Marxism

Why competition breeds monopolies

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Economy Class

When I was at university friends who studied economics were told that not only is the boom and slump cycle entirely natural, but that it was also a good thing. One professor said "the economy is like a drunk throwing up the morning after the night before". A slump may not be pleasant, but it was necessary to cleanse the system.

Marxism and oppression

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Marxists are sometimes accussed of being dismissive of oppression, preferring to emphasise the importance of class. Sara Bennett explains why socialists argue for working class unity as the best way to combat, and ultimately abolish, all forms of oppression

Forty five years ago being gay in Britain was a criminal offence. Today there is a good chance we could see gay marriage legalised by the government before the end of its term in office. This is just one example of many huge strides forward we have achieved in the fight against oppression, whether of LGBT people, women, black people or other oppressed groups.

What Causes Boom and Bust?

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Gordon Brown used to endlessly repeat the mantra that, thanks to New Labour's policies, there would be "no return to boom and bust".

That looks laughable given recent events. At least it would be funny if people's lives were not being savaged by recession and cuts.

In reality, the history of capitalism is one of successive expansions followed by collapse. Today's apologists will have to choose their words more carefully given the objective reality of the crisis. Yet during booms when new buildings go up on a grand scale, high street sales increase and unemployment falls, enthusiasm towards the market seems to correspond to an extent with reality.

Economy class

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Does money make the world go round?

Money is a key factor in explaining inequalities in the world today. Rich people can pay for the best healthcare, education and lifestyle. It seems as though "money makes the world go round". For those who want to challenge inequality, money is therefore an obvious target. Would abolishing money address the injustices at the heart of capitalist society? In order to answer this question, we have to understand what money is.

Why workers can change the world

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Karl Marx's claim that the working class has the power to change the world is perhaps his most important contribution to socialist theory. Before Marx workers were viewed at best as victims of the system or more typically as a rabble whose existence threatened civilisation. Marx challenged these assumptions, arguing that workers' collective struggles for freedom pointed towards a potential socialist alternative to capitalism.

This vision is widely disparaged today. However, criticisms of Marx often miss their target. This is particularly true of those who reject his model of class from "common sense" or sociological perspectives which tend to equate class with social stratification - the various ways of differentiating people along lines of income, status, occupation or patterns of consumption. What, it is asked, do university-educated teachers, factory workers or low-paid shop workers have in common?

Can Marxism explain the crisis?

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Recent panic in the stock markets has led some commentators to ask whether Karl Marx might have been right after all. Bill Dunn explains some of the core ideas at the heart of Marx's understanding of capitalism and shows how they can be used to explain the system's current crisis

Worries that banks might not get the returns they expected from lending to Greece and other states have provoked a fresh round of stock market panic. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has downgraded its global growth forecast for 2012 to 4 percent. By coincidence, this is exactly the same figure that in October 2008 it predicted for 2009. It had no idea, even after it had begun, that we were in for a spectacular contraction.

Eric Hobsbawm: half Marx

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Eminent historian Eric Hobsbawm's latest book champions Karl Marx as capitalism's great critic, but he argues that Marx's alternative to the system has failed. Patrick Ward looks at why it is wrong to abandon Marxism as a project for transforming the world


The financial and economic crisis that erupted in 2008 has a fed a renewed interest in the ideas of Karl Marx. The latest book from respected Marxist historian Eric Hobsbawm, How to Change the World, is a welcome addition to this resurgence.

Structural problems of capitalism

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Economist and author Graham Turner talked to Socialist Review about his new book No Way to Run the Economy, why he believes Keynes is misunderstood and what he has learned from Marxist economics.

You studied mainstream economics, which is often made out to be "ideology-free" and treated like a branch of mathematics. Yet your new book, No Way to Run an Economy, discusses figures such as John Maynard Keynes and Karl Marx. How did you end up there?

I did a degree at City University in London which was heavily steeped in monetarism. Then I went on to do a postgraduate degree that was far more pragmatic and non-ideological at the University of Toronto. I came back from Canada to get my first job in the City and worked in London for Japanese banks throughout the 1990s.

Zombie Capitalism

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Chris Harman, Bookmarks Publications; £16.99

Lenin once wrote of politics, "There are decades when nothing happens; and there are weeks when decades happen." For people around the world, rich and poor, young and old, this statement could rarely have rung more true than late in 2008 when the economic orthodoxy came down to earth with an almighty bump.

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