Karl Marx Essay On Capitalism Yne Metathesis
It surpassed, in its accomplishments, all the great civilizations of the past—the Egyptian pyramids, the Roman aqueducts, the Gothic cathedrals.
Its innovations—the railroad, the steamship, the telegraph—had unleashed fantastic productive forces.
or about February 24, 1848, a twenty-three-page pamphlet was published in London.
Modern industry, it proclaimed, had revolutionized the world.
Although no one would hold him responsible, in a juridical sense, for the outcome, on Marx’s own principle the outcome tells us something about the ideas.
In short, you can put Marx back into the nineteenth century, but you can’t keep him there.
Considering his rather glaring relevance to contemporary politics, it’s striking that two important recent books about Marx are committed to returning him to his own century.
Soon, in fact, there would be just two types of people in the world: the people who owned property and the people who sold their labor to them.
Even today, “The Communist Manifesto” is like a bomb about to go off in your hands.
And, unlike many nineteenth-century critics of industrial capitalism—and there were a lot of them—Marx was a true revolutionary.
He wasted a ridiculous amount of his time feuding with rivals and putting out sectarian brush fires, and he did not even come close to completing the work he intended as his magnum opus, “Capital.” But, for better or for worse, it just is not the case that his thought is obsolete.
He saw that modern free-market economies, left to their own devices, produce gross inequalities, and he transformed a mode of analysis that goes all the way back to Socrates—turning concepts that we think we understand and take for granted inside out—into a resource for grasping the social and economic conditions of our own lives.