Marxism Remains a Dangerous Idea

I have been meaning to write a blog post about Marxism following an exchange in the comments to one of my posts about Trump’s dictatorial tendencies. Essentially the thrust of the comment was that Marxism is a bigger threat in the US today than fascism. I disagree with this assertion, but I do think that the extremes to which we have taken capitalism have opened the door for a resurgence of beliefs that it needs to be toppled entirely rather than shrunken dramatically, as I propose in The World After Capital.

I want to start by pointing out a few things that should be obvious but maybe aren’t. First, there is a huge body of Marxist thinking that has evolved over more than a century and entire books have been written about narrow subfields, such as say Marxist critiques of modern cinema. I find it somewhat comical to think that anyone would find this a threat — it is a valid mode of criticism, which one can debate on its merits, but which in no way is going to give rise to a revolution. When people say that the liberal arts are overrun with Marxist thinking, it is useful to keep this in mind.

Second, there are policies, such as the Green New Deal or Single Payer Healthcare that I disagree with for a variety of reasons (mostly related to their approaches to labor and innovation) but which are not Marxist per se. Applying the Marxist label to (Read more...)