>the more things change…

>Consider the following paragraph below. It is from an introduction to Karl Marx’s Capital Volume 1. It was written in 1976 by Ernest Mandel. I was struck by how much it describes our current day.

Periodically the bourgeois class and its ideologues have thought they have found the stone of wisdom; have felt able, accordingly, to announce the end of crises and socio-economic contradictions in the capitalist system. But despite Keynesian techniques, notwithstanding all the various attempts to integrate the working class into late capitalism, for over a decade now the system has appeared if anything more crisis-ridden than when Marx wrote Capital. From the Vietnam war to the turmoil on the world monetary system; from the upsurge of radical workers’ struggles in Western Europe since 1968 to the rejection of bourgeois values and culture by large numbers of young people throughout the world; from the ecology and energy crises to the recurrent economic recessions; there is no need to look very far for indications that capitalism’s heyday is over. Capital explains why the sharpening contradictions of the system were as inevitable as its impetuous growth. In that sense, contrary to a generally accepted belief, Marx is much more an economist of the twentieth century than of the nineteenth. Today’s Western world is much nearer to the ‘pure’ model of Capital than was the world in which it was composed.

Of course, capitalism has had a few more years of its so-called “heyday” since 1976. But maybe we are seeing bigger cracks in the system today than in the past. And yet I don’t think we’ve seen the last of capitalism for a long time now. Marxists have been saying for more than 150 years that capitalism is going to collapse any day now, but it keeps trudging along – making some rich beyond measure.

I must also say that it was fun typing this up while listening the the soundtrack from Repo Man.

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