Thursday, September 15, 2005

P o s t S o v i e t M a r x i s m

An essay with a carefully built logical argument has the same effect on the brain as does a delicious cup of coffee. America is not a hamburger is one such article. After feasting on several of her delicious essays, I have grown to respect Naomi Klein. It is nice to see the critics of the capitalist theory find their new voices in the uni-polar world of today.

Here is a simple maxim that my father has told me when I was a kid - When you are unsure in deciding between two opposing theories, always side with the one which encourages criticism and argument. In the current scenario, the pundits of free-trade keep harping on the point that "Communism was a failed ideology. Soviet Union was dead. So were the pre-historic policies of China and India". They would not welcome any argument or criticism. On the other hand, the left-wing has found several brilliant orators such as Arundhati Roy and Noam Chomsky who have been very vocal in their criticism. Their arguments would have made Bertrand Russel proud ! But I still have to read Amartya Sen, and I suspect that will improve my outlook.

Previously, the focus in the criticism of Capitalist theory used to be on the accumulation of capital and on the control of production-engines by a limited few. Currently, I think the focus has shifted to the freedom of expression and to the decentralization of authority. This has a huge relevance for the information age that we have stepped into.

Marxist theory had been developed to explain the industrial age. I agree that it has become dated. But unfortunately, it still continues to the best criticism on capitalist ideology. I hope to see a worthy successor to Marxism which will eventually explain the information age.

I believe we can take help from the big brother and the little brother (previous article) in discovering alternative ways of decentralizing the jobs of administration. For instance, take a look at this speculation about the society of secret journalists that I have stirred.

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