Karl Marx

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Karl Marx

Marx held that the central tendency of the economic system is not to a benign equilibrium; it is to a destructive contradiction.

Competition is a passing phase.

As capitalism develops, large firms absorb the small ones, a process that Marx called capitalist concentration.

Monopoly capitalism replaces the competitive market.

By this process the firms, though large, become few and politically vulnerable.

Meanwhile the workers are paid but a small part of the value they create.

And in consequence of their industrial employment they become disciplined, aware of the exploitation to which they are subject and politically sophisticated - socialized, as Marx said.

So at a certain point these two great forces - the attenuated capitalist power, its survival value gone the way of the dinosaur, and the disciplined, stronger, ever more potent force of the workers - meet.

As the inevitable consequence, the capitalist power is overthrown; socialism, the workers' state, takes its place.

You ask if Marx is the alternative to the neo-classical system.

In recent times, as the neo-classical system has seemed to be ever more remote from the reality and ever less able to deal with the modern crises of inflation and unemployment, there has been a tendency to think so.

If Samuelson doesn't work, then surely it must be Marx.

We've always regretted this, for it requires that Marx explain the world that exists a hundred years after his death.

That is asking rather much.

And, the obvious concentration apart, We don't believe that the development of capitalism has been along the lines that Marx predicted.


Learn More About Unions in 2015

The Socialists

We think the neoclassical or Keynesian system should be patched up instead, although that patching will not be small.

The textbooks will have to go.

So will the comfortable men and women who believe that a public office concerned with economics can be a haven of peace and rest, a place to commune with past truths.

But let us get on to the socialists.

The ideas of the great socialists take us back again to the last century.

And here there is a special problem.

In this tradition, Marx's ideas are central, even overpowering.

They lend themselves toy interpretations,... see: The Socialists


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