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Karl Marx was a clever bloke, and Freud

Today in the Telegraph Philip Johnston writes about Marx. Now most right wingers who write about him in these terms haven’t read a word of the source material and get their ideas from other writers who write about him and haven’t read much of of it either. So it’s probably just an impression. He argues that we should not let the left win the argument. Sorry matey but it is the greedy bankers what lost the argument, not the loony left. The system has imploded and left a residue of smelly stuff in the wake of all the bankers, brokers and sundry corporate reptiles who are now gloating on the beach. They won’t be reading Karl Marx.

Karl Marx
Karl Marx

Surely he protests too much? Marx was pretty astute. He understood that humanity would win out and that capitalism was simply a stepping stone on the path to humanism. The problem that Popper and other philosophers have with Marx is that he attempted to formulate what would come after capitalism and that National Socialism and Communism were born. However this divergence from the path does not make him wrong in his analysis that capitalism would implode.

It’s not the markets stupid, it’s alienation. Alienation from the product of our labour and each other.

We just don’t care about each other, or ourselves, any more. Hiding in our houses, scared to go out at night, wishing we didn’t have to go to work, having to fill in endless forms and comply with hundreds of annoying rules. It’s this that Marx could see. He didn’t predict half the population would be so depressed that they’d comfort eat themselves to death mind. Freud did, nearly, his idea of over civilization and mass neurosis is bang on the money.
Greedy Banker
Greedy Banker

Where Marx went wrong was trying to extend the logic of his argument beyond his brilliantly intuitive analysis of capitalism. Because of the brilliance of his analysis and the fact that most who study his ideas of alienation empathise with them led those same folk to credit his arguments in favour of socialism/communism with the same brilliance and embrace it. Hence Popper and other philosophers reject his historicism and socialism as nothing more than scientist, which it is.

It will be interesting to see what will actually emerge from this and where the path will lead.

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