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."


  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.

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

  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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