In which I am introduced to libertarian Marxism

In the previous post I am directed to this:

The Right to Be Lazy is an essay by Cuban-born French revolutionary Marxist Paul Lafargue, written from his prison cell in 1883. It polemicizes heavily against contemporary liberal, conservative and even socialist ideas of work. Lafargues criticizes these ideas from a Marxist perspective as dogmatic and ultimately false by portraying the degeneration and enslavement of human existence when being subsumed under the primacy of the \”right to work\”, and argues that laziness, combined with human creativity, is an important source of human progress.

That last is perhaps the only piece of Marxist analysis of anything at all I\’ve seen that immediately makes sense.

For of course laziness, combined with greed, is indeed what has driven a great deal of human progress. Desiring a steak without having to chase down an aurochs led to the breeding of cows.

But quite why anyone thinks this is a radical departure from anything at all in terms of economic theory I\’m not sure. It\’s entirely mainstream to claim that people maximise utility….satisfy their greed at the least effort.

2 comments on “In which I am introduced to libertarian Marxism

  1. I’m an engineer, of 35 years standing, and in that time I’ve come to appreciate the human vices which drive a lot of our innovations. They are laziness, greed, impatience, and complete intolerance for ever having to do the same boring chore twice.

    Laziness is the great engine which really drives our cars, dishwashers, . Without greed, we would never have sought to maximise our industrial productivity, or our farming yields. Impatience, and our determination to have everything “right now”, have led us to the EFTPOS system, ATMs, credit and debit cards, and fast-track automatic checkouts in our supermarkets. If we want train tickets we order online. What we won’t do cheerfully anymore, is stand in a queue.
    And our horror of redundancy of effort, has led us to develop the database. Once we check in at the hospital reception, and give them our details, we expect that information to be instantly available to every ward and department we are referred to.

  2. PHP, which now powers a goodly chunk of the Internet (including most of its blogs) was invented so that its creator could more easily (i.e. with less effort) maintain his homepage. I’ve written tons of little scripts to do things like build documentation or eliminate duplicates in my MP3 collection. Had I been a bit more idle, I could have expended the effort so that they’d be profitable enough for me never to need to get out of bed again.

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