Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The British Museum Reading Room....

Shush! Someone is there among the books, and he reads from a large stack of books on the desk, feverishly taking notes.

Who is it?--well, if one was living in London, England in the 1860's, that person might be Karl Marx.  After Marx wrote the Communist Manifesto, he spent years toiling on his magnum opus, the monumental Das Kapital.   Das Kapital (in English:  Capital--or money used for investment) was a book outlining the history of the economic world as a  titanic class struggle.

Though Marx will always be closely identified with  Communist ideology, there are many historical truths in Das Kapital.  The idea of exploitation by the capitalist class is very real today...but history also abounds with rag to riches stories of inventiveness.  Still...Marx would identify very closely with the management of money, the big banks, the role of government bailouts.  If he were alive today, he would also be able to witness the epic failure of his ideology in Russia and China.

Millions died in the Communist regimes of Russia and China (mainly due to food production and collectivization), some were persecuted, displaced, and murdered.  Today, communism is seen as a failed ideology whose main premises continue to sing a siren's song against the backdrop of struggling capitalism.