Saturday, 13 May 2017

Nick Ferrari - A Fast Mouth, Pity He Can't Engage A Brain To Go With It

I was just watching as much of Sky News' Pledge programme as I could stand.  On it, Nick Ferrari as his intellectual contribution to attacking Labour's Manifesto, brandished a copy of Volume I of Capital, as though the two documents have anything to do with each other.  His link was the fact that Corbyn and McDonnell are supposed to be Marxists.

Why would anyone want to base their Manifesto on the economic policy of a failed regime, Ferrari inquired, sagely.  The link again was presumably supposed to be made by the fact that the cover of the book, showed a USSR style hammer and sickle.  But, anyone who has actually read even a few pages of Capital, rather than sought to use it as a cheap prop for a superficial TV jibe, in place of an actual argument, would realise several things that make Ferrari's suggestion ridiculous.

Firstly, Marx wrote Capital nearly 60 years before the USSR ever existed, so anyone basing their Manifesto on its contents could not possibly be basing themselves on the failed regime of the USSR, as it did not exist at the time the book was written!  Secondly, Capital is what it says on the tin, i.e. it is an analysis of Capital, not a prescription for economic polices for some future socialist society, let alone a Labour government to implement.  Marx was, in fact, renowned for not making prescriptions about how a future society should be organised.  Thirdly, it is an analysis of what was, at the time, the most successful capitalist economy - Britain - and so anyone wanting to base themselves on that analysis could do much worse than basing themselves on an analysis of what made that economy so successful.

But, brains who are not supporters of Marx, but which are far more sophisticated than Ferrari's themselves had to admit that profound nature of Marx's analysis of that system, and what made it work, as well as what led it periodically not to work.  Joseph Schumpeter wrote of Marx, in his

‘History of Economic Analysis’,

“... the totality of his vision, as a totality, asserts its right in every detail and is precisely the source of intellectual fascination experienced by everyone, friend as well as foe, who makes a study of him’; and elsewhere “at the time when his first volume appeared there was nobody in Germany who could have measured himself against him either in vigour of thought or in theoretical knowledge.”

As Nicholas Naseem Taleb put it in his book , “The Bed of Procrustes”,

“Karl Marx, a visionary, figured out that you can control a slave much better by convincing him he is an employee.”

But who are such intellects compared to a giant like Ferrari?

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