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View Diary: Thomas Piketty—Just another rewarming of Marx? (21 comments)

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  •  He is not a Marxist. (9+ / 0-)

    Marx thought that capitalism could not be reformed in any real sense.  Marx wished to overturn the market economy.  Piketty would keep the market, but redistribute after the unequal results are created by the market.  Market stays, but radical redistribution ameliorates the deepest harms of capitalism.   It's still capitalism.  But it is with a human face.  (Cf. Prague 1968).

    Piketty thinks we need the market, but would restrict its outcomes (and regulate it).    

    Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

    by TomP on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 11:42:26 AM PDT

    •  Marx Lived Before the New Deal - Great Society, (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tardis10, TomP, Bob Love, joedemocrat, sfbob

      and analogous governance in Scandinavia and elsewhere in Europe. Bismarck only proposed Social Security 2 yrs before Marx died.

      It'd be interesting to have someone go through Marx [I wouldn't be surprised that it's already been beaten to death] and try to figure how he'd regard the heavily regulated capitalism of the mid 20th century given the results it had for the bulk of the citizens of those countries practicing it.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 11:59:35 AM PDT

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      •  Hard to know because he assumed (5+ / 0-)

        that things would get worse and worse, leading the proletariat to revolt.

        Marx was insightful, but not a prophet.  He did not envision those reforms.  Perhaps his late writings (or Engels) addressed the Bismarkian reforms like nation health care.

        I think wondering about Marx leads to a trap.  It's not about Karl.  Some insights were useful, but he's dead and what is important is ideas that fit today.  

        I'm ok with Picketty's project of humanizing capitalism.  Might work, might not, but worth trying I think.

        Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

        by TomP on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 01:05:52 PM PDT

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      •  Marx was an awful writer! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TomP

        I have never read more turgid, convoluted, repetitive text in my life. Marxists must spend 75% of their careers just analyzing his writing. The guy really needed an editor.

        Voting is the means by which the public is distracted from the realities of power and its exercise.

        by Anne Elk on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 02:29:43 PM PDT

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        •  Marx is a Hegelian, but (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sfbob, TomP

          he sure is easier to read than Hegel.

          "Taxes are what we pay for civilized society, including the chance to insure" - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Compania General De Tabacos De Filipinas v. Collector of Internal Revenue, 275 U.S. 87, 100, dissenting; opinion

          by HugoDog on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 03:34:03 PM PDT

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        •  If you need/want a quick (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          annieli, TomP

          guide to Marxist thought, or at least want to read a smart person answering the most common criticisms of Marxism, I would recommend Terry Eagleton's book, Why Marx Was Right.

          "Taxes are what we pay for civilized society, including the chance to insure" - Oliver Wendell Holmes, Compania General De Tabacos De Filipinas v. Collector of Internal Revenue, 275 U.S. 87, 100, dissenting; opinion

          by HugoDog on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 03:40:58 PM PDT

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          •  I think I have the basic Marxian concepts (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            TomP

            clear. I lived for a few years with a Marxist scholar and learned more than I ever wanted to know. But that doesn't change the granite-like impenetrability of his writing.

            Voting is the means by which the public is distracted from the realities of power and its exercise.

            by Anne Elk on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 04:26:18 PM PDT

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      •  Marx (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joedemocrat, HugoDog, sfbob, TomP

        One of the criticisms of Marxists is the over reliance on the opinion of a single personality, which is a very unsocialist approach to socialism. Many socialists, like Kropotkin, held the concept that it is impossible to calculate one individual's contribution to advancements in knowledge, since no one originates anything without the milieu of all who came before, and often history assigns credit to one personality, brushing aside all others who contributed. History is written often from a capitalistic, individualistic perspective. So, everyone speaks of Marx, as if all socialism came from his writings.

        In fact, much of what Marx expounded upon did not originate with him. For example, the concept of "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need" was popular before Marx entered the socialist scene. Proudhon and others had a large influence on the socialist scene, which preceded Marx.

        The working class understood quite well, sans Marx, that is was being exploited. Marx turned many of the preceding socialist observations into economic equations, but he did not originate the concepts, themselves.

        So, if Marx were alive today, his would be one more opinion to consider, but today we have many contemporary socialist thinkers whose opinions are as valued.

        But having said this, I think Marx would be appalled at the situation today, and would be surprised to learn that after all these decades, we still have worker exploitation, growing levels of economic disparity, unequal pay for minorities, a dissolution of unions, outsourcing of labor, the lack of a meaningful minimum wage, lack of benefits. Most socialists, then and now, have had a far more sweeping vision of social security than the paltry sums provided by the new deal.

        And socialists of Marx's era were keenly aware of reformism as a countermeasure to socialism. Reformism is the capitalist's way to avoid true wage equality. The New Deal simply abetted capitalism by assuaging to some degree the suffering, yet not really solving the problems of capitalism. There is still poverty, wage slavery, exploitation, an owning class, and a working class.

        All one need do is work in some of the horrible jobs to learn in a few months what Marx, et al, were writing about. One doesn't need to read Das Kapital to know how capitalism creates a working class if one lives it everyday.  Exploitation is real, the problem is we need the Marx's of history to get professional classes (academics, pols, the more enlightened bourgeoisie)  to listen and take heed. We don't need them to tell us we're exploited, and why -- we already know that. Much of what people like Marx accomplish is being a good mouthpieces to get these ideas across to people in control of the microphone.

        It isn't as if the working class didn't know they were being exploited by capitalism before Proudhon, Bakunin, Marx, and Engels.

        The notion the earlier thinkers would be okay with capitalism with reforms is misplaced. The writings of socialists of earlier periods often rings as true today as they did 100 years ago.

        "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman, Anarchism and Other Essays

        by ZhenRen on Wed Apr 30, 2014 at 03:00:34 PM PDT

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