Posted by: Doug Henwood | December 17, 2010

Marx crushes Hayek

Yeah, everyone’s ngram-ing, so why not me? The number of mentions of Karl Marx vs. Friedrich Hayek in a sample of the books in Google’s database. The original Google chart doesn’t scale nicely, so I’ve retouched it some using Adobe Illustrator. But the relative trajectories are unchanged. To see the Google original, click here: Marx vs. Hayek.

They just can’t stop talking about the Old Man, can they? He’s come down some since the mid-1970s, but you’d think that Freddie would have come up a lot more.


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Responses

  1. Yes, but “fuck” has completely overtaken “Karl Marx” since the mid-1980s. Probably David Mamet’s fault.

    http://ngrams.googlelabs.com/graph?content=fuck%2C+Karl+Marx&year_start=1800&year_end=2008&corpus=0&smoothing=3

    Though “Marx” alone is still ahead of “fuck,” “shit” has edged ahead: http://ngrams.googlelabs.com/graph?content=shit%2CMarx&year_start=1800&year_end=2008&corpus=0&smoothing=3

    That’s some fuckin’ shit!

  2. If the Bolsheviks had not done away with the worker’s councils (i.e., the soviets) insisting, as they did, upon a “temporary” vanguard, top-down control–i.e., taking a cue from Marx (his essential error?)–they would have moved closer to Bakunin’s view that one cannot undo top-down control (Tsarism, the kulaks, feudalism in Russia, etc.) with “new” top-down control, however temporary.

    That is, the essential fact of our lives is that we must WORK, and, therefore, it makes nothing but good sense to establish the democracy we insist we want–i.e., a participatory democracy–at the syndicalist level, that being a decentralized matrix of worker’s collectives, or unions.

    There, we establish the distinct possibility of 1) ongoing dialogue, 2) effective arbitration, 3) mutuality, and 4) participation of the kind sorely lacking in the highly centralized, top-down, hierarchical arborescent-model (i.e., Ponzi?) construct under which we suffer.

    Hayek (Mises, and, more recently, Summers, et al.) argue to the necessity of control via the unseen hand of the market–i.e., the centralized market. If, however, we prescind from the idea of the Federal-as-God-as-needed-control mantra and consider the reality of “smaller,” decentralized–i.e., the rhizome model of, e.g., Deleuze and Guattari–local collectivization with localized, non-hierarchical COMMUNICATION displacing the virtually religious idée fixe of CONTROL, then a space of negotiation exists when one was lacking a moment ago.

    Localized union consent via dialogue, i.e., consent which prescinds from INDIVIDUAL GREED as THE salient, malign dynamic in this equation–has a better than equal chance at establishing a sustainable environment in which to flourish, not merely survive. This is NOT a utopian moment proffered here. It is highly workable, pace Hayek, Mise, Greenspan, and other supposed Ivy-League “geniuses” in our midst.

    Anarchism, as posited here, has nothing to do with lawlessness, chaos, disorganization, nihilism, etc. Rather, it is adult men and women determining the course of their own lives. The “organization” comes from the radical (i.e., fundamental) fact of the BASIC necessities we all need on an EQUAL basis. That “equal”–when acknowledged as such–is all the foundation, organization, management, order, etc., we, as a collective will ever need.

    When, however, we move away from the logical construct of a community of adult men and women–considered as a localized, non-hierarchical collective existing via ongoing consent–towards an eminently adversarial construct–i.e., capitalism–we have consented to (tacitly or otherwise), aided and abetted an abiding 1) dissonance, 2) antagonism, 3) contention 4) rancor and wars of every stripe.

    We do not need the “unseen hand of the market” to ensure the health of the Commonweal. That is an academic (institutionally-derived) ruse–and an ersatz substitute for what is essential (unremittingly so) to us for the long haul.

    Capitalism is NOT a fait accompli! The history of civilization in the West does NOT begin with the Inclosure Acts!

  3. I see an inflection point building there for Marx, circa 2009. Wonder why ? After all, we’re at the End of History.

  4. Doug,

    Sorry to stray from the topic of your post, but I am very interested in how you would respond to this piece by Paul Craig Roberts (linked from Counterpunch.org).

    http://www.counterpunch.org/roberts12202010.html

  5. Reminds me of these lines from Tom Lehrer:

    Remember the war against Franco … he may have won all the battles, but we had all the good songs.

    There may be plenty of Geschichtenscheissenschlopff around to provide opium for the intellectuals, but the rest of us need better models grounded in terra firma to get out of the morass.

  6. what is there to be done

    “but the rest of us need better models…”

    It’s too late for models…and, as you’ve intimated, we’ve got all of the models–models up the lit/crit/gradschool yin yang–we’re ever going to need.

    It’s too late for models–good ones, better ones, etc.–and, in fact, models are not needed. We’re in a free fall…or, to use another metaphor, a space has been created– out of our current dire, calamitous necessity–for creative civil disobedience. ‘Tis Praxis which comes after “models”…!

    Witness: bring a Lady Gaga CD (purged of exchange value) to work with you and, you know…

    Or, if that’s not to your liking…certa bonum certamen…provide a journalistic space for disseminating information found on, e.g., old Lady Gaga CDs…

    some of us DO need “better models”–if we absolutely insist upon abjuring praxis.

    of same: It need NOT be a grand gesture, merely 1) authentic and 2) diffuse.

    It’s as simple as A, B, C:

    action, bulletin (de rigueur: inform the Fourth Estate “why”), copy (i.e., repeated by others, elsewhere)

  7. Yeah, I see the beginnings of a possible recent inflection upwards in “marx”, but it only really shows on the original graph. I hope to add my own contribution to this tentative reversal of a relentless decline from the 1970’s peak in the next few years.

    OTOH, the decline puts us us at a 1930’s level frequency, towards the beginning of a historic ramp up in that frequency. Asides from the coincidence with the Great Depression era, if I am right that the present corresponds more closely to the “purely capitalist world” assumed in Capital than did the 1930’s, then we may see this reversal sustained.


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