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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Another Thing My Students Can't Grasp...

is that Marx and Engels were, in some ways, great admirers of capitalism. No matter how many times I say that they thought capitalism was a necessary historical phase, and how many quotes I show them praising the tremendous growth capitalism had produced, when I give them a multiple choice question, they keep choosing "Marx thought capitalism should never have happened."

3 comments:

  1. And on top of that, the claim that Marx was a ponderous, boring writer turns out to be a lie. I haven't read Capital and don't expect to, but I randomly followed a link to a passage of The 18th Brumaire of Louis Napoleon earlier this year and ended up reading the whole thing in a day because it was just that well-written. He knew how to turn a phrase, and he could be scathingly funny.

    I'm told his dispatches re the American Civil War are also excellent.

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  2. It's their professor who is ponderous and boring, Jim.

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  3. Indeed.

    Lenin et al, right up to at least 1905 and possibly 1917, assumed that Russia was not yet ready for a socialist revolution -- that it would have to fully emerge from feudalism, evolve a bourgeois middle class and a capitalist economy first.

    They assumed that because that's precisely how Marx and Engels envisioned things in their theory of history.

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