Das Kapital Anyone?

In a Guardian comment piece entitled “The truth about Capitalism is out as Marx’s magic cap starts to slip”, Giles Fraser, an inner city priest in London launches a frontal attack on capitalism and, in essence argues that Karl Marx’s analysis of Capitalism is correct, https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2017/oct/05/the-truth-about-capitalism-is-out-as-marxs-magic-cap-starts-to-slip.

The article contains many weaknesses:

1. Fraser fails to mention the many crimes committed by Communist states (E.G. Stalin’s Russia and Mao’s China). Of course it will be objected by some that true Communism/Marxism has never been tried and that the states styling themselves Marxist where nothing of the kind.

My response is, how many people need to die before Marxism is laid to rest along with Marx in Highgate cemetery?

2. Fraser details the problems associated with Capitalism but there is no such analysis of the profound difficulties flowing from attempts to implement Marx’s ideas.

3. Apart from a few extreme anarcho-capitalists, very few supporters of market economics advocate completely unrestrained capitalism. In the early 19th-century the Conservative social reformer, Lord Shaftsbury was instrumental in bringing in “The Climbing Boys Act” which banned the use of children as chimney sweeps.

Long before the first Socialist government was elected in the UK measures to curb the worst excesses of unrestrained Capitalism where on the statute books.

Again anti-discrimination legislation is not merely a preserve of the left.

The Americans with Disabilities Act was introduced by the Republican Party under Ronald Reagan while the UK’s Disability Discrimination Act (now the Equalities Act) was brought in by the Conservative government of Margaret Thatcher).

Both pieces of legislation place limits on what employers can do by prohibiting discrimination against disabled people (I.E. by placing restraints on Capitalism red in tooth and claw).

Fraser fails to acknowledge this.

4. For all its faults a mixed economy (containing a good dose of Capitalism) is more efficient than any alternative yet discovered.

Again Fraser fails to acknowledge this.

In conclusion, there are many faults with Capitalism. The mixed economy (containing a good dose of market economics) does, however ensure political and economic freedom and its excesses are capable of being reformed.


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