[OPE] Marx as a manga cartoon

From: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@tiscali.nl>
Date: Sun Nov 23 2008 - 18:50:39 EST

An FT writer in Asia, who hasn't read Das Kapital but has the bee knees, pokes fun at us in terms of a Manga Wonderland with a colourful cast of characters (David Pilling, "Outside Edge: Dick-man and the Bank of Flames", FT November 21 2008). Some of those Manga are quite funky. Sales of Kanikosen, the 1929 proletarian tale of factory workers rising up against evil capitalist oppressors, have surged in Japan from an annual trickle of 5,000 to more than 507,000 so far this year, the Telegraph reported. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/japan/3475913/Das-Kapital-turned-into-a-manga-comic.html

"Whoever this Marx geezer is - and I can't find his Facebook account anywhere - he sure hasn't been watching telly recently. Capital, so far as I can make out through reading my dad's FT and stuff, has acquired an occult ability to go down the toilet. If capital is laying anything, mate, I can think of a lot choicer terms than "eggs" to describe it." (Pilling)

Yeah well money can buy justabout anything, but it doesn't buy a good analysis, so it seems.

Thing is, the financial elites are currently just as much at a loss to provide any coherent, truthful explanation of the disintegration of their financial empires, and how this stuffs up the lives of millions. The credit crisis is confounding their models and theories badly. Some years ago, Martin Wolff trumpeted about "Why globalisation works", lambasting the silly ideas of leftist hippy preachers who do not know what they are talking about, but now maybe he should write a book about "Why globalisation doesn't work" and explain that to us.

In this situation, the luminati are prone to start talking about something else, and in the absence of any coherent scientific arguments, they just try to make out their own lifestyle is superior anyway and that the other guys are toddlers, it's a sort of benign racism and one-upmanship substituting for real argument and human insight, their class reflexes asserting themselves.

What are the moral implications of the credit crisis? Well never mind, we musn't moralise now, and concentrate on facts (even although all sorts of moral tripe happily graced the pages of the FT for many years). In this way, you can always evade things. Yesterday's news is tomorrow's fish 'n' chip paper. Of course, they're not averse to borrowing a few ideas from us.

UN Sec-Gen Ban Ki-Moon states "The world lost twenty million jobs last year. Another one hundred million people could join the ranks of the working poor. Countless others could lose their employment, their homes and their pensions." http://www.un.org/apps/news/infocus/sgspeeches/statments_full.asp?statID=370 Even if - God forbid - I jetsetted around the globe all year round with an entourage of bedpals, courtesy of the FT, it would still not reveal what all that means for people's lives.


PS - on the 19th it was World Toilet Day: it is estimated that 40% of the world population lacks access to dignified and proper sanitation, and one billion have to defecate in the open. Around 4,000 people, mostly children, die every day as a result of diarrhoea-related illnesses, that is nearly one and a half million a year. I chatted with a woman the other day about this, but she opined "well since they live out there in the wop-wops they probably don't need toilets". Meanwhile the turds are piling up. It gives a whole new meaning to Marx's idea of "the economic formation of society as a process of natural history".

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Received on Sun Nov 23 18:52:33 2008

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