Why Marx Was Right
Tue, 2022-Feb-08 01:20 UTC
Length - 3:18
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The featured article for Tuesday, 8 February 2022 is Why Marx Was Right.
Why Marx Was Right is a 2011 book by the British academic Terry Eagleton on the subject of the 19th-century philosopher Karl Marx and the schools of thought, Marxism, that arose from his work. Written for laypeople, Eagleton outlines 10 objections to Marxism that they may hold and aims to refute each one in turn. These include that Marxism is irrelevant due to changing social classes in the modern world; that it is determinist and utopian; and that Marxists oppose all reform and believe in an authoritarian state.
In his counterarguments, Eagleton explains how class struggle is central to Marxism: history is seen as a progression of modes of production, like feudalism and capitalism, that describe the materials, technology and social relations required to produce goods and services within the society. The proletariat (working class) in capitalism are those lacking significant autonomy over their labour conditions. Eagleton describes how revolution could lead to a new mode of production—socialism—in which the working class have control, and an eventual communist society could make the state obsolete. He explores the failures of the Soviet Union and other communist countries.
As an author of both specialist and general books in the areas of literary theory, Marxism and Catholicism, Eagleton saw the historical moment as appropriate for Why Marx Was Right; critics said that the book was part of a resurgence in Marxist thought after the financial crisis of 2007–2008. It was first published in 2011 and reprinted in 2018 to mark 200 years since Marx's birth. In Canada, it entered Maclean's bestseller list for two weeks in 2011.
Critics disagreed whether the book succeeds in showing the relevance of Marxism. Its prose style garnered praise as witty and accessible from some reviewers, and criticism by others as lacking humour and using assertions rather than arguments. Experts, disagreeing about whether Eagleton's chosen objections were straw-men, suggested that the book would have benefited from coverage of the labour theory of value, the 2007–2008 financial crisis and modern Marxist thought. However, Eagleton's commentary on historical materialism was praised. Why Marx Was Right was largely criticised for its defence of the pre-Stalinist Soviet Union and other Marxist states. Some reviewers also believed that it contains economic mistakes and misrepresents Marx's views on human nature, reform and other subjects.
This recording reflects the Wikipedia text as of 01:20 UTC on Tuesday, 8 February 2022.
For the full current version of the article, see Why Marx Was Right on Wikipedia.
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