István Mésáros

Interview: A structural crisis of the system

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István Mészáros won the 1971 Deutscher Prize for his book Marx's Theory of Alienation and has written on Marxism ever since. He talks to Judith Orr and Patrick Ward about the current economic crisis.

The ruling class are always surprised by new economic crises and talk about them as aberrations. Why do you believe they are inherent in capitalism?

I recently heard Edmund Phelps, who got the 2006 Nobel Prize in Economics. Phelps is a kind of neo-Keynesian. He was, of course, glorifying capitalism and presenting the current problems as just a little hiccup, saying, "All we have to do now is bring back Keynesian ideas and regulation."

A is for Alienation

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Alienation is one of the most frequently encountered concepts not only in philosophical, political, psychological and sociological writings, as well as in creative literature, but - on an almost daily basis - even in the popular media. This is not surprising. For the practical reality of some form of alienation is an inescapable experience in the life of every individual in our society.

Understandably, this experience has negative connotations, indicating the need to do something about it, in order to overcome its frequently deplored impact. But protest against alienation seems to be in vain. Why is this so? What is the apparently all-powerful agency of "alienation", capable of negatively affecting the whole of humankind over a long historical period, and how could it be consigned to the past?

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