Capitalism in crisis

Posted: 28 July 2012 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

The times they certainly are a-changin’.

Yesterday, Charlie Rose interviewed two Marxist scholars—economist Richard Wolff and geographer David Harvey—on the topic of capitalism’s current crises.

Here’s the direct link to the interview.* And here’s the video hosted on Hulu (the interview starts at about the 28:25 mark).

Two items stand out from the interview: First, Rose really wanted an example of a country where the kind of alternative to capitalism proposed by Wolff and Harvey is currently being practiced. Second, Rose seemed surprised to hear that Marxism has been for some time, and continues to be, subject to a taboo in the academy and in the wider society.

On the first: we need both to cite examples of noncapitalist economies (such as the Mondragón coooperatives) and to make the argument that changing the current system in different countries (such as the United States, which is not contemporary Cuba or pre-1917 Russia) will produce different results. So, there’s no general model to follow, although there are plenty of interesting examples of noncapitalism historically and around the world today.

On the second: Wolff and Harvey might have asked Rose how many Marxists he’s interviewed over the years.

*Warning: the link is not working at the moment but I can’t imagine that will last long.

  1. Magpie says:


    Funny that you should mention this: “Second, Rose seemed surprised to hear that Marxism has been for some time, and continues to be, subject to a taboo in the academy and in the wider society.”

    I found, just minutes before reading your post, a wonderful example.

    Here’s Christian Rickens (Der Spiegel Online in English) astounded with Sahra Wagenknecht’s proposal to solve the European crisis: “Astoundingly, however, there really is a novel approach out there”. (Link below)

    This “novel approach” has not received the attention Rickens seems to believe it should have been afforded. Why? Because: “It is perhaps because of this somewhat spotty biography that her concept [Wagenknecht’s, that is] for solving the euro crisis has received so little attention.”

    Why is her biography “spotty”? Because “Wagenknecht, now 43, joined the East German communist party SED in 1989 just a few months before the fall of the Berlin Wall. Until 2010, she was the most prominent member of the Communist Platform, the Marxist wing of the Left Party.”

    In Rickens’s defense, at least he eventually heard, perhaps against everything he believes, what this Wagenknecht lady had to say.

    Many others can’t even manage that. They simply go around proclaiming that Marxists are loonies, without knowing what they have to say.

    Talk about madness.


    A New Idea to Save the Common Currency

  2. Magpie says:


    Sorry to insist on this. But the whole thing keeps coming back to me, in spite of my attempts to move on.

    Just last year John Quiggin, you know, the Australian economics professor, was accused of being a “far-leftist”!

    Prof. Quiggin, for Christ’s sake!!!

    And, somehow, I don’t think that was meant to increase his prestige and standing among his peers and the wider community…

  3. David F. Ruccio says:

    I know. I’ve spent most of my life dealing with such nonsense. But things are a bit different right now, at least in the wider society, especially in midst of the Second Great Depression and in the wake of the Occupy movement—although, regrettably, not in economics. Not by a long shot!

  4. Dave S says:

    The second point does not ring true. I took Marxist Economics in the 1970’s. It was a popular course in large universities. I teach in a university now and almost of all of the faculty are leftists, not necessarily embracing all of Marx’s ideas, but certainly Socialists (although many don’t llike that label).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s