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Marx Re-examined

Paul Mason, the Economics Editor of Channel 4 News has come up with an interesting comparison between Karl Marx and William Shakespeare dealing with the change from Feudalism to Capitalism. Feudalism was an economic system based on obligation: peasants were obliged to hand part of their produce to the landowner and do military service for him; he in turn was obliged to provide the king with taxes, and supply an army on demand. 'But in the England of Shakespeare's history plays, the mainspring of the system has broken down. By the time Richard III was slaughtering his extended family in real life, the whole power network based on obligation had been polluted by money: rents paid in money, military service paid for with money, wars fought with the aid of a  cross-border banking network stretching to Florence and Amsterdam. (Guardian, 2 November) The  exposure of the crazy belief that Russia and China had anything to do with the ideas of Marx has led to a belated re-examination of some of his ideas. Thomas Piketty's book Capital in the Twenty-First Century, although flawed was a best-seller. The whole concept of a re-examination of Marx's ideas is certainly a good sign and a necessary step in the overthrow of capitalism. RD     

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