Monday, April 6, 2009

The Relevance of Karl Marx

Wendy Shearn just pointed out to me a short literary review by Christopher Hitchens of a new Marx biography: "Marx 'Das Kapital': a Biography" by Francis Wheen. Hitchens' review appears in the April '09 issue of the Atlantic. It is full of name droppings of Heidegger, Duhring, Lasalle, Michelthwaite, Woolridge, Bahro, Hilferding, Schumpeter, and others whose mention means nothing to me. However, I understand them to be serious persons of importance and they did and are all talking about Marx as having had, and continuing to have vibrancy and relevance to our modern world. We learn, for example, that John Cassidy, in an essay in The New Yorker in 1997 suggested that Marx may yet turn out to be the next important thinker for the 21st Century.

. . . with that, I'll keep on reading!

1 comment:

  1. There are certainly Marxist and Walmartist mathematical formulae to determine value based on material and labor costs.

    However, once basic human needs for survival are met, what people want to and can pursue, purchase, and consume may be determined more by emotion and advertising than by economics.

    We have learned in the last year that prices for everything in the market, including basic commodities, have fluctuated wildly, not following the supposed "laws" of supply and demand.

    Two possible new theories: The Bubble Theory, which also allows for bubbles within bubbles, and the Barry Manilow Theory.

    I will let someone else describe the bubble theory. The Barry Manilow Theory is this: Clearly the intrisic value of 2 tickets to a Barry Manilow concert is pretty close $ 0. However, if a lot of people decide today they want to see Barry Manilow, the ticket value goes up considerably. This is not traditional supply and demand, because the demand has no rational basis.

    To what extent has the value of equities in the stock market been driven in recent years by BM economics?