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No Marx to Karl for his predictions about capitalism


Last Week I featured in an Intelligence Squared debate at the Royal Geographical Society.  The motion concerned Karl Marx’s predictions about the collapse of capitalism.  One key element of my case was that Marx was wrong to take Hegel’s theory of change, in which a current state of affairs (thesis) nurtures its antithesis, leading to a violent clash between the two and the emergence of a new synthesis.  Instead of embracing periods of violent change, Marx could have spotted Darwin’s counter theory of gradual, evolutionary change and incorporated it.  The capitalism that Marx wrote and predicted about has long since evolved into other forms, and continues to do so.  Capitalism will not collapse as he predicted, but will adapt as it has done before, as people learn the lessons of experience.

The vote among the 600-strong audience at the outset was split 3 ways, with just over 200 supporting Marx, and a fraction more opposing him, with just under 200 undecided.  When a vote was taken again after the debate, the pro Marx side had picked up just 14 of those undecided, with most of the rest against him.  So my side won handsomely.  Intelligence Squared will be posting the debate on their YouTube channel, but until then if you want to read about it and see the full text of my speech, you can do that here by clicking the link.


One Response

  1. […] wrote about my participation in last month’s Intelligence Squared debate on Karl Marx. The motion was whether he was right […]

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