I woke up this morning and, as usual, I grabbed my coffee and went online to check the day's news stories. My first stop is always the Globe and Mail, don't know why, it's not really that great of a paper but it's just out of habit I guess.
At the top of the page there was a Globe Essay which I sometimes like to read, so I clicked and this one was by Ian Brown called "The 18th Brumaire of Barack Obama". All in all not one of the Globe's best essays, but kind interesting nonetheless.
The article starts with the quote below:
"When I announce that I am a socialist, I guess it is no surprise because we are all socialists now. We just bought General Motors … The fact is that we now have Marxism realized. We own the means of production and we did not have to fire a single shot. It is really quite phenomenal what went on today."
– Pat Martin, NDP MP for Winnipeg Centre, in the House of Commons, Monday, June 1, 2009
In it Mr Brown speaks to some of the worlds most prominent Marxist thinkers who believe that the current global economic crisis is exactly what Marx predicted would happen when he wrote The Capital. The same thinkers also say that countries are now being forced into Marxism by owning companies such as GM and bailing out the banks. That because of the crisis government are now being forced to take radical action to nationalize things and make it work, for the people.
I'd just like to take a few lines and pick that apart... I'm not an economist, but clearly just because something is nationalized it does not mean it is owned by the people. Last time I checked GM will still release its own figures quarterly, sure the government will have some kind of say on big spending decisions, but the day to day operations will still be run by GM, not by the Federal Reserve. Same here in Canada. As for bailing out the banks? That in no way shape or form makes them owned by the people.
The governments like to say that they bailed out GM and the Banks for the good of the people. As far as I'm concerned they didn't do it for the people, they did it for themselves and maybe a little bit for the people. Imagine, GM goes under hundreds of thousands of people throughout north-america lose their jobs... it's bad right? Of course it is, that's hundreds of thousands of people not paying income tax anymore and that will drain the federal coffers faster than I drink a pint of beer on St-Patrick's day. Don't think there was anything socially just about it, they were covering their own asses. They didn't do it for the people, they did it for re-election.
Maybe this Globe Essay is on to something and I missed the boat here (or maybe I'm just Canadian where we've always been a little left of center with our free healthcare and cheap education) but I don't see this current crisis as an invitation for global Marxism. It's an opportunity to tweak our system and figure out what works and what doesn't, it's an opportunity to maybe realize that we need to improve our existing social programs, it's a time for governments to roll up their sleeves. It's not a time to spark revolutions that will most-likely bring further instability to an already volatile global economy.
Anyways, it's early and I might be wrong, but that's just my two cents.