Ask Prof Wolff: A Mistaken Critique of Marx

A patron of Economic Update asks: "Famed economist Vilfredo Pareto, who was a lifelong adversary of Marxism, believed that Marx’s view of the history of class struggle was highly oversimplified and misleading – that the struggle goes far beyond the proletariat/capitalist dichotomy. He wrote: "The class struggle, to which Marx has specially drawn attention, is a real factor, the tokens of which are to be found on every page of history. But the struggle is not confined only to two classes: the proletariat and the capitalist; it occurs between an infinite number of groups with different interests, and above all between the elites contending for power. The existence of these groups may vary in duration, they may be based on permanent or more or less temporary characteristics. In the most savage peoples, and perhaps in all, sex determines two of these groups. The oppression of which the proletariat complains, or had cause to complain of, is as nothing in comparison with that which the women of the Australian aborigines suffer. Characteristics to a greater or lesser degree real-nationality, religion, race, language, etc. - may give rise to these groups. In our own day the struggle of the Czechs and the Germans in Bohemia is more intense than that of the proletariat and the capitalists in England." Would you care to respond to this? 

This is Professor Richard Wolff's video response.

Ask Prof Wolff is a @Democracy At Work  production. We are committed to providing these videos to you free of ads. Please consider supporting us on Patreon.com/economicupdate. Become a part of the growing Patreon community and gain access to exclusive patron-only content, along with the ability to ask Prof. Wolff questions like this one! Your support also helps keep this content free to the public. Spreading Prof. Wolff's message is more important than ever. Help us continue to make this possible.

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Learn more about Prof Wolff's new book, "The Sickness is the System: When Capitalism Fails to Save Us from Pandemics or Itself," available now at www.democracyatwork.info/books

“A magnificent source of hope and insight.”
Yanis Varoufakis
Greek economist, academic, philosopher, politician, author of Talking to my daughter about the economy


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