Karl Marx may have died 128 years ago but he’s just as fly as ever,
The classical economists long ago foresaw that an economy defined by constant expansion would one day give way to what John Stuart Mill called the ‘stationary state’. The idea has gained a new currency in Marxist writing of recent years, and in its contemporary version tends to locate the limits to growth in the depletion of natural resources or in the exhaustion of productivity as the share of manufacturing in the world economy shrinks and that of services expands. Of course, peak oil or soil exhaustion might easily coincide with faltering productivity. Harvey doesn’t spell out why growth must have a stop, and the outlines of an ecologically stable and politically democratic future socialism remain as blurry in his later work as they do almost everywhere else. At the moment Marxism seems better prepared to interpret the world than to change it. But the first achievement is at least due wider recognition, which with the next crisis, or subsequent spasm of the present one, it may begin to receive.
The quote comes via Marx Versus Capitalism Versus You over at Naked Capitalism, but it originally appears in the article How Much Is Too Much? from the London Review of Books.
The Naked Capitalism article is quite a bit wrong but so are most people when it comes to Marx, right Brad DeLong?