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…..