Leo Panitch on Marx, socialism and individual rights
Thoroughly Modern Marx
By Leo Panitch
Lights. Camera. Action. Das Kapital. Now.
The economic crisis has spawned a resurgence of interest in Karl Marx. Worldwide sales of Das Kapital have shot up one lone German publisher sold thousands of copies in 2008, compared with 100 the year before, a measure of a crisis so broad in scope and devastation that it has global capitalism—and its high priests—in an ideological tailspin.
Yet even as faith in neoliberal orthodoxies has imploded, why resurrect Marx? To start, Marx was far ahead of his time in predicting the successful capitalist globalization of recent decades. He accurately foresaw many of the fateful factors that would give rise to today’s global economic crisis: what he called the “contradictions” inherent in a world comprised of competitive markets, commodity production, and financial speculation.