For Marx Geeks ... RE: Marx Without the Realism

Wed, 15 Jan 2003 15:54:46 -0800

This article was almost 100% accurate.  He does get some of his Marx
wrong, but I'm not sure the effects the central thrust of his argument.

Namely, Marx knew very well that the working classes were getting better
off although he didn't like to talk about it.  However:

1) Marx uses the language of 'wages' and other economic terms in a
manner that is pretty much unique to himself and Ricardo (where he got
it).  To Marx, your wage isn't the nominal amount you are paid but your
percentage 'cut'.  So it was always relative decline that Marx actually
talked about even if 99.99% of his interpreters have always missed that.

Marx, unlike Ricardo, never did acknowledge that workers might be
interested primarily in their nominal wages.  Nor did he ever explain
why they would naturally be incensed by increasing exploitation (lower
cut) instead of nominal wages if they both went in different directions.

2) Nonetheless, Marx most observers do believe that Marx would argue
that the nominal wage would eventually fall (to subsistence) due to his
insistence that the natural rate of profit in a capitalist system was

3) I've crossed swords with some genuine Trotskiest types on another
board.  One of them, in particular, is fully certified in the mysteries.
He is rather insistent about protecting his standard of living at the
expense of the third world and fully supports protectionism.

> From: On Behalf Of R. A. Hettinga
> The Wall Street Journal
> Marx Without the Realism
> The intellectual roots of America-bashing.
> Wednesday, January 15, 2003 12:01 a.m.