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Robert Paul Wolff — “The Future of Socialism” (article)

Summary:
I  (Tom Hickey) recommend reading this paper now that "socialism" is the new buzz word. You may recall Professor Wolff from The Poverty of Liberalism, In Defense of Anarchy, and A Critique of Pure Tolerance (with Herbert Marcuse and Barrington Moore, Jr.), which were popular at the time of the "countercultural revolution" in the Sixties and Seventies. He also published scholarly works on Emmanuel Kant and Karl Marx. He blogs at The Philosopher's Stone, which I follow and occasionally offer comment. In what follows, I propose to take as my text a famous statement from Marx’s A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy—a sort of preliminary sketch of Das Kapital—and see what it can tell us about the capitalism of our day. I shall try to show you that Marx was fundamentally right

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I  (Tom Hickey) recommend reading this paper now that "socialism" is the new buzz word. You may recall Professor Wolff from The Poverty of Liberalism, In Defense of Anarchy, and A Critique of Pure Tolerance (with Herbert Marcuse and Barrington Moore, Jr.), which were popular at the time of the "countercultural revolution" in the Sixties and Seventies. He also published scholarly works on Emmanuel Kant and Karl Marx. He blogs at The Philosopher's Stone, which I follow and occasionally offer comment.

In what follows, I propose to take as my text a famous statement from Marx’s A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy—a sort of preliminary sketch of Das Kapital—and see what it can tell us about the capitalism of our day. I shall try to show you that Marx was fundamentally right about the direction in which capitalism would devel- op, but that because of his failure to anticipate three important features of the mature capitalist world, his optimism concerning the outcome of that development was misplaced. Along the way, I shall take a fruitful detour through the arid desert of financial accounting theory.
Here is the famous passage, from the preface of the Contribution, published in 1859:
"No social order ever disappears before all the productive forces for which there is room in it have been developed, and new, higher relations of production never appear before the material conditions of their existence have matured in the womb of the old society."
"The Future of Socialism"
Robert Paul Wolff | Professor Emeritus, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Published in Seattle University Law Review [Vol. 35:1403-1428]
Mike Norman
Mike Norman is an economist and veteran trader whose career has spanned over 30 years on Wall Street. He is a former member and trader on the CME, NYMEX, COMEX and NYFE and he managed money for one of the largest hedge funds and ran a prop trading desk for Credit Suisse.

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