Posts Tagged ‘Marxism’

when I was still in college I was asked to prepare a short presentation which would bundle up together few political ideas and thus justify my final mark for the module in politics. not having much time and being in a rather random mood I spent half an hour putting together few slides and writing up a short description about how globalisation and internet could become capitalist final frontier and bring with a twist ultimate socialism.

admittedly my presentation was primarily guided by my random mood, sci-fi novels and intention to annoy my tutor who held strong Marxist views and with whom I used to pick constant arguments during my course; but apparently it satisfied internal and external moderators.

here’s what I wrote:

“(…) The inventions of XX century, which are regarded as significant factors of this revolution, did not merely revolutionise the way in which people communicate by making this communication much easier, but transformed the very idea of information itself. Due to the great expansion of media during the XX century and overwhelming power held by medial corporations, the ideas like truth or value became almost meaningless hollow concepts without any links to reality. Moreover, reality itself started to appear more and more “unreal”, making both these terms almost redundant. These profound transformations reached its critical mass during the last decade of XX century when they become especially transparent. The rise of what we know as the Internet means that the information ceased to be detached from its maker. For the Internet is not merely a database, a digital library or a catalogue of information but IT IS the information; uploaded as well as downloaded by its users; created and edited by them. As earlier the information could be produced; it could travel and could be given, with the Internet this is no longer the case, for now the information is alive; THE INFORMATION IS US.

The Internet is the interaction between individuals; it is the collaboration in every area of human existence. It creates opportunities on unprecedented scale, accelerating technological development even further and making capitalism no longer the main drive to improvement. On more philosophical level the information society marks a significant step towards social singularity where THE MANY are THE ONE. The individual, together with his rights and freedoms that are dated back to John Lock and other liberal thinkers cease to have meaning. But the same happens to his property and in effect contrary to Marxists’ mythology depicting capitalism as bloodthirsty beast which has to be overthrown, in information society capitalism loses its purpose and as a simple waste of energy will eventually fade away.”

now, fast forward couple of years and here I am laughing at evaluation of recent financial crisis from Marxist perspective when i stumbled upon a video that brought back memories of my silly presentation announcing birth of ultimate socialism.
well not exactly, but still i would like to think it was a close match:

i believe that the video posted below should please many of those who for reasons that i cannot comprehend seem to be highly critical and dissatisfied with political, economic and social structures of modern capitalist societies and dream of revolutions which could bring some new order.

as for myself, i have very little enthusiasm for agitating radical reorganisation of present social, political or economic structures; what initially drew my attention to this video was the form in which social theorist David Harvey tried to convince the viewers to look beyond capitalism towards some new social order. the video is said to be based on lecture at the RSA (www.theRSA.org).

without going into details i will only say that watching this truly enjoyable video brought to my mind one particularly sarcastic evaluation of harriet harman mastery over economics and finances published some time ago by the spectator:

“Finance gets Hattie in a terrible twist. She sounds like a four-year-old explaining space travel to a pretend friend. Jargon and overheard half-concepts are mashed together in a confidently asserted jumble of bilge.”

one does not need a Ph.D. in economics to see that similar critique could be directed at David Harvey and his evaluation of capitalism as a root of all social ills. in any case, regardless of it’s shortcomings Harvey’s brilliant presentation does have some positive value for it revels moralistic and totalitarian character of Marxist critiques of free market principles. this notion is very strongly pronounced in the last few minutes of the video when author makes number of judgemental, moralistic and highly controversial statements in relation to wealth which could be accumulated by some individuals in a free market economies. these envious and highly negative statements are followed by a picture of a man in black suit locked up behind the bars which closes Harvey ‘s argument!

one might wonder whether this could be seen as appropriate way to ensure that we live within a system that is “responsible, just, and humane?”

i have some reservations about this

update [18 Jul 2010 23:13]:

and I guess I am not the only one. here’s more detailed critique of harvey’s marxian argument:

I don’t think everything is so clear cut but overall thumbs up.