The continuing relevance of Marx

The historian Mark Mazower, in his FT review of Gareth Stedman Jones’s new book on Karl Marx, asks:

“The question this book raises is what [Marx’s] value is for us today. The answer is not hard to find: Marx remains an outstanding model of how to stand outside capitalism and subject it to critique on the basis of something larger — the ability of an economic system to serve human needs. Communism may have failed. But it can scarcely be said that contemporary capitalism — with its intensifying tendency to inequality, its propensity to crisis, its hollowing-out of political institutions and its casualisation of the labour force — has succeeded. So long as we persist in our tendency to have off the study of economics from politics, philosophy and journalism, Marx will remain the outstanding example of how to overcome the fragmentation of modern social thought and think about the world as a whole for the sake of its betterment. “

FT 6/7 August 2016