A Moderate Libertarian Debates With Today's Delusion Thinking Left
Dr Madsen Pirie, President of the Adam Smith Institute (London) speaks on “Why Marx was wrong about capitalism”. his speech against the motion "Karl Marx was right. Capitalism post-2008 is falling apart under Its own contradictions." HERE
“Like many public figures who leave a legacy, either in their writings or their deeds, Karl Marx was sometimes right and sometimes wrong. I concentrate on some of the things about which he was wrong.
He was wrong to predict that history would take us to the inevitable triumph of the proletariat and then stop. … Marx was wrong about something else. He predicted that capitalism would drive down wages to survival level before its final denouement. In fact as economies became more advanced, both wages and living standards rose to levels not even dreamt of in Marx's day. …
… But Marx was a contemporary of Darwin. He had read Darwin's "Origin of Species" and admired Darwin's account of the origins of humankind. He failed, however, to spot the significance of Darwin's theory of change and to incorporate it into his own programme.
Darwin advanced a gradual mechanism of change in which small differences gradually come to dominate over time. It is evolutionary, not revolutionary, and is a much more accurate description of how change usually happens in human societies than was Hegel's account. Indeed, Darwin was right and Hegel was wrong. This means that Marx was also wrong, wrong about change, and wrong about how capitalism would develop.
The point is that capitalism changes and evolves. …
… Capitalism certainly faced a crisis in 2008, but it is still with us, as yet uncollapsed. It is evolving and responding to the changes that are needed and, as before, when the dust of crisis has settled, it will be a new version of capitalism that goes on to generate more wealth and to expand the opportunities open to humankind. ….
…. That is why this motion, cumbersome and ambitious as it is, is also misconceived, and why I urge everyone to defeat it.”
[After three speakers from each side , the motion was defeated; before the debate, the motion received a 50-50 vote, plus an undecided minority.]
Follow the link for Dr Madsen Pirie’s speech in full.
I think it is apposite given the number of people who believe in some version of the motion as it stood. I sometimes comment on similar views expressed as plans for the reform of capitalism as it stands today, including from some who do not advocate some sort of socialism. In fact, I received a detailed model for on such reform on capitalism this week - reading it out of politeness (and just in case ...) I have not had time to write for Lost Legacy since the weekend, plus my other tasks, some pressing.
These plans for reform of capitalism - and of market theories - all have one thing in common. They conform to "designs" for a new society theory and expect support among the world's 6 billion people, a wholly common example of fantasy delusions.
Capitalism was not designed by any individual or group. It grew through many forms, uniquely, out of commercial activities (markets) within other societies across the world and throughout history, sometimes emerging in one place or another before disappearing as those societies withered by invasions, social catastrophes, tyrannies, or natural events. Eventually, markets within mainly agricultural societies in North-west Europe grew into self-sustained development paths leading to what we know today as capitalism, and whatever the pain, raised living standards for the vast majority of people, formerly living on $1 a day each on good days - elites have always had more per day in most human societies - to unprecedented rates of $100 a day each (see Deirdre McCloskey's Bourgeois Dignity for details).