The NFB has always displayed a typically self-deprecating Canadian sense of humor. American history is world-shaping stuff and is to be rendered chin up. Canadian history, not so much. This is one of a handful of historical vignettes that sardonically reminds us that, for all our good fortune, we didn’t have to work all that hard for it and we’d be wrong to romantisize it too much.
It seems to be a discernible trend: since the collapse of the financial market three years ago, Karl Marx is increasingly being cited once again as the prophet of capitalism’s self-destruction. From the BBC:
As a side-effect of the financial crisis, more and more people are starting to think Karl Marx was right. The great 19th Century German philosopher, economist and revolutionary believed that capitalism was radically unstable.
It had a built-in tendency to produce ever larger booms and busts, and over the longer term it was bound to destroy itself.
Marx welcomed capitalism’s self-destruction. He was confident that a popular revolution would occur and bring a communist system into being that would be more productive and far more humane.
Marx was wrong about communism. Where he was prophetically right was in his grasp of the revolution of capitalism. It’s not just capitalism’s endemic instability that he understood, though in this regard he was far more perceptive than most economists in his day and ours.
More profoundly, Marx understood how capitalism destroys its own social base – the middle-class way of life. The Marxist terminology of bourgeois and proletarian has an archaic ring.
But when he argued that capitalism would plunge the middle classes into something like the precarious existence of the hard-pressed workers of his time, Marx anticipated a change in the way we live that we’re only now struggling to cope with.