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5/14/09

Is This The Beginning of The End of Capitalism As We Know It?

Marx turned Hegel on his head and used the Hegelian dialectic for his dialectical materialism, which is a fancy way of saying that he crammed reality into a theory based on the physical world rather than the spiritual.

He proclaimed that capitalism had in it the seeds of its own doom. The Soviet Union as well as the People's Republic of China used their progressive thinking, their might, and their cunning to try to prove Marx correct.

The Soviet Union has collapsed along with the Berlin Wall. Communist China has grafted onto its People's Republic an unlikely thing, the free market system. Russia has become a nation of robber barons and crony capitalists. Communist China keeps its elite and autocratic leadership while suppressing freedom of speech and other rights cherished by the West. (Bill Clinton had hoped that opening up world markets to China would democratize the country, not in a socialist sense, but in a Western sense of freedom for the individual and institutions.)

Now, along comes the current global crisis. Alan Greenspan, once a disciple of Ayn Rand, says he was wrong about the wisdom of the market. The efficient market is nothing more than a theory like Karl Marx's. Governments must regulate markets to some extent. So much for The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. Whither capitalism, then?

"Just like the advocates of capitalism today, [monarchist] supporters then could plausibly argue that monarchies were rooted in nature. Then it was hierarchy which was natural; today it is individual acquisitiveness. Then it was mass democracy which had been experimented with and shown to fail. Today it is socialism that is seen in the same light, as a well-intentioned experiment that failed because it was at odds with human nature.

What happened to the military is another useful frame for thinking about capitalism’s future. We are only a few generations from societies where the military stood at the apex of status and respect. War was part of the natural order, the inevitable way to resolve disputes. Yet, against all odds, in much of the world armies were tamed and civilised, turned from often cruel masters into professional servants. . . . ." More

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