You have yet to critique Marx. I'm waiting. (0+ / 0-)

                            All you have done is dismiss him out of hand based upon the severe bastardization of his ideas from those who later sought power through any means necessary.

                            You can't implicate Marx based on the obscene distortions of his works by others. If you've read a ton of him -- and we all know you haven't -- you would be able to rattle off what Marx specifically wrote that causes you to dismiss him out of hand. Be specific.

                            And, if you want to continue the blame game you play above, then you'd also condemn all capitalism based upon (at least) its first and largest foray into international trade:

                            Slavery.

                            Capitalism was built on slavery and genocide. It was built on the rape and plunder of indigenous peoples, and it didn't improve all that much from that point on, until democracies checked its runaway powers centuries later. They didn't check them enough, and those minor checks have eroded with the advent of neoliberalism (1970s to the present), but democracies at least reduced some of capitalism's natural destruction of workers' rights, civil rights, consumer safety and the planet. Unfortunately, now governments around the world are also working together to make sure capitalism (a form of cancer) spreads into every nook and cranny of the globe, without opposition. National borders are no longer a defense, as organizations like the World Bank and the WTO can obliterate them and force sovereign nations to open themselves up to corporate plunder.

                            But you go on dismissing Marx based upon the distortions some of his supposed followers put in place, while ignoring the horrific history of capitalism. Your hypocrisy is duly noted.

                          •  I know you don't read (0+ / 0-)

                            actual responses. My initial criticism of Marx is contained in what I wrote about the absurd conceptions of labor and value you put forward. I explained what I thought and why. You, however, have done little more than dismiss them with insults, not substance.

                            You put forward silly assertions, such as "capitalism was built on slavery and genocide," that you imagine are so glaringly obvious as to need neither definition nor defense. Sorry, but they do. You likewise toss about terms such as capitalism, slavery, genocide, neoliberalism, etc. as if everyone had already agreed on what these things refer to and that something called capitalism had caused them. Sorry—needs work. A lot of work.

                            In any case, I need not distort Marx in the slightest. He bases his convoluted theories on undemonstrated and undemonstrable declarations that property is merely expropriation and that the only source of value is labor (understood as an undifferentiated product). From this it must follow that even ordinary commerce is the trafficking in unjustly acquired goods made possible by the unjust exploitation of the labor of others. Since I reject the most fundamental of his assertions, I easily reject what follows from them.

                            And I haven't even yet gotten to the seriously wacky Hegel-on-his-head stuff with the inevitability of historical movement and, my very favorite, the reification of consciousness (I suspect yours may suffer from this dire malady). And, of course, we have those great moments of prescience, in which Karl foretold the steadily  lengthening working day (because of automation), the proletariat everywhere thrown into dire poverty, and, of course, the absolutely inevitable rising up and overthrowing of the capitalist exploiters.

                            That's a good top-of-my-head start. But please, wake me when the revolutionary vanguard gets to the gates—I'll want be there to help pass out the Adidas and iPads.

                          •  Yes, I've read your responses. (0+ / 0-)

                            And, no, you didn't critique Marx prior to this silly attempt.

                            Marx didn't say the workday would lengthen because of automation. He said automation would put people out of work. Thus increasing the army of surplus workers, which further erodes Labor power and wages. He witnessed the lengthening of the workday first hand, and was correct about that. Capitalists lengthened it in order to increase their surplus value. Instead of raising wages, they demanded Labor work longer hours at the same pay rate.

                            Today, they call that "increased productivity."

                            And, yes, the proletariat was thrown into dire poverty, and Marx was by no means alone in writing about this. Ever hear of a fellow named Charles Dickens? Or, maybe Upton Sinclair? Or, perhaps, John Steinback -- just to name three novelists.

                            Marx was actually quite mainstream in his analysis of a factual, existing tragedy. But, because he told the truth about people in power, he was demonized, and still is demonized, by those people in power. And those in power have a ton of resources at their disposal to make that demonization happen and, unfortunately, stick.

                            They can't actually defend their own system, so they've done all they can to bury those who are opposed to it. They can't argue with Marx and those who have built upon his legacy, toe to toe, idea for idea, so they make sure they're not even allowed into the conversation.

                            And you repeat their dirty work for them. You drank the plutocratic koolaid, and it's blinded you. Or, you know capitalism is a cancer, and you just don't care. You'd rather be on the winning side right now -- to hell with the losers.

                            I still don't think you're a teacher. And if you are, as I mentioned in that other thread, I pity your students.

                          •  Pity (0+ / 0-)

                            Mine is for your inability to distinguish between perfectly ordinary sorts of inequalities and injustices that are expected between rich and poor and between employer and employee, and the vast, vapid spinning of an imaginary web of historical inevitabilities, class consciousnesses, and what-all that is the Marxian 'analysis' and then revolutionary prescription. Instead, let me suggest a week with Aristotle's Politics and Rousseau's Discourse on Inequality. You will then know all you need to know about how the world works, and you will not need the clutter of Marx or Marxists.

                            And once again, you spout platitudes about capitalism and cancer and plutocratic kool-aid with the assurance of the True Believer who feels not the slightest necessity to prove his point. And rest assured, you haven't.

                            Nor have you understood Dickens, a man who saw life's injustices clearly—even those of the French Revolution. As for Upton Sinclair, I always thought that it said a great deal about how poorly he understood human nature that it puzzled him how he could aim his Jungle at the nation's head but only hit its stomach. There is also something perpetually entertaining about the Lanny Budd books—a Socialist zillionaire who zips from soirée to champagne soirée in his latest fast car, that champion of the of masses who could both have and eat his cake. I'm afraid I'm rather down on Steinbeck, ever since it was discovered that much of his Travels With Charlie was actually a fictional confection of imaginary conversations, with Steinbeck spending more nights in comfy hotels than in that trailer. Me, I suggest you rent Ninotchka again—more verisimilitude.

                            BTW, you ought to know your boy Karl a little better. Even I, whose copy of Capital has languished in the basement for probably 20 years, had little trouble finding this discussion of how mechanization undoubtedly will lengthen the work day. Ah, Marxian prescience!

                            IX.xv.1
                            Like every other increase in the productiveness of labour, machinery is intended to cheapen commodities, and, by shortening that portion of the working-day, in which the labourer works for himself, to lengthen the other portion that he gives, without an equivalent, to the capitalist. In short, it is a means for producing surplus-value....

                            IV.XV.44
                            When machinery is first introduced into an industry, new methods of reproducing it more cheaply follow blow upon blow, and so do improvements, that not only affect individual parts and details of the machine, but its entire build. It is, therefore, in the early days of the life of machinery that this special incentive to the prolongation of the working day makes itself felt most acutely.

                            IV.XV.45
                            Given the length of the working day, all other circumstances remaining the same, the exploitation of double the number of workmen demands, not only a doubling of that part of constant capital which is invested in machinery and buildings, but also of that part which is laid out in raw material and auxiliary substances. The lengthening of the working day, on the other hand, allows of production on an extended scale without any alteration in the amount of capital laid out on machinery and buildings. Not only is there, therefore, an increase of surplus-value, but the outlay necessary to obtain it diminishes. [italics added]

                            I'm tempted to say, just as you gratuitously call me a liar with regard to my employment, I should suspect that you've never actually read the Marx you proudly wave about. OTOH, who could really blame you for not wishing to read the unreadable.?

                          •  You are a very, very poor reader. (0+ / 0-)

                            Marx is clearly saying -- as he says elsewhere in his writings -- that a laborer will work a certain portion of his day to earn his wages, but the rest of the time he works to create surplus value for his employer. In the three sections you cite, that is what he is talking about.

                            And this is empirically true.

                            (That is what he means by the lengthening of the day)

                            For instance, a typical worker on an auto-parts assembly line earns his day's pay in his or her first hour. For the next seven hours, he or she works to increase profit for the boss.

                            Or, to put it another way: In order to match output with wage, that worker need only work an hour. The rest is pure gravy for his employer, none of which he shares.

                          •  Reading comprehension (0+ / 0-)

                            Let's try it in simple bits for those challenged by long sentences.
                            quote 1: machinery produces things for less money. Without it, much of what is paid for in labor goes into the value of the product. Lengthen the working day, however, and labor becomes a much lower percentage of the cost, creating so-called surplus value which goes to the capitalist, not the laborer.
                            quote 2: machinery, especially when first introduced, incentivizes a lengthening of  the working day
                            quote 3: mechanization results in a longer working day because longer hours for labor are a cheaper way of producing more stuff than putting in either new buildings or more machinery

                            In all cases, supposedly mechanization results in longer hours, QED. And that was the point I originally made. You really aren't capable of understanding this stuff, are you?

                            If you don't understand the role of historical inevitability in Marx, you've pretty much missed it all—it is the source of his claim to have stood Hegel on his head. The reason I know this, is because I have read Marx, not relied on secondary sources of the kind you apparently depend on.

                            Similarly, although I thank you for your patronizing "did you know this?" about Marx's background, you will be shocked to learn that I already knew this récherché information. Not only that, but I have read his thesis on ancient materialism, have read much of Aristotle—and Smith and Ricardo—and did my thesis on Rousseau. Frankly, although Marx claims a debt to Aristotle in Part I of Capital, I wouldn't have said that he knew Aristotle backwards and forwards—more like he misunderstood some key thoughts. Marx was very well educated. He was nevertheless severely handicapped by misunderstandings of all sorts of things, economics above all.

                            You should consider in future trying more assiduously to remain within your limits, narrow though they may be.
                            But now, you having grown perfectly tiresome, I will not be looking back in here. You have a pleasant evening.

                          •  You're a pompous, egotistical ass. (0+ / 0-)

                            And you haven't earned that error.

                            Judging from your Let Them Eat Cake attitude, I would imagine that you're an insufferable prig as well.

                            Again, if you are a teacher -- which I doubt all the more with each post from you -- I pity your students. I really pity them. They're going to have to deprogram themselves and burn away the WASPish, snotty bullshit you've dumped on their young heads.

                            Oh, and please keep your promise. Don't come back. And don't respond to me elsewhere. Two threads is two too many.

                          •  On "historical inevitabilities" (0+ / 0-)

                            If you think that was at the top of Marx's list, or anyone who built upon his legacy, then you truly don't understand Marxism at all.

                            Found a pretty good article on the topic from G. A. Cohen, one of best of recent Marxist scholars.

                            Historical Inevitability

                            BTW, Marx was a great scholar of Greek and Roman culture and history. He did his PHD thesis on Democritus and Epicurus. He knew his Aristotle backward and forward, as well as Rousseau and the philosophes. He built on the studies of Adam Smith and Ricardo as well. In fact, he was easily one of the most learned men of his century, and a voracious reader of the classics and his contemporaries. People forget that. They forget that he stood on the shoulders of giants, and was a giant for others in turn.

                          •  Also: About those "perfectly ordinary . . . " (0+ / 0-)
                            perfectly ordinary sorts of inequalities and injustices that are expected between rich and poor and between employer and employee
                            ???

                            Care to elaborate? You sound like you're sitting in your plush chair in Versailles as you write the above.

                          •  Also, why no diaries? (0+ / 0-)

                            Why not put your own extended thoughts down for the folks here to chew on?

                            You say you're a teacher -- which I don't believe. Risk your own words as center of discussion.

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