How not to do it, yes

The shadow chancellor said last year that it was “inevitable” he and Mr Corbyn would have to resign if they lost the election, but he refused to make the same prediction yesterday, saying only: “We’re going to win this election because our country needs us”.

Asked by the BBC’s Andrew Marr “are you a Marxist?”, Mr McDonnell said: “I believe there’s a lot to learn from reading Kapital, yes of course it is, and that’s been recommended not just by me but many others, mainstream economists as well.”

Not that we do get a lot of advice on how to do it to be frank. But it is true that there are useful hints in there. For example, it’s competition between capitalists when there’s full employment which raises the workers’ wages. Entirely true. We should read “monopoly capitalism” as “monopsony capitalism” and that would be a really bad thing. The only place it has ever really occurred was in the Soviet system so that’s a good guide, don’t do that, don’t have everyone working for the one employer, the state.

And of course the basic guidance, that true communism will arrive when we’ve solved the problem of economic scarcity, and it will be solved by capitalism, is spot on.

The pity though is that no one does take those lessons from Das Kapital…..

11 comments on “How not to do it, yes

  1. “don’t do that, don’t have everyone working for the one employer, the state.”

    If everyone is working for the one employer, that employer is indistinguishable from the state anyway.

  2. But it did near enough happen. In England. In the northern industrial towns, when information came by word of mouth, transport was on foot and there were few enough large employers per town to form a cartel.
    The only answer for the worker was a trade union. Which is why they were formed and successfully grew.
    It’s a great pity the unions didn’t die as soon as the monopsonies did, but they’ve been in decline for decades now and I can’t see anything saving them.

  3. Mr McDonnell said: “I believe there’s a lot to learn from reading Kapital, yes of course it is, and that’s been recommended not just by me but many others, mainstream economists as well.”

    If you ask someone if they beat their wife and they respond with a platitude about how, while in no way endorsing domestic violence, every relationship can find room for a little slap and tickle if that is what they are in to, then they support wife beating.

    What this prat is saying is that the fall of the Soviet Union was a tragedy.

  4. And of course the basic guidance, that true communism will arrive when we’ve solved the problem of economic scarcity, and it will be solved by capitalism, is spot on.

    I don’t think I’ve seen this interpretation​ ever before. Odd.

  5. Surprised Chris D hasn’t made an appearance given you’re invoking Marx.

  6. Judging by some of his posts recently, Chris D appears to be losing it at times.

    A bit worrying, if so.

    Tim, got a page number?

  7. True Communism appeared in the first century AD, but even then there were problems with would-be cheats (Ananias ansd Sapphira dropped dead when challenged).

  8. DockyMcDuckface,

    Yes, he does appear to be getting more tribal and losing his objectivity.

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