The shocking — shocking! — persistence of Marxist thought

The latest Bloomberg Businessweek features an article in which Peter Coy notes the surprising resilience of the ideas of Karl Marx, despite the fact that “Marx’s most famous predictions failed.”

Why the persistence of such a heinous thinker — whose “followers included some of the 20th century’s worst mass murderers: Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot”? Well, here’s a clue:

Admirers of Marx view all this with a rueful I-told-you-so. The radical geographer David Harvey, 75, has taught Marx’s Capital for 40 years at schools including Oxford University, Johns Hopkins University, and now the City University of New York Graduate Center. Harvey’s office, a block from the Empire State Building, is decorated with a silk-screen portrait of Marx, glowering from a bookcase. Harvey believes, as Marx did, that capitalists tend to sow the seeds of their own destruction. Unbridled capitalism tends toward wild excess, so complete deregulation is actually disastrous for it in the long run, the professor argues. “The Republican Party is en route to destroy capitalism,” Harvey says in a pleasant tone, “and they may do a better job of it than the working class could.”

And there’s a Harvey or two, or 200, on every college campus in the United States. Tenured radicals of the world, unite!

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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