Market Marxists March 1, 2006 8:45am by Barry Ritholtz Why do I find this so amusing? Source: WSJ Spread the wealth. twitter facebook linkedin What's been said: Discussions found on the web: john commented on Mar 1 Think that the cartoon rings true in many professions, especially those dominated by graduates of the Ivy/Ivy-equivalents (ex business schools, which I get the impression are much more right than the other professional schools). Speaking as a graduate of two Ivy-equivalent schools for BA/JD, most people in my circle are center-left, lefties who set out to Wall Street, white shoe law firms, McKinsey, etc. despite reading about the evil struggle between the capital class and the proletariet simply because the money was too good to pass up. Faustian bargin indeed. algernon commented on Mar 1 John, Yours is a sad comment on the quality of Ivy league education. That you all turn out left-wingers who feel you are making a Faustian bargain. Sad. No one taught you the beauty of true capitalism. Granted ours is pretty corrupted by a cancerous gov’t whose tentacles are so pervasive as to go unnoticed. Still we’ve inherited a great treasure we don’t understand & therefore are slowly destroying. There is not a more moral or productive system of interaction than voluntary exchange, to wit capitalism. Max commented on Mar 1 America, what a country! It will be the last refuge on Earth for Marxists. No where else can Marxists be so completetly insulated from the true horror of Marxism. Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, And throw in a few Marxists who long for the kind of Marxist utopia the others are fleeing. – Statue of Liberty (revised) calmo commented on Mar 1 I have a brother who, incredulous, asked/expleted: “You think that’s funny!?!” to my amusement at a Doonesbury clip. I wasn’t sure if he was going to get the baseball bat to finish me off. Allow me to speculate: Is it because Marx was, at heart, a successful marketer of political economy who found the desk job more satisfying than getting into those dirty trenches? No. Ok, is it the squeak of the mouse announcing tentatively (“I suppose”), that he is, contrary to gnawing opinion, (“at heart”), a man, with deceptively deep intellectual sophistication? (Marx –who would surely be amused.) juan commented on Mar 2 algernon – to define capitalism as a system of voluntary exchange is quite incomplete since it fails to account for relations of Production/REproduction. The voluntary exchange of labor-power for a wage is correct so far as it goes, so long as economic coercion is imagined away, just as is history in an exchange-centred definition. Beneath the surface of ‘the voluntary’ lurks another reality of surplus value creation and unpaid labor. Of course, the overt objectivity of this had to be and was countered by the multitude of subjectivisms, aka neoclassic theories. Max – The true horror of Marxism is a fine but meaningless phrase unless referring to what was developed in the various ‘communist’ (i.e. state capitalist) social formations, in which case we might want to speak of Stalinism, while considering the question of why so-called free market capitalism has so often had to rely on state initiative and support. I at least have generally found it interesting that most Marxists, and more so those who pretend to critique, have never read what Marx wrote, or never more than fragments, and usually as interpreted by others. The cartoon, though, does catch the opportunistic radicalism or would that be radical opportunism of a 1960s generation ‘gone bad’. Very good blog, thanks. Thanks. Anonymous commented on Mar 2 Marx was no fool, that’s for sure. The only fools are those that simply dismiss Marx outright because of all the failed totalitarians that called themselves Marxist. As Juan points out, the two are very different things. I think Barry must like this picture because in some alternative universe he can see himself sitting in that chair muttering those words. It is the irony of the picture that makes us laugh. Eric H commented on Mar 2 Didn’t Michael from _Stranger in a Strange Land_ say something to the effect that all humor was based on something that was “wrongful”? Either the Marxist is doing a wrongful thing, or being a stock trader is a wrongful thing, depending on whether you are a capitalist (in the meaning of “someone who rents capital”) or whether you are a Marxist (in the meaning of one who thinks “labor-power” has a useful meaning). Sweet! Of course, if you are a capitalist, in the meaning of “one who thinks that laissez-faire is the best policy,” then neither of these is wrongful. Be what you want, do what you want, just so long as you don’t violate the symmetrical rights of others. That’s why we have so many Marxists in high places in the world’s most supposedly capitalist country. What is wrongful is the vast number of Marxists pointing at the vast numbers of communist dictators and saying, “but that’s not what we meant!” Too bad Marx never wrote much about what is to be done and left that to interpretation. If he had, he and his intellectual followers might have realized that the alternatives to capitalism were no better. Capitalism is the least worst system. calmo commented on Mar 3 Juan, in no mood for fun, ecapsulates (only for some) [calmo, a scholar of not only Marx but Hegel is ready for the intellectual cocksmanship] the core of Das Kapital for our edification setting the Marxists-at-heart straight. The cartoon is good but Juan is better. Jack Yoest commented on Mar 4 Why Academics Don’t Like Working on Wall Street From The Wall Street Journal ### Was this helpful? Do comment. Consider a free eMail subscription for this site. Thank you (foot)notes: Hat tip for the file from Big Picture…. 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