The Canadian Broadcast Corporation, a state funded entity akin to PBS, recently did a radio episode that gave Marxism a positive spin.
Three scholars were invited to talk about Marxism’s enduring relevance and why its principles are still valid in present times.
Martin Hagglund, a philosophy and literature professor at Yale University contends that capitalism keeps people from making decisions that actually create value and meaning.
“What distinguishes us from other animals is not just that we have free time to play around like other animals do, but we also have the capacity to ask ourselves what is worth doing with our free time and what we ought to do with it. It’s unintelligible that your decisions are free and that you’re leading a free life unless you can ask yourself that question,” Hagglund asserted.
In this piece, there was also discussion of ownership of time. In writer Malcom Harris’s view, this is the privilege that only the rich can enjoy. Harris argues that millennials have inherited a world where living one’s life on their own terms is only a fantasy available to the most privileged of society. The writer argues that millennials are “poorer, in greater debt, and more medicated than their parents or grandparents.”
In one of his books, Kids These Days: Human Capital and the Making of Millennials, Harris contends that when “millennials express any kind of expectation that life ought to offer greater meaning, they are derided as being spoiled and entitled.”
Harris adds, “For young people to say we want to live in a world that is tending toward meaning, that reduces the drudgery that people have to experience, that reduces the exploitation that people have to experience so that more of us can do rewarding things with our lives — I’m not sure what a better claim could be. That’s supposed to be what this is all about.”
The writer claims that younger people are looking for a connection to history, that goes beyond their daily lives. According to Harris, “that connection is elusive, obscured by a deep sense of alienation from themselves and those around them.”
Terrell Carver, a professor of political theory at Bristol University, asserts that the conditions of alienation and lack of meaning that have come about as a result of late capitalism are similar to the conditions that Marx faced in the 1840s.
“I think there’s much more historical overlap than people realize. I think this also has to do with new and revolutionary technologies because the 1840s, like today, was really quite revolutionary in terms of technology. The Industrial Revolution was getting underway. Also: the themes of pollution and exploitation and migration.”
BLP reported that record numbers of Americans approve of socialism. The continued relevance of politicians like Bernie Sanders and the meteoric rise of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez may explain why these ideas are so in vogue these days.
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