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UW Madison Now Offering Course on the Evils of Capitalism

UW Madison Now Offering Course on the Evils of Capitalism

“full range of harms and forms of injustice associated with capitalism”

Will the students who take the course be forced to give up their phones, cars, and modern clothing?

The College Fix reports:

UW-Madison class explores ‘harms and forms of injustice associated with capitalism’

A class at University of Wisconsin-Madison studies how capitalism “generates harms” and “is irrational in ways that hurt nearly everyone,” according to a copy of the syllabus recently obtained through a public records act request by the MacIver Institute.

Berkeley-born and educated sociologist Dr. Erik Olin Wright, who teaches the graduate student course called “Class, State, and Ideology: An Introduction to Social Science in the Marxist Tradition,” goes on to instruct students on how to challenge capitalism.

Capitalism is an oppressive system, according to the syllabus, and “should therefore be criticized from the point of view of the interests it harms — especially the interests of the working class, but also other social categories whose interests are harmed.”

The course explores the “full range of harms and forms of injustice associated with capitalism. These critiques can be broadly grouped under three rubrics: exploitation, domination, and irrationality,” it states.

Mere critique is not the end goal of this course, however, but societal and institutional transformation. Its purpose, according to the nearly 80-page syllabus, is to teach Marxism as an “emancipatory social science,” that is to “fulfill the goal of generating critical social scientific knowledge relevant to the task of challenging systems of oppression.”


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Brings to mind some of the Occupy-Space crowd who (literally) crapped all over capitalism and private property ownership, then had hissy-fit meltdowns when someone stole their laptops, iPhones or other (ahem!) private property. (All the while enjoying their NorthFace backpacks, Nike shoes and the latest in outerwear and camping tents all produced by those eeeeeevil capitalists.)

Just one more example of Liberal Theater of the Absurd.

Well, I’m sure this course is balanced by the course on the Evils of Socialism.

“… but also other social categories whose interests are harmed.”

Interesting; I rarely see this explicitly acknowledged.

Karl Marx theorized about workers (as distinct from owners); the “producers of value” who generate wealth for those pestilential factory owners (a.k.a. “capitalists”). His idea was basically if the “middleman” was eliminated, the “producers of value” could benefit directly from the fruits of their labors. Although there are serious real-world problems with that, the basic concept isn’t entirely wacky.

Marxism immigrated to the United States before WW1, primarily with German and Polish (well, Russian, as there was no official country “Poland” at the time) Jews who tended to settle in places like New York’s notorious Garment District, where as a group they could fester and nurse their resentments. And, true to Marx, they were indeed “workers”, and hard workers at that. But Americans were just not interested in the Marxist vision. The disinterest was so striking that some of the early Marxist newspapers in America didn’t even bother to print English editions; just Yiddish. But always, the Marxist struggle, in both theory and practice, was about workers.

Unfortunately for modern Marxists, American workers still aren’t interested. So modern Marxism has drifted from its original intent to include those “other social categories” … i.e., non-workers. Now Marx was a pretty weird guy, but he was too good an economist to think that any economic system can operate if it’s dominated by great masses of non-producers. But modern Marxists realize that that’s where the votes are. (Of course Marx didn’t rely much on this “voting” stuff, perhaps because he believed the mechanisms of democratic voting to be controlled by the “capitalists” and their friends.)

It’s not the first time that Marxists have acknowledge that evolving Marxism is no longer about economics, but rather about control. The Frankfurt School has been pushing that modified Marxist vision since the 1920s. But it was always couched in impenetrable German Existentialist phraseology. Putting it in plain English must count as some sort of a breakthrough.