Brez heca, finančni minister v senci John McDonnell in vodja laburistov Jeremy Corbyn sta povedala, da se je mogoče veliko naučiti iz Marxovega Kapitala in da je bil Marx velik ekonomist. Oboje drži. Prvič, Marxova kritika divjega kapitalizma zgodnjega 19. stoletja se zdi, da se danes ponavlja tako v obliki rentnega sloja, pavperizacije spodnje polovice prebivalstva po dohodkih, povečane koncentracije gospodarstva in povečane moči finančnega kapitala. In drugič, Marx je bil za tiste čase res dober ekonomist. No, ni jih bilo veliko in med njimi je bil Marx blizu vrha.
Vendar je problem z Marxom nekje drugje: njegova analiza in kritika divjega, nereguliranega kapitalističnega sistema je bila dobra, problem so njegovi recepti. Delavska revolucija je bila pač nateg spretnih političnih manipulantov. Dober odgovor na Marxovo kritiko je dejansko ameriški New Deal v 1930-ih in evropska socialdemokracija po 2. svetovni vojni. Torej večja regulacija gospodarstva, več javnega zagotavljanja ključnih osnovnih dobrin (šolstvo, zdravstvo), višji davki in močna socialna država. Nato pa so desetletja dobrega življenja izbrisali ta zgodovinski spomin in nereguliran kapital se je spet povampiril. Torej, tudi danes je odgovor v isti smeri (kapitalu nadati uzde in zagotoviti močno socialno državo) in ne v delavski revoluciji.
Spodnji zapis o tem je iz The Economista. In The Economist se (kolektivno, kot običajno) strinja, da je Marx imel prav glede kritike kapitalističnega sistema in podobnosti s sedanjim časom… Kam smo to prišli?
Yet Mr McDonnell is right: there is an enormous amount to learn from Marx. Indeed, much of what Marx said seems to become more relevant by the day. The essence of his argument is that the capitalist class consists not of wealth creators but of rent seekers—people who are skilled at expropriating other people’s work and presenting it as their own. Marx was blind to the importance of entrepreneurs in creating something from nothing. He ignored the role of managers in improving productivity. But a glance at British business confirms that there is a lot of rent seeking going on. In 1980 the bosses of the 100 biggest listed firms earned 25 times more than a typical employee. In 2016 they earned 130 times more. Their swollen salaries come with fat pensions, private health-care and golden hellos and goodbyes.
The justification for this bonanza is that you get what you pay for: companies claim they hire chief executives on the open market and pay them according to their performance. But the evidence is brutal. Most CEOs are company men, who work their way up through the ranks, rather than free agents. In 2000-08 the FTSE all-share index fell by 30% but the pay for the bosses running those firms rose 80%. J.K. Galbraith once said that “the salary of the chief executive officer of the large corporation is not market reward for achievement. It is frequently in the nature of a warm personal gesture by the individual to himself.” Corporate Britain is more subtle: CEOs sit on each other’s boards and engage in an elaborate exchange of such gestures.
Marx predicted that capitalism would become more concentrated as it advanced. The number of listed companies has declined at a time when profits are close to their highest levels ever. Concentration is particularly pronounced in the most advanced sectors of the economy. Google controls 85% of Britain’s search-engine traffic. Marx was also right that capitalism would be increasingly dominated by finance, which would become increasingly reckless and crisis-prone.
What about his most famous prediction—that capitalism inevitably produces immiseration for the poor even as it produces super-profits for the rich? “Immiseration” is too strong a word to describe the condition of the poor in a country with a welfare state and a minimum wage. Yet many trends are worrying. Average wages are still below their level before the financial crisis in 2008 and are not expected to exceed it for several years. The rise of the Uber economy threatens to turn millions of people into casual workers who eat only what they can kill.
Vir: The Economist