by Tyler Cowen
on October 17, 2013 at 12:02 pm
in Uncategorized |
1. Is Marxism making an intellectual comeback?
2. Four-minute Robert Shiller video, interesting in both mood and content.
3. Robot petting zoo.
4. Interview with Ted and Dana Gioia.
5. Brookings review of Average is Over…”Not Afraid of Tyler Cowen? You will be…” And here is Dorset Naga. And Andrew Lewis reviews the book. He understands the book quite well.
6. “…the average US automobile contains $1.65 in change when it arrives at the shredder.”
Markets In Everything
Fantex is paying Foster $10 million for a 20 percent stake in his future income,
Wow. They realize he’s a 27 year old running back, right? Unless he’s got great endorsement deals, that’s a terrible idea.
Not if they can sell that stake to greater fools. Football fans might invest in Foster for the fun of it. If so, Fantex has created entertainment value that didn’t otherwise exist.
Personally, I wish I could short sell Foster in order to hedge my experience watching Texans games.
He’s appeared in national commercials (Foot Locker, EA Sports), he’s started acting in films (he has a role in the upcoming Kevin Costner/Ivan Reitman football film), and he also has endorsement deals with companies like Toyota, Kroger and Under Armour, and he is already active on the compensated autograph/appearance/speaker circuit. Seems like a pretty good entrepreneurial start considering all this stuff is just a part time job until he retires from the NFL, where he is scheduled to make $23+ million over the next 3+ years, assuming he can stay healthy.
Is Marxism making an intellectual comeback?
Does anyone still equate “intellectual” with “wise”?
Not any more.
Uh, it means of or relating to the intellect and usually refers in noun forms to those who think about and try to write about ideas. There are intellectuals with good judgment and good arguments and points, and there are those with bad judgment and poor and unconvincing arguments. It’s not a principally normative descriptor.
The ones with bad judgment and good arguments are the ones to watch out for.
That’s an excellent point.
“Robotic petting zoo.”
It was fun trying to assign probabilities to what you meant. Humans petting robots or robots petting goats?
Robots petting robots, obviously. The average is over, dude!
Wordpress seems to think my fake internet name is Dorset Naga, but regular readers of these comments know that my real fake internet name is dirk.
I was under the impression that the pinnacle of modern day Marxism/Communist intellectualism was G.A. Cohen and his passing marked the decline in that sort of thinking.
1: I always get such a nice twinge of amusement whenever I see Marxism being brought up on MR!
And in general, we young Marxist upstarts certainly do enjoy it when the growing socialist movement is recognized by what I guess you’d call the “mainstream press.”
I think one thing that is curious to see is how modern American radical leftists seem to buck the trend on how all communists are middle-class white people. If you look at popular Marxist magazines like Jacobin or Viewpoint, its editorial board seems to be dominated by South Asians and Latin Americans. And as for the actual practical building of grassroots communist movements, its typically dominated by poor Black folks in urban areas. And even when people who are part of community groups and non-profits don’t express overtly Marxist orientations, they are all more or less anti-capitalist and anti-statist in their political outlook.
Fun times! All you bourgeoisie folk better watch out
There are popular Marxist magazines?!
If so, maybe they are appreciated ironically.
Yeah… “You have to pay for our magazine, get it??”
Hey, you are clinging to an utterly discredited ideology that is responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of people, but at least you are diverse!
I think you misread my comment, since when did I say I clung to the ideologies and practices of colonialism and imperialism?
It’s so precious when kids think they’ve discovered something and are going to change the world. May I suggest building a shrine to Marx in your basement, with an ad hoc table to play D&D, and you and your friends can all roll dice, pop pimples and complain about bourgeois oppression and the evils of capitalism while you wait for Dominos to deliver the pizza.
If you look at popular Marxist magazines like Jacobin or Viewpoint, its editorial board seems to be dominated by South Asians and Latin Americans.
And this is supposed to “buck the trend”…. because neither Latin America or South Asia has thriving Marxist movements ?
Interesting that a Nobel Laureate could be so naive? Fired for talking about land speculation? How could that be?
Funny, as soon as we hear the word “marxist” the word that soon follows is socialism. One would think that a new wave of Marxists spawned from the financial-housing market crisis would be a free market Marxist. Alas, such a brand of Marxism has yet to make its way to the public stage.
I always wondered why more Marxists didn’t focus on the capitalism stage, rather than trying to leapfrog to the utopian bullshit at the end. Marxism was only supposed to work once capitalism had advanced the economy and society sufficiently, but the only “successful” communist regimes all took feudal peasants and slapped them under a one-party dictatorship without the three hundred years of intervening capitalism Marx might have suggested. Of course, this is because Marxism was stupid from the start, and the only impetus behind it was anger at capitalism, so using it was out of the question.
Well shockingly, people living on the margin under repressive feudal regimes aren’t too keen on waiting around for a few hundred years for capitalism to magically appear.
Marxism is making much less of a comeback than anarchism, particularly market based strands and ones involving various strands of mutual aid. This renaissance of a movement that was all but abandoned after World War One is much more interesting but less talked about in mainstream publications because its a threat to authority of both the left and right stripe and also I think because many commentators accustomed to the American political spectrum don’t know how to process it, they can’t place it. Eventually it will have to be talked about though, probably in a few years, because its picked up too large of a head of stream.
Its already manifested itself in more tangible activism than any Marxist movement has accomplished in the Occupy movement and the hacktivism of wikileaks and piratebay. It also has more interesting champions in people like David Graeber and the left-libertarians such as Kevin Carson. Its much more likely this is the future than any boring old Marxism.
Actually, I think its more that Marxism and anarchism are fusing into one; this is a result of the failures of 20th-century state socialism leading to modern communists to take on anti-state politics.
Most of the anarchists I know that are actually doing practical organizing work have read plenty of Marxist theory and literature.
Anarchist marxists? Hilarious. As Inigo Montoya says, “I do not think that word means what you think it means”. The “anarchists” of Occupy, a million sensitive souls whose desire for freedom led them to shit on the sidewalk for a few months to demand more government. I assume they aren’t any better Marxists than they are Anarchists. All those ideologies, no matter how crude or ridiculous are simple expressions of adolescent rage against the “system, maaaaaaaaaaan”. It’s the political equivalent of Satanism as a religion. Adhered to by the disaffected without any understanding or actual belief, just to piss off the people who actually run things.
Your elitist pretentiousness is adorable.
Cliched, unimaginative, and uninformed hippie-bashing, is, of course, not anything like a simplistic expression of adolescent rage.
Did Marx ever go away? I thought most of Crooked Timber, for instance, are self-professed Marxists.
Not quite. Self-PROFESSORIAL Marxists. You know the ones. Intellectual rentiers.
1. Given the durability of, say, astrology, it is not surprising that a creed as superficially appealing to the unreflective as Marxism would still have some legs.
2. Man, Shiller has some funny affectations. Also, pretty good slam on macro.
5. Good on Andrew Lewis.
6. Excellent link.
Yes, but Marxism can do tremendous damage.
Brian : “a creed as superficially appealing to the unreflective as Marxism “. Marxism may be questionable but it is not ‘unreflective’ or superficial. Schumpeter understood this, though he repudiated Marx
questionable? That’s a pretty fricking hilarious adjective, considering the 20th century.
Marx was an astute diagnostician and critic, his inversion of Hegel was clever (though Hegel himself was no great shakes), 18 year-olds will always get a charge out of the heady “everything you’ve ever been told is upside-down” message on first engaging Marxism, but his prescriptions were shallow and catastrophic. Read the Communist Manifesto- it’s a silly and reactionary document.
It’s pretty unreflective. “Left is right, up is down, economic class conflict is the only motivation in human history, kill everyone who disagrees*”.
*to be fair the last bit is only the practical application of Marx’s thought abortion.
And the simplistic adolescent rage continues.
Marx was attempting, not very successfully, to predict an inevitable future. According to him the withering away of the state was an eventual outcome that required no conscious effort on anyone’s part. If he was right, there’s no need to be either a capitalist or a Marxist, the future is predestined.
I’m pretty sure a Marxist can’t be anti-statist. They don’t necessarily need to be super super statist. But they do have to be statist to be a political Marxist.
Yeah, how could anyone who talks about “the withering away of the state” be anti-statist!
At least the expression of Marxism in the context of communist nationalism has historically not proven to be anti-statist at all. Nor has it proven to be able to deal with the cult of personality issues that tend to result from the “vanguard role of the party party,” based on the real history we have before us.
History has not been kind to the practical and political manifestations of historical materialism. One of the things that amazes me consistently about these “rediscoveries” or “reinterpretations” or “retrofittings” of Marxism is that they don’t seem to be very historically aware.
By advocating total government control and a dictatorial one-party state for an unspecified length of time, then spending all their lives bolstering its power. The “withering” never happens. They can’t be anti-statist because they don’t have the capability, their only method is governmental control.
The movements are on the one hand profoundly idealistic (without much sense of the basic realities) and on the other profoundly pragmatic (when the leaders of the movement achieve power, they have historically not wanted to give it up, and they’ll deploy the usual earthy and real means of staying in power… note Stalin, Mao, Castro, etc.
Are you capable of conversing in anything other than cliched stupidities?
I’m from an earlier generation. Perhaps it’s surprising to the current crop of students and activists who are apparently taking note of Marx now, but a lot of us grew up as undergraduates and graduate students (in my case, studying literary theory and then cultural studies) reading all of this stuff, visiting intentional communities, marching down main street.
The cliches are really the ones traded by the current fashionable Marxist magazines. None of this is new (including the passion felt by those who are currently consuming the discourse). And the history of this movement is all out there to be seen and read. It’s well, well over a hundred years now.
Or: converts to Marxism are aware of history well enough to be dishonest concerning its representation(s).
What do newly-minted Marxists make of Mises?
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