Archive for March 28th, 2009

Springtime for Mao

According to the International Herald Tribune,  China is planning to stage a musical version of Karl Marx’s Das Kapital to entertain as well as educate the masses on Marxist Theory. They have even hired an economist from Shanghai’s Fudan University as a consultant for the musical. 

Be sure to keep an eye out for it on Broadway. 

It does makes one wonder what Marx might think of self proclaimed Marxist states such as the Soviet Union and present day China. He might characterize these economies as state-capitalism: still capitalism, but here the state is exploiting the laborer rather than the private capitalist exloiting the laborer. Certainly a contrast to our common notion of Marxism. 

Maybe we have a lot to learn about Marxist theory too, and perhaps a musical would not be the worst means to do so. But perhaps the Chinese verision will not do. As the article summarizes:

In the musical, workers discover that their boss has been exploiting them and then learn about Marx’s surplus theory of value. Some react by passively accepting their fate. Others organize and use their collective strength to bargain with the boss. A third cohort mounts a revolt, only to cause the entire business to fail.

The moral of the story — that today’s workers must not revolt against the new ruling class — would give Marx apoplexy. But so it goes when the dialectic is set to music.

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