More and more the headlines make me think of Marx, but none so much as this–Two Giants Emerge From Wall Street Ruins.
Forget revolution of the proletariat and all that. Let’s look at the foundation of Marx’s argument that capitalism is a destabilizing economic system. Economic growth leads to surplus, decreases in spending bring about recession, capital prices move lower, and the stronger companies are able to buy-out the weak companies at a bargain, reestablishing growth.
The one overriding trend? Greater and greater concentration of productive capacity and market share. As the owners of larger and wealthier firms, the capitalists gain power and influence over government and policy, increasing the divide between rich and poor. That, according to Marx’s dialectical materialism, is what drives the major conflicts and changes of history.
Of course Marx’s followers used the argument to justify armed revolution, but it is not completely clear that is what Marx intended. That point, in fact, may explain Marx’s statement from his deathbed, “I am not a Marxist.”
As J.P. Morgan and Goldman Sachs begin to dominate financial markets, we also see demands that government take more control and establish guidelines for how the market will run. Does not seem like a revolution, but it sure sounds socialist.
As an educator, the real point for me is that Marx needs to find his way into our economics curriculum.