Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Consequence of Karl Marx

I am a huge fan of lectures by The Teaching Company, and believe one can learn more per minute of study through their lectures than the best book.  It took more than 200 lectures before I found one I was dissatisfied with.

Power Over People is a series of political science lectures by Dr. Dennis Dalton.  Although it is sometimes more about philosophy than politics, it is nevertheless a superb series.  Lecture 10 on Karl Marx was disappointing though, because he hardly even related Marx to politics or power!  At first the lecture dwells on Marx's life, and towards the end Dr. Dalton ponders the issue of income inequality.  Inequality is worsening, he argues, and so long as that is the case, he argues Marx will be relevant.

But that is where he stopped, and he left out the most important thing.  Marx opposed income inequality.  We have income inequality.  Inequality may be worsening.  Dr. Dalton reveals his opposition to inequality, but does not say what he or Marx is willing to do in order to reduce inequality.  How far are they willing to use governmental force to equalize wealth?  What types of policies are acceptable?  Are they willing to reduce income inequality if it makes everyone poorer?  For goodness sake, if the lectures series is called Power Over People, how can you lament income inequality without remarking the tyrannical use of force that would be needed to fight it?

Moreover, Dr. Dalton does not remark upon the existence of books like F. A. Hayek's Road to Serfdom.  At a minimum, they should be mentioned in passing.  A lecture on the politics of income inequality, even one focusing on Marx, simply has to address the many repugnant uses of force that is needed to mitigate income inequality.

Nevertheless, the lectures series overall is fantastic, and worth purchase.

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