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March 30, 2009

Methinks they dost protest too much

Janet Daley makes a point that should be obvious to Marxists. A technical term for the mistake is reification - Verdinglichung, actually - i.e. treating a social relationship as if it were a thing.

Those who talk of "overthrowing" capitalism are determined to depict it as a system of government in a precise parallel with socialism, when in reality, capitalism is not a system in the ideological sense.

It is, if anything, an anti-system: the aggregation of human behaviour as it goes about fulfilling particular wants and needs. It can be described in anthropomorphic terms, such as "ruthless" or "benign" but of itself has no motives and no objectives. (Gordon Brown is more than usually fatuous when he insists that markets need to have "values": only people have values, methods of exchange do not.)

We could also usefully deploy the word "irony" except such would be to lend credit the protesters have not earned. Not one in a hundred Marxists has bothered to read Marx let alone attempted to make sense of the gaping pot holes in his logic.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at March 30, 2009 06:48 AM