Econopocalypse: the Marxist animated whiteboard explanation


113 Responses to “Econopocalypse: the Marxist animated whiteboard explanation”

  1. arborman says:

    Cue the trumpets.

  2. cory says:

    Brilliantly rendered by the artists, but I didn’t hear any solution in there. In fact, he explicitly disclaims having any solutions at one point.

    Change my thinking? OK. To Marxism? Give me one reason why.

    • Anonymous says:

      The myth of requiring complete solutions to justify alternative thoughts is what keeps us mired in this.

      • Anonymous says:

        Absolutely – the criticism has to come first – you pose the question and then look for a solution

      • ArghMonkey says:


        If something needs to be fixed then it should be fixed.

        We shouldn’t let the unknown stop us from doing whats right.

        We will succeed in some ways and fail in others, that should be expected but if the goal is a better society then we should try, it is silly to expect to have all the answers ahead of time.

      • Anonymous says:

        Of course, *not* requiring complete solutions to justify alternative thoughts is what creates oil spills.

    • Anonymous says:

      “Ce qu’il y a de certain c’est que moi, je ne suis pas Marxiste. (If anything is certain, it is that I myself am not a Marxist)
      –Karl Marx

      Marx dedicated his life to analyzing capitalism. Some of his insights remain pertinent, others do not. He wrote relatively little about what a socialist society would be like. Some (Rosa Luxembourg for example) have interpreted Marx in a liberatory, radically democratic manner. Others’ (Stalin most notably) interpretation of Marx lead to brutal authoritarianism.

      Marx might be worth reading (critically) on capitalist economics, but for a vision of (libertarian in the original sense) socialism I would rather look to anarcho-syndicalists like Bakunin, Goldman, Rocker, Kropotkin, etc.

    • Eris Siva says:

      I don’t believe he was trying to convert you to Marxism. It seems more that he was attempting to point out the root of the problem using Marxist theory.

      In the end, it seemed that his offered solution was that academics and economists need to be more proactive, rather than letting politicians make it seem like everything is going to be ok just because you vote for them. Basically railing against lazy armchair admonishments from economists, when they have the knowledge to push us in a different direction.

    • Anonymous says:

      The solution suggested at the end of the video was holding those responsible for the financial collapse accountable. If fining and/or imprisoning those responsible for robbing us solves more problems than it creates, I’m all for it. No need to be a Marxist… just use its framework to view Capitalism when other frameworks fail to provide useful insight into a particular problem.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hey Cory#2–David Harvey is a Marxist, but he’s not expecting you to become one after 11 minutes (would be nice if it were possible). He wants you to join in a discussion of what we all can do about it, including you…but you prolly heard this before, eh?

    • Trotsky says:

      >> Change my thinking? OK. To Marxism? Give me one reason why.

      Holy shit.

      If in 2010, having seen what we’ve seen and experienced what we’ve experienced in terms of the systemic failure and corruption, if you don’t have one thousand reasons to consider an alternative to capitalism, never mind ONE, you are irredeemably dim.

    • thefuture says:

      Change my thinking? OK. To Marxism? Give me one reason why.

      I don’t think the lecture is asking you to become a Marxist. It’s just using Marxist language/terminology to explain why capitalism failed, and that we need an alternative to the current system.

  3. davidasposted says:

    Whatever you think of the message of Dr. Harvey’s lecture (which IMHO is pretty modest), its visualization here is nothing short of incredible.

    +1 internet.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Rindan: Your comment makes no sense until you specify what parts of contemporary marxist thought you are objecting to. For, surely, you wouldn’t post a quote which very explicitly made the point that vague objections to “marxism” are meaningless and then go on to make just such a meaningless objections. I have higher thoughts of you! So again, what specific parts of contemporary marxist thought are you objecting to? Give us the names, books, and passages you are focusing your objections on.

  5. Anonymous says:

    For the record, David Harvey is a Geographer, nor Sociologist.

  6. Birdseed says:

    Royal Scottish Academy?
    Royal School of Artillery?
    Rabbinical Seminar of America?
    Road Safety Authority?

    All suggested by Wikipedia! What’s RSA anyway?

  7. John Greg says:

    Royal Society for the Arts.

    Cory’s first sentence.

  8. Anonymous says:

    David Harvey rules, and I would recommend his book Conditions of Postmodernity to everyone.

  9. Anonymous says:

    David Harvey is a social scientist, but he is a geographer, not a sociologist.

  10. endymion says:

    Cool lecture.

    I’ve seen a few of these Cognitive Media visualizations now, and while they’re definitely entertaining and beautifully done, I’m beginning to think they obscure, rather than enhance, the content of the lecture. Your brain focuses on the drawings, and on the cleverness of the connection between the drawings and the lecture content, but that’s very different from focusing on the lecture content itself, and dwelling on its implications. This is even– if I may be perhaps too dire– a dangerous step away from serious concentration, the kind that can actually expand your mind. I fear that people come away from these beautiful visualizations having mistaken the buzz of facile connection for the richness of real thought.

  11. Anonymous says:

    1. then your objections to “marxism” clearly lack bearing on the theoretical framework put to work in the video at hand and, for that matter, much of contemporary marxism. So you keep flexing your anti-stalin gut only to satisfy your self here it seems, not to contribute to the discussion.
    2. then you are confused on what sociological marxism consists in.
    3. your sweeping revelations on distributive justice lack detail. Here is a simple and clear example, not specifically marxist, of distributive justice: the state taxes peoples income and use the funds on care and health services for severely physically disabled individuals. What is your argument for labelling such aid, and all other instances of distributive justice, oxymoronic bullshit?
    (To preempt likely objections, yes, other cases of distributive justice differ in some ways from this case. That does not change the fact that this case is an example of distributive justice.)

  12. Ernunnos says:

    “Nobody saw it coming!”

    It’s a good thing that Austrian school economists all have fur coats and walk-in humidors, because they’re never going to enjoy any respect and recognition for seeing the greatest expansion of credit in human history while it was actually happening. Much less gratitude for their efforts at trying to warn the public that it would end badly. They’re ignored even in retrospect. Fortunately, rubbing piles of Krugerrands purchased at a quarter of the present price all over one’s naked body does sooth the sting of rejection. Or so I’ve heard.

    • WordsofIron says:

      Austrian economics philosophy or not (and in its defense), many ills of the current “adventures in capitalism” economy are not about pure capitalism, they are about a “corrupted manifestation of capitalism”. “Pure” capitalism does not:

      - reward failure by castrating the system’s natural mechanism to impose negative consequences on too risky and otherwise excessive greed by “any” industry sector, especially the financial sector.

      - allow itself to be straddled by regulations (from any sovereign power) that can be manipulated by the financial (or any other) sector to undermine its crisp “succeed/fail” metric.

      And so…it is quite obvious that we do not have a system of “pure” capitalism…we have an impotent capitalistic system unable to impose consequences as a result of behaviors good or bad. Success is unfairly fed upon through taxes imposed by the minions of the powerful and corrupt money cartels, and failure is unfairly rewarded through robbery imposed by these same minions…all the while manipulating the media to disguise the hoax being perpetrated.

  13. Trotsky says:

    >> Time bury Rand and Marx and try something new.


    Marx is germane to this day because he correctly identified mechanisms and dynamics which shape how human societies progress, for good or ill.

    If a person uses a car to drive through a crowded schoolyard and murder without remorse, that does not in total address the efficacy or value of the automobile, the engine, the wheel, gasoline, sparkplugs, windshields, seatbelts, AM/FM radio, any more than the color of hat the person was wearing. A car as weapon does have a place in a discussion of the value of that means of conveyance, but only a minor consideration among many other considerations.

    People have and will continue to commit atrocities with the word “Marx” scrawled on their foreheads, just as they murder for Jesus, Muhammad, Jodie Foster, or their dog. Doesn’t make them Marxists. And your glib (Internet!) dismissal shows that you don’t truly understand the ideas outlined by Marx and are incapable of considering them on their merits.

  14. toyg says:

    The sad truth is that, these days, everybody is a Marxist; cue how “it’s the economy, stupid” (a Marxist motto if there ever was one) is accepted at a fundamental level by everyone involved in the public discourse.

    The problem is that Marx, like most of us, was very good at analyzing problems and relatively poor at proposing solutions. Even Harvey can only suggest to “join an anti-capitalist group”, which doesn’t really solve anything and will waste a lot of your time.

    The solution is to study economics and then experiment new, bold approaches in your business and in your community.

    • freshacconci says:

      I’d argue that “most of us” are not very good at analyzing problems, at least economic problems, which is why we turn to Marx (and others) to figure out what went wrong. But yes, you are correct in saying that even those who excel at the analysis part rarely have a working solution.

    • osmo says:

      Why is that a sad thing? Not that it matters, I dont get why its a sad thing thats all…

      Marx was the first to point out he didnt have any specifics for the future only that we where as a society trapped in a class society and had been for… well for ever (even though some, like the hallowed Kropotkin (see Anon#11 above) claimed that there had been some kind of proto-communism an idea from which idiotic notions like primitivism sprung out of). He thought that it was a good idea to break free from it – through which he saw a classless “utopia”, communism.

      The sollution in my opinion is to expand technology. The true communist methodology (according to me) is to create socialisations, new forms of community and advanced forms of not creation and production specificly but the way we look at trade and creativity that breaks the logic of the capital or forces it into a corner from which it has to either recouperate its losses or cut their opponents short. Like with downloading and criticism of the exchange value through copyleft and creative commons. The PiratbyrÃ¥n here in Sweden did just that before slowly collapsing into nothingness. The ACTA agreement in the EU is … for lack of a better name “the old worlds” attempt to reclaim this new form of communication, creativity and socialisation.

      In the long run its the fight against how we see “work” as the central relation of our lives and the way we consider trade of scarce products to be the basics of our economy that makes out communism – on the other hand I dont usually call it that. It doesnt matter what we call things or what colour banner we have – its what we do.

      (so basicly Im saying “go you” to your plan which in my world does more for socialism than any number of bearded theoretical philosophers)

    • Anonymous says:

      “Even Harvey can only suggest to “join an anti-capitalist group”, which doesn’t really solve anything and will waste a lot of your time. ”

      Well that depends on the particular anti-capitalist group. Some are pragmatic and will get you immediate benefits while building the structures that could one day supplant hierarchical management and private oligopolies. Seattle Solidarity ( will use direct action casework to get back stolen wages and will use occupations to prevent eviction, etc. The IWW ( will help you organize your workplace for better conditions, wages, and workers’ say in decision making.

      One the other end of the spectrum are pointless Ivory Tower Marxist reading groups like Platypus and mindlessly secretarian “revolutionary” parties like the International Communist League (Sparts). Don’t waste your time with them.

      • Jonathan Badger says:

        Unions aren’t “anti-capitalist” or Marxist — Poland has a (relatively) capitalist government today *because* of the union Solidarity — which the Marxist government of Poland tried to destroy.

        • Anonymous says:

          Unions in general are not Marxist. Some unions (those that got expelled from the CIO in the 50s for example) were communist. The IWW (while not being Marxist) is anti-capitalist and has some Marxist membership.

          Many of the workers in Solidarity didn’t support state-capitalism in the form on Stalinism but also didn’t support state-capitalism in the form of corporatism. They wanted a workers self managed economy. Why should it matter whether the oppressor calls itself the board of directors or the Politburo? What matters is getting rid of the bosses and running things ourselves. I personally know members of Solidarity that went on the become members of the IWW. Members of Solidarity also went on to work with ZSP-IWA (the Polish section of the anarcho-syndicalist international). Anarcho-syndicalism stands against oppression whether it comes from the state or from private property owners.

  15. Trotsky says:

    Americans literally and without exception are the least educated people on the planet about Marx. No other nation comes close. Primarily because our “education” system completely and systematically avoids studying his work except through a pejorative filter of innuendo and guilt by association. The only Americans who are informed on the matter is that .01% (a generous figure) who are so damnably stubborn and misanthropic that they commit the unforgivable crime of reading his text at the source without an intercessor to pre-chew the morsels like a doting motherbird.

    • Rindan says:

      If every time someone tried to drive a certain type of car they plowed through a school, I would also be against driving that type of car. Clearly, something is wrong with the car. If every time someone tossed up a church of X religion the congregation mass suicided, I would probably be against setting up more such churches. If every time someone declares themselves Marxist and holds a revolution, when the revolution is over you have a brutal government busy burying the bodies, that leaves me pretty much against holding Marxist revolutions. For whatever reason, regardless if they were “pure” Marxist revolutions or not, they result in horror.

      If people want to study Marx, I’m all for it. I think it is a bit arcane and there are plenty of more modern thinkers with better insight into economic actions, but hey, psychologist still spend a disproportionate amount of time studying Fraud as well. Who am I to judge? I think that people who call for Marxist revolutions are insane. They have an almost perfect track record of horror. I know, I know, you think THIS TIME it will be different and the good Marxist will rise to power, but color me skeptical. I bet the guys who came before and failed felt the same way.

      Hell, the most interesting and relevant thing about Marxist thought might very well be figuring out why every time someone tries to implement it when the dust settles you have a psychopath in power busy seeing how badly he can ruin his nation. Democracy, capitalism, military dictatorships, colonialism… hell, fucking monarchies have a better track record of not ending in a total clusterfuck with the same sort of consistency that Marxist have.

      Leave that poor boy in the ground where he belongs. He doesn’t need any more company.

  16. spill says:

    Best eleven minutes of the day thus far.

  17. Anonymous says:

    The problem with Non Scandinavian forms of Socialism and Communism lies in the fact that those system fight greed, monopolies, concentration of power and wealth in the finance and private sector by creating state monopolies and state concentrations of power. Just as capitalism movies its problems about markets, communism moves problems about institutions. The question is how to hold finance to the fires of reality so it cannot grow out of control and take the whole house of cards with it as it has.

    Tie the value of money to these criteria. Agriculture,energy, mining, manufacturing, a skilled work force, some faith, and some gambling acumen. An economy that puts too much stock in one over the other will suffer. Just as today we suffer as we put too much stock in faith and gambling at the expense of everything else.

    If you look at the Scandinavian countries, you’ll see that they foster a pretty good balance of these criteria.

    • osmo says:

      I dont want to burst your bubble but I live in Sweden and they are dismantling 100 years of work from the workers movements as we speak. The socialdemocrats are just the same as the right wing or perhaps its the right wing that is just the same as… well its strange thats all.

      Although if we are talking about “socialism for class society” (which is what we have here: a conformist form of socialism that doesnt even call itself socialism anymore) its pretty effective. Sweden is considered one of the top five countries in the world that managed best to ride out and avoid the economic collapse. Ohter larger nations like the US and Brittain never got up on that list at all. The reason is the right wing government we have now suddenly became all for Keynes and socialdemocratic economical work. :)

      I still think expanding new ways to communicate socialize and create (not to mention exchange ideas and objects) is the next step forward. That and some kind of … call it “common movement” (instead of the more weighed down words like “popular fronts” and “workers movements”). A grass roots attempt to coordinate its actions as a tactical move since we dont have as much power as they, as much money or for that matter … when push comes to shove (as we can see with ACTA, with organized police attacks on non-violence union movements here (as that in Stockholm concerning the restuarant Berns right now)) violence.

  18. turn_self_off says:

    btw, i am glad to see my thoughts on the problem increasing automation of production have on the economy echoed by someone thats been thinking about this kinds of things for longer then i have.

  19. boonefrog says:

    Absolutely loved this. Haven’t read Marx since I took a course on Das Kapital (volume 1) when I was maybe 19. It was over my head at the time but I retained some key tenets. Had something like this been used, I’m sure it would have stuck with me a bit more fully…

  20. Jonathan Badger says:

    Capitalism is horribly imperfect, but let’s not forget that the *whole reason* 1989 happened was that Marxism was unable to recover from *its* economic downturn. (And to claim that the Soviet Union et al. weren’t “truly Marxist”, as some apologists like to do, is nothing more than an example of the No True Scotsman fallacy). Whatever (if anything) will replace capitalism in the future will have absolutely nothing to do with the empirically falsified Ricardian system that Marx created.

    • WordsofIron says:

      My response could have been to any number of the existing comments and replies as it is simply a recommended “first steps” towards a longer term remedy for the ills of our present form of capitalism.

      The “out of control” financial sector (most of the big players anyway) have power in the current equation only because of their control over the creation of and access to (cost of borrowing) fiat currencies. Were all sovereign nations, in unison, “withdraw” their participation from the fiat currency game, and create instead (and control supply of) their own sovereign currency, then the power of the money cartels is relegated to the back rooms of currency exchange ratios (which they manipulate for gain now with fiat currencies, as well as orchestrate where major functions in the economy will be performed).

      Severing the link to the fiat currency world controlled by the money powers (if all participated) would then leave currency exchange rates as the only serious obstacle to effective global commerce. This obstacle could be overcome by the market forces of buyers and sellers defining their own de-facto currency exchange rates at the point of transaction. If all players in the commerce equation were assured that the various sovereign currencies would not suffer corruption through manipulation by money powers, and its value not compromised through excessive currency creation (inflation) by their source governments, then currency exchange rates would tend to stabilize over time.

      If we’re going to seriously debate global economics, then we must acknowledge the extremely large elephant in the room. Our present system of capitalism has the fox in charge of hen-house security. The fox must first be recognized for the predator that it is, and banished from the vicinity of the hen-house. Only then will we be able to progress towards “any” kind of economic system that is more fair, just, and stable.

      Try this thought on:
      “If aliens had been watching humanity for the last several centuries, they would be wondering why the 99.9+% of the population allows themselves (and their quality of life, buying power, and freedoms) to be exploited by the less than .01% of 1% of the population that has weaseled its way into controlling fiat currency used in commerce.” The true enablers of this exploitation (and gross injustice) are the minions of the money cartels residing in governmental positions who give continued strength to the money cartels through “legal tender” laws…e.g., “forcing” the use of fiat currency in commerce (with rule of law), corruptible legislation, and transparency laws. Simple examples of these corruptions are “bye bye Glass-Stiegel Act” a while back in the U.S., and the Federal Reserve Act in 1913 in the U.S.

      As long as laws and regulations are for sale, the economic injustice will continue. The key first step is to make the fiat money that these laws and regulations are purchased with “impotent and worthless”. At least then the observing aliens would at least realize that we understand the root of our economic problems.

      • Ralphooo says:

        WordsofIron, your aliens would be forced to conclude that the 0.01% running our economies are our rulers, plain and simple, like kings or emperors.

        In effect, that’s exactly what they are. I find their con-schemes sickening, but I also wonder whether anyone else could be better rulers than they are.

        It’s only supposition to assume that there is a hidden, better world around the corner, a world in which wealth and responsibility are more equally spread around. But no one has ever seen such a world, so what makes you so sure it is even possible?

        Personally, I think humans are limited in the area of group-to-group cooperation. Maybe we just aren’t capable of making that happen. We need bigger brains, or smaller ones, or another kind entirely. Which we don’t have.

        • xenophrenia says:

          Would the aliens be forced to conclude something so superficial? If the aliens are as intelligent as we would think they would be – wouldn’t they actually do some research into the culture? Wouldn’t they look beyond the surface interpretation, unlike most humans who don’t think it’s worth the effort to find out the actual facts? Even with only a superficial interpretation, I’m not sure how one would conclude they were ‘leaders’. Controllers maybe, but we don’t seem to ‘follow’ the rich as much as we are controlled by them, unwittingly, for the most part. If any would be considered leaders I’d say maybe the famous – but even then I’m not sure I’d say we ‘follow’ them the same way we would a leader.

          Oh – just realized I’m using the word leader instead of ruler – slightly different but generally the same, at least in this context. You did, after all use kings and emperors as your examples.

          You don’t know how we’d have ‘better’ rulers? Really??? You see, I don’t think they are even aware they are ‘rulers’. I think they just want to keep things where they are on top and we are keeping them there. If they were ‘real’ rulers, this discussion, wouldn’t be happening. Why? Because free and open discussion about differing systems would not be their best interest. Not even a little bit. In fact, this is where all of those elite cabal conspiracies fall apart. I’ll just leave it there since that is a completely different and far more of a rat hole discussion.

          Who is posing the supposition that there is a new and better world just around the corner? And just because something has never been seen before means it’s not possible? Wow – no one ever saw human’s fly once upon a time and we do now. Wait – I bet they saw it in a dream, and guess what – people dream of a new and better world every day – so maybe with this rule it CAN happen!

          Seriously though, you’re basically saying here – give up, it’s useless. You claim that diverse groups cannot join to bring change. Again, really??? Let’s see – first one that comes to mind is civil rights. That was brought about by diverse groups joining for a common cause. No one says this sort of thing is easy, or quick. That’s the problem in this society right now, if it can’t be done in an afternoon on a deck or at least a weekend without too much inconvenience, why bother? We get all up in arms about 1984, all the while A Brave New World sucks any motivation for change that may be there with “Hey look, bright new shiny thing … oh no … bad hair day disaster on channel 10! … and on and on and on …” 1984 is so much more scary and distracting isn’t it? Which is why it holds our attention and can be used as a weapon.

          No, we don’t need different brains to make progress – we need to stop boxing ourselves into corners where we can throw up our hands and say “it’s too hard”. We need to keep refocusing attention on the real issues and not let the arguments of my world view is better then your worldview keep anyone from seeing the problem at hand. We need to start a conversation on what our goals actually are. Which will be a messy conversation also but if we don’t know where ‘there’ is, we have no chance of ever reaching it.

    • osmo says:

      Well ehm its hard to call it marxism… but sure in a way it was, much like sweden, england, norway, and allot of countries in the world.

      Its a bit like me saying “The US is based on proto-Trotskyism” because in a way it was. The permanent revolution that Paine proclaimed and managed to squeeze in there is xlose to the permanent revolution Trotskij managed to squeeze into the Soviet union.

      Personally I gotta agree with Marx on the Russian revolution. That its idiotic for a nation to try for socialism when it hasnt even passed capitalism yet.

      I guess Im an apolagetic – I like the American Revolution, the Russian aswell… hell it was what gave us democracy here so I cant complain can I?

      The reason 1989 happened was because two sorts of class society fought for power and one lost (to sort of quote Hardt and Negri). Anyway since my brand of communists fought it since its creation (from the Kronstad rebellion 1921 to the Polish and Hungarian council communists and the french SI), lets just say Im kinda happy about that loss.

      Anyway it doesnt matter – because its still a movement and not a group. Its not a political party its a relation. Capitalism is like Feudalism – it’ll pass (personally I dont believe in the perfect Utopia only the subjective one from the vantage point of a “pre-utopia”)

      @Anon#22: screw all “communist organisations” they are mostly just doing nothing or handing out pamphlets and tracts no one reads anyway.

    • freshacconci says:

      How is that a No True Scotman fallacy? Just stating it does not make it so. Explain yourself.

      • Jonathan Badger says:

        It’s pretty much the textbook case of the Scotsman eating oatmeal that is responsible for the name of the fallacy. Just substitute “Marxist” for Scotsman and “murders millions” for “eats oatmeal with sugar” and you have exactly the argument of people like you who try to claim Marxism wasn’t responsible for the crimes of regimes governing in its name. Marxism is what leaders who call themselves Marxist do — not some theoretical ideal of what a “True Marxist” would ideally do in some fantasy land.

  21. xenophrenia says:

    This is certainly an interesting and lively discussion. One of the things that strikes me as I’m reading through the comments though is that it seems most of you don’t realize that these ideas don’t exist in a vacuum. There are real people with real lives that are effected by people who base their decisions by what they’ve learned in a book with little or no thought to what effect the decision will have on those further down the road. I refer to them as ideas that “look good on paper, not worth the paper their written on” ideas.

    These concepts only work as well as those that put them into place implement them. Unfortunately, the more people involved, the more difficult having control over that becomes. Those at the top do not want to let go of what they have no matter what system is being used. Part of this comes from the whole notion of scarcity. (Which using a mineral as the basis for currency would make far worse and cause far more harm then any good. One of those look good ideas again.) It has been speculated that, if managed properly, there would be enough resources for the world. This means though, that we’d have to reinstate the idea of sharing. This seems to go against all the societal messages that are floating around out there now, in movies like Sex and the City 2, television shows like Desperate Housewives and our obsession with the rich and famous. All of the focus has become what you have, and what you need to have if you want to be somebody. We, as a species, already have territoriality and possessiveness issues. We also have a system of propaganda (advertising) that is REALLY good at manipulating those issues. A good introduction to this is the 4 part documentary The Take. There are hints everywhere if we were to pull our noses out of the narrow confines we think of as reality and look at the whole and the connections between the parts. We need to start teaching critical thinking and decision making skills in school again. We need to prioritize people over profit for we need to realize that money is not a god.

    Okay – need to stop now before this gets any longer ….. (and I fall asleep at the keyboard).

  22. PapayaSF says:

    What Ernunnos and Jonathan Badger said.

    I find it fascinating that after Marxism (or “Marxism”) slaughtered something like 100 million people in the 20th century, it still grips the Western academic world the way the theory of the four humors stifled the minds of ancient doctors. It’s a bunch of dangerous bogosity, people. Nobel prizes in economics have been won by people who refuted some of its core ideas, and history has refuted most of the rest. It’s dead, bury it.

    • loonquawl says:

      “[...] It’s a bunch of dangerous bogosity, people. Nobel prizes in economics have been won by people who refuted some of its core ideas, and history has refuted most of the rest. It’s dead, bury it.”

      - You are confused by two different things sharing the same name, twice. Marxism as in ‘total fuckup killing millions’ and Marxism as in ‘one of the ways to analyze economic goings-on’; the other fallacy in: Nobel prize as in ‘prize founded by Nobel’ and Nobel prize as in ‘prize bearing the name of Nobel, founded by a bank, and totally unlikely to hallow a Marxist’

    • Anonymous says:

      actually it kind of won didn’t it. academically many many people use marxist methods of interpretation. its vital to the discipline at least analyzing power relationships within a given society. we are basically marxist in that we regulate commerce at all in, theoretically, an attempt to prevent total abuse of the system at the hands of those with more capital (and therefore greater means to multiply that capital). while “marx” has a stigma about basically all 1st governments are some form of marx-influenced philosophy. so its kind of like you saying god political parties killed like 6 billion jews in the 20th century you think we’d be over political parties by now. or explorers are responsible for the deaths of millions of native americans you thin we humans would have learned about exploring by now (who knows maybe we have)

    • freshacconci says:

      Nonsense. Marxism did no such thing. To blame Stalinism and Maoism on Marx is beyond an oversimplification.

      • Jonathan Badger says:

        Mao and Stalin (not to mention the murderous Lenin and Trotsky who somehow are misremembered as more saintly merely because they weren’t as successful in murdering their opponents) did the awful things they did in the name of Marx. Whether Marx would have approved is just as irrelevant as whether the founders of Christianity would have approved of the Crusades. Without the ideological motivation of the founders, neither the murderous Crusades nor the murderous collectivization could have occurred.

        • freshacconci says:

          And just as we don’t write off Christianity because of the Crusades, a perversion of Christianity, we shouldn’t simply write off Marxism because of the perversions of Stalinism, Maoism and Leninism (I don’t agree with lumping Trotsky in with the others). To see value in Marxism is a far cry from being an apologist for the crimes of State Communism.

          • PapayaSF says:

            And just as we don’t write off Christianity because of the Crusades, a perversion of Christianity, we shouldn’t simply write off Marxism because of the perversions of Stalinism, Maoism and Leninism

            The difference is that while the Crusades are only a tiny part of Christianity from long ago, the “perversions” of Marxism are pretty much the entire history of Marxism in power in the real world, from 1917 on.

            If every real-world implementation of your philosophy on a scale larger than a college town commune ends with walls to keep people in plus gulags and piles of bodies, it’s nature’s way of telling you your philosophy sucks. It may sound nice in theory, but it never does what it’s supposed to. It’s the perpetual motion of political philosophies, plus mass oppression and death.

            But hey, maybe next time they’ll get it right, eh?

          • Anonymous says:

            “The difference is that while the Crusades are only a tiny part of Christianity from long ago, the “perversions” of Marxism are pretty much the entire history of Marxism in power in the real world, from 1917 on.”

            The basis of your argument seems a bit shakey to me. A quick wikipedia search shows that the crusades occured over a period of approximately 200 years. If that’s the case, how can you conclude Marxism buried after a period of only roughly 93 years?

            Oh and I should probably add that I’m not really for or against Marxism (or Christianity for that matter), but I do like to keep an open mind. I’d also like to point out for those of you that are so quick to criticize David Harvey, this guy has been “balls deep” in the study of social issues/geography, Marxism, etc. for a long time, and is widely published. Not saying he can’t be criticized, just that one should be aware of his pedigree before doing so. A small snippet like this is hardly indicative of his entire philosophy.

            Nice comments thus far though, a very interesting read!

          • PapayaSF says:

            the crusades occured over a period of approximately 200 years. If that’s the case, how can you conclude Marxism buried after a period of only roughly 93 years?

            Setting aside the argument that the Crusades were defensive wars, fought against Islam’s expansion by conquest, they happened over roughly 1/10 of Christianity’s history. Only the most dour anti-religious types would claim Christianity did nothing good in the other 1800 years.

            But Marxism’s crimes, as I said, constitute pretty much the entire history of Marxism in power. It’s a shorter period of time, but all of it sucks.

            And despite the protests of loonquawl, it’s not unfair to link academic Marxists with real-world political Marxists. Would we listen to academic fascists who analyzed economics in fascist terms and claimed fascism was really a wonderful thing, despite the way Hitler and Mussolini perverted it? I sure as hell would not.

          • loonquawl says:

            This is the first time somebody went Godwin on a thread and actually managed to lower the stakes. Thank you PapayaSF.

          • Anonymous says:

            Setting aside the argument that the Crusades were defensive wars, fought against Islam’s expansion by conquest…

            Which is good to set aside, because that was only the theory behind the First Crusade, and had nothing to do with how any of them were fought. Islam’s expansion was at the expense of the Orthodox Christians, who were ultimately invaded and suppressed by the Crusaders, and for a while had a much more reliable ally in Egypt.

  23. Mitch Wagner says:

    Question about Harvey’s point on home ownership: As I understand it, home ownership brings societal benefits, in that people who own homes are more likely than renters to want to built the community. They volunteer more often, they participate in PTA more often, and so forth.

    For the individual, home ownership is supposedly better for a couple of reasons: (1) Your mortgage payment is an investment. If you give your money to a landlord, you’re out that money forever, but if you pay a mortgage, you’re investing in home ownership. It’s like any other investment in that it has risk — the housing meltdown is an example of that risk — but if it works right you end up owning real property that you can sell or borrow against and (2) You own the home, you have much more freedom to customize. If you want to paint the walls, convert the swimming pool to a pond, or replace the front gate, that’s your choice.

    Am I missing something here?

  24. Anonymous says:

    Jonathan Badger: as has already been pointed out, Marx provide very little details about a non-capitalist society. A sketch at most. He is chiefly a researcher of the machinery of capitalism. He gets some things right and some things wrong. For up to date research on socialist alternatives to both strong capitalism and strong statism (a la Soviet), see Erik Olin Wright’s Envisioning Real Utopias and the project the book is a part of.

    PapayaSF: the problem with your claim is that you do not clarify what in “marxism” you have a problem with. Yet you know that “it” is wrong.

    • turn_self_off says:

      ugh, another video shot in a concrete room using just the camera microphone. I basically cant hear the speaker unless i up the volume so much that anything happens right next to the camera becomes a proverbial bomb.

  25. ArghMonkey says:

    Fantastic video!

    I enjoy the educational content and style of all the RS Animate videos, smart and stylish, very nice.

    Shame that our society is beyond hope and that no one will actually DO anything about things.

  26. Anise Shaw says:

    The point being made in the video is that the problem, when analysed from a Marxist economic structure, is that the process of accumulation of capital is out of balance.

    One of the major misconceptions that non-academics have about Marxist economic theory is that it somehow implies a communist structure and solution. It’s simply looking at the problem from the framework that Marx employed to analyse capitalism.

    Perhaps the discussion can be around the restoration of balance, taking power away from the financiers and placing it where it’s needed in the circulation of accumulation of Capital. I think the implication here is that it’s missing in manufacturing. The pendulum has swung too far from the anti-labour movement in the 70s.

  27. gwailo_joe says:

    First of all: kudos to Cognitive Media: I enjoy the animation.

    I agree with much of what was said: Capitalism is Flawed. Yup. I can see that. . .but it’s the only game in town.

    Economic and social equality? How is that going to happen? Protest? Revolution? Defeatist comments on bb??

    History shows that systems change, and that there is no one perfect social organizational principle.

    And Gawd help us, if and when Capitalism changes to the next thing. . .our globally connected world will be no more: you won’t recognize the place.

  28. Anonymous says:

    I like mine better……

    I think having a simple chart with most of the details inside a clickable map is a more efficient method of presentation

  29. Julien Couvreur says:

    Skilled drawing, but unfortunately void of actual intellectual content or reflection.

    The blur of rhetoric will sadly help nobody understand the mechanics of the economy and the roots of the crisis, which is an important enough question that people should not jump to conclusions.

    • jetfx says:

      I’m sure your penetrating intellect hasn’t jumped to any conclusions by writing off the lecture as meritless without bothering to even provide a reason why you think so.

    • noah django says:

      Would it be wrong of me to assume from your name that you are French or French-Canadian? Because if that assumption is correct, then you are correct in your criticism of this video; but bear in mind that it wasn’t for you.

      I’m ‘Merican. My roommate thinks I’m a genius because I can use a dictionary faster than he can google (not that he’s inclined to use either, really.) We, as a country, voted for G.W.Bush twice. We are neither as educated as the average person of your background, nor are we as culturally inclined towards education. We *need* a narrative and pictures just to bring us to square one of the debate. For me, this familiarizes me with a modern Marxist perspective for the first time.

      My school’s economics requirement for a basic education (high school) diploma was only 1/2 a semester and it was ALL capitalism. And this was at an “academic magnet” school(i.e. for nerds only.)

      In short, I liked the video, I like this thread even better, and I wish I had state-sponsored healthcare like most French-speaking nations because I can’t afford to get my rotten teeth pulled. What I’m trying to say is, the fact that you raise that argument is proof that your country is working better for you than mine is me.

      tl;dr haters gonna hate.

  30. Anonymous says:

    Ever since the Western Banking System of FIAT Currencies,( issued by Central Banks with no attachment to a Finite Source similar to Gold and Silver ), Money is now debt and issued to Governments at interest. This means that all money in circulation is debt and the interest must be paid back. However since its all “created” and then loaned to you at interest it is impossible to repay the debt without eliminating the money supply. Its not Capitalist at all but a Pyramid Scheme. Inflation is the only way to increase the money supply and there goes the cycle of boom and bust.

    • turn_self_off says:

      sadly, gold and silver do not have any more value on its own then fiat money has. They where just metals that was easy to work with, and that lasted far longer then any other easy to work metal at the time. End result, the perfect metal to make tokens of “IOU” from.

      yep, thats what money is, a stand in for something else. I do some work for you and rather then you handing me a measure of corn or a chicken, you hand me an agreed upon number of IOU tokens that i can later cash in somewhere else for that measure of corn or chicken. And so the cycle repeats itself.

      once one establish that train of thought, how about removing interest lending? Or heck, lets remove fractional reserve banking as well. Those two are what have gotten us into the mess we are into.

      instead, how about something like these people suggest?

      basically, money come into existence by being used as payment for work performed for the government. Then its removed again by the government as tax.

      • travis08 says:

        You are missing another MAJOR reason for the use of precious metals, one that separates their use from fiat money, it is not easily reproducible.

        Granted silver and gold deposits were/are found, which could dilute the value of gold or silver as a form of currency, that is nothing compared to the ability of unlimited reproduction of fiat money.

        It is the scarcity and unreproducible nature of precious metals that is important for their use as currency. Those also seem to be the two features you ignored when comparing fiat money.

        • turn_self_off says:

          actually, the scarcity of gold and silver created just as much problems as it removed.

          if people tried to save money for poor times, it ended up removing money from circulation, causing deflation.

          and technically the metals didnt become money until they where turned into specific weights (weights that have a very old history) and then stamped to show who guaranteed that it was the right weight. If not, one would have to go around with scale weights and measure up the gold oneself. And either side could argue to use their set of weight as the other may well be tampered with.

          And the creation of fake coins by way of adding other metals like lead, or shaving coins and melting the shavings to create more coins, have happened almost as long as metal coins have existed (with highs during bad times, like towards the end of the roman empire). Thats why we have this classical action of biting the coin to check its purity in those pirate movies, as pure gold is softer then gold mixed with lead or similar (heck, todays gold bars are not 100% pure, as then they would be as soft as putty).

          funny enough btw, the romans used copper coins much like we use fiat money today. only that thanks to them not having a fractional lending system, the total amount of coin in existence was controlled by the roman senate.

  31. Anonymous says:

    “The one with the gold makes the rules” and with 90% of the worlds “wealth” controlled by 2% of the population we are going to have a hard time changing it without becoming radical. It will also likely have to destroy the current notion of wealth.

    Destroying the current notion of wealth is better than what we are doing now and destroying our planet for notes on some electronic ledger representing “value”.

  32. Cicada says:

    There are lots of economic systems that work well if everyone (or almost everyone) in the society works within a given set of rules and expectations– scandanavians seem to be pretty good at this, for some reason.

    Capitalism’s strength lies in its ability to tolerate internal division and disagreement. Commune in the middle of a capitalist country? Not a problem. Major capitalist center in the middle of a communist country? Problem.

    Most people don’t realize that no matter what system they come up with, it’s unlikely that more than a plurality of the population will agree with it and work within it. This is why many revolutions wind up shooting/imprisoning/gulaging large portions of their own citizens afterwards.

    • Anonymous says:

      “Commune in the middle of a capitalist country? Not a problem.”

      Tell that to the workers in Paris on 1871 or Barcelona in 1936.

      State capitalists are just as opposed to workers self management and collective ownership as self described Marxist-Leninist’s are to (non-party controlled) private property.

      • Cicada says:

        Not an ecomomic problem. Politicians will shoot anything that threatens their control.

        • Anonymous says:

          Political problems are economic problems. Capitalism depends on the state–and therefore politicians–for it’s very existence, most importantly the enforcement of property “rights” for capitalists, against workers, who actually create property in the first place. What we now call economics used to be known as “political economy”. Capitalism doesn’t exist in a vacuum; it was created upon a whole set of legal structures: property “rights”, market regulation, contract law, labor law, torts, etc.

          The reverse is largely true as well. The state depends on capitalism. Private wealth funds campaigns, holds most of the top political posts, and sometimes even writes the laws.

          “As long as politics is the shadow cast on society by big business, the attenuation of the shadow will not change the substance. ” –John Dewey

          When the state puts down a commune, you can bet they do it on behalf of the interests of capitalists. In the cases in history where capitalism was strong and the state was too weak or too democratic to crush workers self management, the capitalists raised private armies to do their dirty work (Pinkertons), essentially re-creating the fundamental property of the state (monopoly on force) in private hands.

  33. Ralphooo says:

    The wealthy are in control, and are continually consolidating their power…

    The poor are becoming poorer, and in the near future many more of them will be starving…

    There are 6.7 billion of us on the planet, with some 220,000 more births than deaths every day…

    Dirty, obsolete fuel technology on which we are still utterly dependent is causing increasing damage to Earth’s oceans and atmosphere…

    Does anyone really think we are likely to pull a decent outcome out of the present overwhelmingly negative scenario?

  34. Yamara says:

    So, what everyone is basically saying here is, “Eat the rich”.

    I think most of us can get on the same page with that.

    We’re starving, they’re delicious. The solution is self-evident.

    • Anonymous says:

      But there are so few of the rich, and so many of the rest of us! We would each get only a tiny mouthful.

  35. Anonymous says:

    Economics, the dismal science, the bogus science.

    The science of preferences.

    Modern economy is about internalizing benefits and externalizing costs. Witness Deepwater Horizon.

    With expanded consciousness, comes an awareness that there is no externalizing of costs. Not really. We’re all simmering in one Soup.

  36. sirkowski says:

    TL;DR version: Things are fucked, do something! (But I don’t know what.)

    Nice animation, but not very helpful.

  37. Anonymous says:

    I thought the visualizations are incredible. I loved the format… I’m going to steal the idea for my next video presentation….

    But the thinking is idiotic. The real problem of the current capitalism crisis was government intervention (yes, the same government that Marxists want to give more power to). To whit, the phrase “too big to fail” is absolutely NOT a capitalist idea. It’s a finance industry one used to coerce corrupt government officials to bailing out institutions that did not “evolve” into a survivable mode. In a real capitalist economy businesses would flourish or fail according to supply and demand. But what do you think would happen if a failing business is bailed out by a corrupt government? Answer: the disaster that we have.

    OK, you’re going to point out that if those banks failed chaos and apocalypse would prevail. And yes, I agree, but only in the short term. Nature (and society) abhors a vacuum. Other financial industries would have emerged–some vastly more ideal than the recently vanquished–to provide for the demand for credit, trading, etc. The sad thing is that people don’t realize that there were reasons why some annual percentage rates were 15% and above: risk. In a true capitalist environment, investors who invest in high-risk endeavors should be allowed to go belly up if those endeavors don’t pan out… or to reap huge rewards if they do.

    But government meddling has changed that dynamic. The result is a chaos between socialism and capitalism without the good traits of either.

  38. anansi133 says:

    Cool video, definitely thought provoking, if you’re already inclined to think about this stuff.

    Micheal Albert’s Participatory economics has always fascinated me, for prescriptive activism. Dunno if it would work, you’d need a certain number of subscribers to even give it a fair shot.

    On the diagnostic activism side, it seems like there have been about 500 years where people with money haven’t had to pay the true cost of anything. Europe is maxed out, here’s 5 more continents to externalize costs with, party till you can’t any more.

    This mess has been brewing for longer than any of us have been alive, so the change is going to be greater than we can easily imagine. (Fer god’s sake, we up and broke the atmosphere! How messed up is that?)

    Back when Enron was in the news, we were assured it was only a few bad apples, everything is better now, go about your business. “a few bad apples” now sounds about as apt as, “drill baby drill”

  39. Anonymous says:

    That’s fantastic. Not only does it draw people like me in who might otherwise gloss over an economic lecture, but it’s a brilliant way to engage visual thinkers. I hope to see more of these animations!

  40. Anonymous says:

    This made sense up until the point where he brought in the financiers in connection with expanding businesses. At that point, it seemed he started to expend too many syllables bemoaning the ‘system’ and not enough connecting Point A to Point B in order to make an argument. I got the distinct feeling the video had turned from lecture into rant.

    The point about personal debt resulting from falling real wages probably hit home the hardest. Even so, I don’t see much follows from that other than perhaps a need for financial reform–not for a Marxist revolution.

    Maybe I am expecting too much from a cartoon? Damn you, Super Friends, why can’t YOU teach me philosophy and economics…?

  41. Anonymous says:

    Amazing presentation. I completely agree with him. We need more discussion on changing our economic policies. Time after time capitalism fails the poor and middle class..Its time to give some some sort of socialized economic policies a chance.

  42. Anonymous says:

    I believe the Cognitive Media Visualizations cater to those whose minds tend to function in more than one direction at a time. It brought a sense of humour to a very testing subject, therefore allowing him to make more bold statements with a softer affect. You absorb first and react afterward, in a sense. I don’t see it taking away from the validity or seriousness of the topic, but rather allowing the absorption of the information being delivered to you, without the defence of opinion getting in the way first. I’ll admit there is a slight contradiction there, but because of the humour you have to admit, the presentation was so smooth that regardless of your personal opinion, it didn’t cloud your mind preventing you from seeing the underlying message. In the light of change and new direction, I think this is a perfect way to educate the next generation on serious topics as there are more and more brilliant little minds each year. We just need to understand how to get their attention and keep it! This may not be for everyone, but there’s always the option of not watching.

  43. Anonymous says:

    PapayaSF & Rindan: you have multiple times talked vaguely about “marxism in power”, “trying marxism” and so on. Please describe exactly what you mean by marxism. References have been given, yet you avoid to talk substance. Your repeated evasion of doing that suggest that you do not know a iota about contemporary marxist thought and are only venting your anti-stalin gut reflex. As we are all anti-stalin here, I gather, that talk adds nothing to the present discussion.

    Do you object to sociological marxism? historical materialism? the analytical marxist conception of distributive justice? Or, perhaps, some other aspect of some view in the marxist tradition? What are your specific objections?

    • PapayaSF says:

      By Marxism in power I mean the people who have been in political power who call themselves Marxists: every Marxist state and their leaders. I’m sure that’s what Rindan means as well. It’s not just Stalin, it’s Lenin and every single one of them since.

      I object to sociological Marxism because seeing societies in terms of class warfare and the supposed awfulness of free enterprise is limiting, divisive and dangerous. “Distributive justice” is oxymoronic b.s. because true justice can only happen in individual cases, not between groups.

      • Anonymous says:

        Sorry for the Godwin, but both Hitler and modern European governments have called themselves socialists, so modern Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands, even Canada are the same as 1940 Nazis?

        I know Americans think that socialist == Nazi or Stalin, or maybe Satan. But it really means trying to balance everyone’s interest: not only the rich or merchants, but also the poor and disenfranchised.

        Also, as others have said, Marxism is an analysis of what’s wrong — Marx himself never suggested a method of government that would ‘fix’ everything, so ‘Marxist rule’ is the real oxymoron here.

        Finally, capital itself: I learned the best lesson about that from a (badly acted) ABC Weekend Special based on a story called “All the Money in the World” — if one person has all of it, the rest of capitalism doesn’t work. If a few people have most of it, absolute control through bribery is inevitable. But capital, whether fiat or ‘gold standard’ (read up on the diamond trade if you think that matters) is a derivative function — up until you can’t give it away, more is better.

        In other words, the stinking-rich write their own laws.

  44. benher says:

    I completely agree. For all the romantic appeal of “Marxism” as a meme, it’s practitioners over the last century haven’t exactly done a bang up job of upholding it’s promises.

    • Trotsky says:

      You wrongly assume that just because an individual, group, or nation declares itself a practitioner of Marxist principles that they are actually Marxist. Politics is about maneuvering, consolidation, destruction of one’s competitors. In order to successfully maintain control, you acquire or discard banners, slogans, political or religious affiliation as necessary. Power adapts.

      Stalin, for example, was not a proponent of Marx. He was a proponent of Stalin.

      China at present practices the rawest and most sincere form of capitalism known to man. What they SAY and what they DO are distinct.

      So, who precisely are these failed “practitioners” of Marxism of whom you speak?

      • turn_self_off says:

        didnt lenin warn his companions against letting stalin take control?

        • Trotsky says:

          My point is simply this… those who control will do or say whatever they need to in order to endure. To determine the validity of the ideas of Marx, the underlying mechanics in practice should be examined. And that’s something that rarely happens as most people begin any discussion of Marx by making it into a squabble over individuals and their atrocities.

          So take, for example, Martin Luther King Jr. who may or may not have cheated on his wife or plagiarized papers in college. Let’s say he’s a saint or let’s say he’s a conman. Does that in any way impact the validity of the movement for civil rights that he happened to helm?

          It’s lazy to fall into a discussion over individuals and their demeanor when discussing themes that apply in a greater scope.

          Do the fascist sympathies of Henry Ford somehow invalidate the principles and implementation of the internal combustion engine?

          Perhaps Einstein liked to dress up as a school marm and stick his dick in tapioca. Let’s say he succeeded in forming a group of similarly inclined he-marms who also like to violate pudding. Should that in any way factor into consideration of the theories of relativity?

          • Rindan says:

            My point is simply this… those who control will do or say whatever they need to in order to endure. To determine the validity of the ideas of Marx, the underlying mechanics in practice should be examined. And that’s something that rarely happens as most people begin any discussion of Marx by making it into a squabble over individuals and their atrocities.

            I think you are misunderstanding his point. We all agree that there is no Marxism, Capitalism, or whatever. All of the proponents of ideology X can rightly claim that when it was tried and didn’t work out as expected, it was because when they tried they were doing it wrong.

            The point that myself and others have made is that how something works in theory is a cute academic exercise, but is ultimately only an academic exercise. If every time someone decides to have a Marxist revolution, when all is said and done, you have a pile of corpses and a brutal and oppressive government, it says something about how that theory works in practice. The government certainly isn’t “Marxist” in how you would define it, but it is what you get when you try and make one. For whatever reasons, the levers of power that Marxist ideology hands over results in something that a Marxist doesn’t like and is by pretty much any measure brutal and ineffective. Marxist revolutions have a nearly perfect track record of suck, regardless if the final product is truly a Marxist society or not.

            The same goes with capitalism. Build a “capitalist” economy and you get pretty much what you see in the US. A purist can point to it and decry it as anything but capitalist, but that isn’t the point. Sure, it might not be a “true” capitalist economy, but when you mix capitalism and democracy, this is what you get.

            Time bury Rand and Marx and try something new.

  45. Anonymous says:

    At about 8:46 analysis and arguments stop and personal idiosyncracies start.

  46. spill says:

    Interested parties might like to know that Harvey offers his course on Marx’s _Capital_ at his site in a variety of formats, all for free.

    • turn_self_off says:

      already watched his introduction, and my head now hurts after he tried to explain marx’s writings about value.

      • spill says:

        Hahahah…yeah, I’m right with ya. I can tell it’s going to take a while to bang this stuff into the skull. Oh, and _getting through *Capital* itself_. I’ve never made it past chapter 3.

        Harvey’s site had a link to the Librivox audio edition. I think I’ll give it a look….Hahaha. It’s only a gig in size.

  47. Anonymous says:

    gwailo_joe: “Economic and social equality? How is that going to happen?”

    Much social scientific research indicates that northern european forms of social democratic welfare states perform good in terms of efficiency and excellent in terms of happiness, health, community and other important dimensions. That is real, actually implemented social systems that have thrived throughout the last century and onwards.

    Julien Couvreur: what specific parts of the analysis do you find problematic?

    PapayaSF: “…the “perversions” of Marxism are pretty much the entire history of Marxism in power …”

    So, you are objecting to cases of revolutionary forcible takeover of state power, turning it into totalitarian, non-democratic regimes with massive violations of human rights to not be imprisoned or killed?

    I am sure everyone here agrees that that was and is wrong. The problem is that you assume that every marxist analysis of the problems with capitalism and every vision of a better society that limits or surpasses capitalism must embrace totalitarianism. That is just plain wrong. Please read at least one book on contemporary marxist thought and then come back here and make your objections clear and to the point.

    • Anonymous says:

      Let me clarify the point you’re responding to– “How is it going to happen that, in societies where the notion of social good is actually considered anathema, you will institute policies that consider the social good to be most important?”

    • Rindan says:

      I am sure everyone here agrees that that was and is wrong. The problem is that you assume that every marxist analysis of the problems with capitalism and every vision of a better society that limits or surpasses capitalism must embrace totalitarianism. That is just plain wrong. Please read at least one book on contemporary marxist thought and then come back here and make your objections clear and to the point.

      System do what they will, intentions be damned. A monarchy might be a perfectly fine system if you have a competent and altruistic monarch. Maybe you even get one on occasion, but in the longer run it is brutal oppression and wretched economics because that is just what happens over the long run when you set up society around one family.

      Maxism is the same. It might be really fun if you didn’t embrace brutal oppression, but that is what happens. When you try and order society in that manner, almost without exception, you get brutal oppression and a pile of bodies. You can argue about the reasons for it, but for whatever reasons, when a society tries Marxism on for a try, you get a pile of corpses when it all shakes out. I am pretty content with not trying just one more time and seeing if THIS time we can do it right so that when the dust settles we don’t have a society that isn’t brutally oppressed and busy burying the bodies the backyard.

      Capitalism isn’t all that different. Societies that try capitalism start to converge on a norm. There is variation, but you tend to see same thing over and over. The state and corporations grow in power, you start retracting freedoms for corporate interests, but you get something that is relatively well ordered, offers some some certain types of freedom, and provides materially (though certainly not with an equality). It also isn’t capitalism in the pure sense of the word. It is just what you get when you try for capitalism. Ayn Rand would be just as mortified by Bush as Marx would be of Stalin.

      So Marxism? I’ll pass. We tried, tried, and then tried some more, and it all just ended up with the same mound of bodies and brutal societies that we got the time before. Capitalism? It sucks, but it works better than all of the other things we have tried. That said, I am still open to change. I think we have not even begun to sample the alternative governing systems that could possibly exist. Toss in a little technology magic to make truly new things possible, and I am not without hope. I just have no desire to try Marxism just one more time.

      Personally, I would be far more interested in ditching the old guy than dusting him off every time capitalism predictably disappoints. That philosphy had nearly a centuary to fail miserably. Time to try something new and let the corpse of poor Marx stay buried.

      Capitalism sucks in practice. Maxism sucks even more in practice. Both are awesome in theory. Now lets move on to something new. Ok?

    • dreamfish says:

      Indeed. I suspect many people, as soon as they saw the word ‘Marxist’, put their mind into the mode of thinking he’s automatically wrong about everything he says.

      Try abandoning your prejudices and critique what he says and his analyses. You may well still come to the conclusion that he’s dead wrong but at least it will be an honest assessment based on the facts and not your, possibly invalid, pre-conceptions.

  48. Anonymous says:

    American culture and media is too efficient, too good at Idiocracizing to ever allow the US to turn into that wet dream of the collective left that is Sweden.

    Maybe California can pull a San Andreas and break off, capitol of San Francisco, President Bob Dylan. They’d have to laser off a LA though.

  49. Trotsky says:

    “Marxism” as with “communism” and “socialism” are levers installed through decades of conditioning into the minds of the lazy. Those words trigger a Pavlovian cascade of ignorant and vocal conflation of similar ideologies poorly understood. Most have no understanding, nor interest in understanding, the distinction between Stalinism, Bolshevism, and all of the other variants descended from the ideology of Marx.

    All of the offal of the last century or so gets casually laid to the account of Marx, by those who hold precision in contempt.

    In that way, it is completely similar to how facile people cavalierly bandy about “Muslim” or “Arab” as a catch-all for every human, government, organization that exists in a generally dim and rarely examined corner of the globe. The term becomes a vessel, like the devil for Christians, for “all bad things.”

  50. LaughingLemon says:

    There’s also a similar talk on motivation “Drive: The Surprising Truth” which is also facinating.

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