Robin Wilson
26 April 2011

The odd thing was that it turned out the man whose communist spectre frightened the 19th century world saved it in the 21st. Marx would have chortled at the irony. But he had seen it coming. He watched in England as the rapacious capitalists threatened to destroy their workforce—a mere ‘externality’ for each of them—through exploiting children and making adults work impossibly long hours. And he wrote in Capital volume I of how the labour movement had actually secured the long-term interest of capital by fighting successfully for the eight-hour day. Two centuries  on, the green industrial revolution had achieved the same outcome—this time with the ecological movement in the van in saving capital from itself. 

True, the more progressive capitalists could see the markets in green technologies and supported the case for regulation, so they didn’t fight to the death. And the demise of the Chinese dictatorship, when it could no longer keep cutting off the Hydra heads of internet-based civil society movements, was a key moment. Funnily enough, the US, with its rusting oil and car industries shrouding the one-time democratic ‘beacon on the hill’, was neither here nor there.

Karl Marx http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/fc/Karl_Marx.jpg/500px-Karl_Marx.jpg

Postcard image info

Karl Marx http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/fc/Karl_Marx.jpg/500px-Karl_Marx.jpg

Author: Robin Wilson

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