A while back, a friend asked me why the invocation of Marx made me want to fight.
In order to capture everything I had to say, I considered writing an essay but honestly, Yanis Varoufakis sums it up really nicely in this editorial.
Simply put, Marx articulated the single most powerful delusion of the modern age. As Varoufakis says it himself, his writing suggested “the possibility of salvation and authentic spirituality.”
I suggest that this statement contains the root of Marx’ seemingly undying appeal. Marx simultaneously appeals to intellectual vanity, the atavistic urge towards collectivism and secular spirituality, and despite all evidence to the contrary, the unfailing belief in the state to Serve the Greater Good.
It’s all here.
The elusive promise of an “alternative” to capitalism. A complete absolution of the state of any excess or abuse while attributing all evil to capitalism. The false antagonism between capital and labor. The pretense of Marxism as a contrarian and relevant vein of thought. The masturbatory obsession with dialectic and the accompanying delusion that it reveals some profound insight that no one has considered.
Furthermore, Varoufakis is peddling some outright falsehoods here.
He is misrepresenting Marx’ Labor Theory of Value and attempting to attribute the theory of Relative Value, the theory which demolished Marx, to Marx!
But his most egregious lie is that he considers Marx “the scholar who elevated radical indeterminacy to its rightful place within political economics”! What utter bullshit! Marx was the asshole who said that economic life needed to subordinated to a “settled plan”!
And despite his token concessions that Marx must be resisted, he expresses a hope that a more “radical agenda” will be implemented eventually.