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View Diary: The "Marxism is coming back" trope (264 comments)

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  •  One Problem with Douthat's Piece: (13+ / 0-)
    For now, even as the rich have gotten much, much richer, the 99 percent have shared in growing prosperity in real, measurable ways.
    Really? What are those measurable ways, I wonder? Douthat doesn't tell us. I suspect this is because these "measurable ways" are bogus , laughable, and would be ripped to shreds by people who know what they're talking about.

    I think One Percent front men like Douthat are getting a bit nervous-- SIX years out from the crash, our economy still sucks for tens for millions of people. However, for the One Percent, everything's just ducky.

    The longer the current obscene level of wealth inequity goes on, combined with our apparently terminally sucky economy, the LESS credible, sustainable is our particular brand of dog-eat-dog capitalism is for tens of millions of people-- and the MORE attractive an alternative system looks.

    "We are beyond law, which is not unusual for an empire; unfortunately, we are also beyond common sense." Gore Vidal

    by Superpole on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 04:38:14 PM PDT

    •  cable tv, cars, microwaves (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JJ In Illinois

      quality of food, quality of clothes, quality of education, ability to travel, etc...

      If you can't accept that there have been gains for the 99% in the last 30 years, then you're being just as dishonest as Douthat.

      But the 99% don't need to be destitute on the street in rags in order to make the argument for more equitable distribution of wealth. Our economy works better for everyone when the rich can't hoard. That's not Marxism, that's capitalism.

      Douthat is not half as clever as David Brooks (who's not that clever). And it's a shame that those two are what stands for conservative intellects.

      •  Capitalists are innately hoarders. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lucid, kurt, Superpole

        The only way in which they differ from mere hoarders is that they use investment as a means to their hoarding.  From Chapter 4 of Volume 1 of Capital:

        The circulation of money as capital is, on the contrary, an end in itself, for the expansion of value takes place only within this constantly renewed movement. The circulation of capital has therefore no limits. [6]

        As the conscious representative of this movement, the possessor of money becomes a capitalist. His person, or rather his pocket, is the point from which the money starts and to which it returns. The expansion of value, which is the objective basis or main-spring of the circulation M-C-M, becomes his subjective aim, and it is only in so far as the appropriation of ever more and more wealth in the abstract becomes the sole motive of his operations, that he functions as a capitalist, that is, as capital personified and endowed with consciousness and a will. Use-values must therefore never be looked upon as the real aim of the capitalist; [7] neither must the profit on any single transaction. The restless never-ending process of profit-making alone is what he aims at.

        One of the nicest things Marx did was to put paid to all of the dross about how capitalism is somehow "moral."  

        "Assume man to be man and his relationship to the world to be a human one: then you can exchange love only for love, trust for trust" -- Karl Marx

        by Cassiodorus on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 08:24:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  building a system on physical laws makes sense (0+ / 0-)

          the reason capitalism works is because it operates on as close to a physical law as we can come in human behavior. That is, wealth generally seeks to increase wealth.

          With that single "truth", you can set up a system of exchange that uses that impulse to generate a functioning and efficient economy. Like how you can use the dynamics of lift and thrust to lift a body off the ground.

          But lift and thrust must be understood and purposely guided in order to work. Maneuvers that are required when the plane is taking off would be catastrophic in the air (and vice-versa). The person designing the aircraft and the people flying the aircraft need to understand the full magnitude of the forces they are controlling.

      •  LOL... Having Cable TV Means I'm Wealthy? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cassiodorus

        Having a cell phone means I will one day retire comfortably.. be able to do what I want to do?

        Utter nonsense.

        Yes, there have been some gains for the 99% in the last thirty years-- but to imply this gain is somehow on par with the one percent is a joke.

        I'm more concerned about the last ten years and what lies ahead.

        In the last ten years, the U.S. childhood poverty rate went thru the roof. Food banks are barely keeping up with the demand for food aid. the number of people on disability increased what? 1,000%? Tens of millions of people still unemployed and under-employed.

        How are these indicators of "wealth" for the 99%?

        "We are beyond law, which is not unusual for an empire; unfortunately, we are also beyond common sense." Gore Vidal

        by Superpole on Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 03:35:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  "wealthy" is a strawman (0+ / 0-)

          The 99% are unquestionably better off than they were 30 years ago.

          That doesn't mean the system is working.

          It doesn't mean that we have nothing to complain about or our grievances about inequitable wealth distribution aren't legitimate.

    •  his argument - a common and foolish one - (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Superpole

      is the basic "look - people have cell phones, so they're richer" and "look - people have TVs, so they're richer" and so on.

      He ignores a number of different ways of measuring prosperity, and he - very conveniently - ignores the fact that many people don't have access to those particular items.

      •  But most people do (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JJ In Illinois, nextstep

        And the people who don't today have access wouldn't have had it in the past either.

        Given massive recent global improvements in living standards it is hard to argue that large numbers of people have been injured by capitalism or are worse off than they would have been without it.

        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

        by Sparhawk on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 08:38:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not really. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lucid, Superpole

          We could eliminate world hunger in a couple of years -- just remove the capitalist control over food.  Most of those who are hungry are so because they can't afford food.

          "Assume man to be man and his relationship to the world to be a human one: then you can exchange love only for love, trust for trust" -- Karl Marx

          by Cassiodorus on Mon Apr 21, 2014 at 09:20:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  really? (0+ / 0-)

          It's actually not hard to argue at all. Try drinking the water in West Virginia these days. Or are you already full from having drunk the kool-aid?

          What about the massive numbers of people who have been injured, poisoned, and killed as a result of "third world" mass production methods (both overseas and in the US)?

          And if your argument is that "poor people today would have been poor in the absence of capitalism" well, that's not much of an argument for "global improvement in living standards."

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