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Friday, December 21, 2012

Marx and Rothbard, Sitting in a Tree?

I'm reading a review of Capital, the State, and the Monetary Mode of Power in The Review of Political Economy, and I am really struck by how similar the Marxist view of credit creation is to that of the 100%-reservists: basically, it is a way of bestowing claims to goods upon certain (undeserving) people. This certainly is not an argument against either the Marxist or Rothbardian view... in fact, some people might be encouraged that someone arrived at the same finish line from a different starting point. But I wonder how many people in either camp are aware of this similar conclusion?

5 comments:

  1. While this is relatively tangentially, as someone who has some experience with Marxist literature in sociology and political science, it seems that a lot of libertarians don't realize how much of value is in these works — probably because of repulsion to all things "socialist."

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    1. Yes, Jonathan, as with Keynes, when I had to teach Marx, I felt, "OK, I have to understand his ideas as he did to teach him fairly," and once again I came away with far more respect for him as a thinker than when I started the project. (Not that I now consider myself an expert on Marxism!) I think he made serious errors on both the economic and the spiritual front (and he absolutely was a spiritual thinker), but he was still a genius.

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  2. I think that there are more agreements between Rothbard and Marx than many people are willing to let on, but it often depends upon the criteria and discipline in question.

    Certainly, people who are highly ideological will tend to either disregard all things outside of their beliefs and/or continually reinforce their beliefs. But for those who are a little more honest and open, you cannot deny that there are areas of similar conclusions between these two men, even if they arrived at these conclusions from different avenues of ideas.

    Both of these people were thinking on a level that is beyond my own capabilities, so I can only read their written thoughts and put it into my own perspective. I tend to agree more with Rothbard's analysis of economic phenomena, as well as his work in political theory, but this is not to say that I agree with everything that Rothbard said, nor do I think that everything Marx said is wrong.

    Everyone's a critic, but not everyone is of like mind. One man's truth is another's critique. Often the real truth is found somewhere in between, or nowhere between the two. My own belief is that one should not be bound by the all too human tendency of picking sides, but rather to find the "good" found in both sides. However, one cannot escape their own biases and perspectives, so the "good" is often blurred by individual prejudices.

    It's a tough nut to crack, because we are limited by our own human reality, thus the truth is only relevant to that reality (i.e. the absolute truth can easily be outside of this reality). Hopefully, our reason brings us closer to that absolute truth. I don't think that this is always or often the case, however.

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  3. In a superficial sense, the thought of Rothbard and Marx making out in a tree kind of gives me the creeps.

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    1. Not that there's anything wrong with it.

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