Half marks on Karl Marx

Crikey readers have their say.

Rundle and Marx: Niall Clugston writes: Re. "Rundle: capitalism ... finally the pundits are taking notice" (yesterday, item 10). Guy Rundle quite rightly castigates financial commentators for their misrepresentation of Karl Marx and then goes on to make his own pronouncements without any reference to what Marx actually said:
"Marx never thought that the global spread of markets, or the financial system, or the "redistribution" of income led to crisis. He wrote of high capitalism before the spread of the limited company (i.e. the modern corporation), dominant finance capital, or the rise of trade unions and the global unevenness that made high wages possible."
Really? In the Communist Manifesto of 1848, Marx discussed the "world market", "the ever expanding union of the workers", and the dependency of "the East on the West".   He published Capital, Volume 1, in 1867, well after the British Limited Liability Act of 1855, and in Volume 3, published after his death in 1883, he discussed finance extensively, including the concept of "fictitious capital", which many see as having great relevance to the GFC. In fact, the greatest failure of commentators is to portray current developments as new, rather than depressingly familiar. Truthiness and climate change: Tamas Calderwood writes: Matt Saxon (yesterday, comments) says that if you sum the warming spurts of the past 150 years listed by Phil "hide the decline" Jones of the CRU you actually get 1.75C of warming. Matt has obviously double counted the 1975-1998 and 1975-2009 periods listed by Jones. If you stick to the first three acknowledged warming spurts you get 1.2C of warming, but the cooling periods from 1880-1910 and 1940-1975 mean there is only a net 0.7C of warming in the past 150 years. And Matt still can’t explain why the longest spurt started up over a century ago when our CO2 emissions were much lower Alan Harrington (yesterday, comments) insists that "numerous climate scientists" say that 1998 was an abnormal peak and the overall trend is inexorably up, although Andrew Davison (yesterday, comments) says 2005 and 2010 were the warmest years, according to NASA. So which is it, guys? Andrew also posted a highly misleading graph that uses completely unrelated scales on its two Y-axes to imply a correlation between CO2 and warming. Truthiness, anyone? In any case, again, analysis of the highly accurate UAH satellite temperature data shows 1998 as the warmest year.  A regression back to 1998 shows just 7/100ths of a degree Celsius of warming since then.  OK, let’s exclude 1998 and start the regression from 2000:  6/100ths of a degree Celsius of warming. Oh, I know -- I don’t have a degree in climate science so I should just shut up and Crikey should stop publishing my comments.  It’s just that the data doesn’t fit the dangerous, man-made warming hypothesis and you don’t need any qualifications to see that.

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27 thoughts on “Half marks on Karl Marx

  1. skink

    at last Tamas has admitted that he is an uneducated amateur. I guess that’s why he’s in the correspondence section rather than writing articles for money.

    I know it gets said every time this bloke is published, but could someone at Crikey please explain why every little wittering by Tamas gets printed? Surely there must be some other denialists out there that you could print if your idea is to offer a contrary voice, and I’ll bet there’s at least one whose more entertaining and witty than this drip?

    I did once think about threatening to cancel my subscription if you printed another of Tamas’ letters, but then you offered me a free book.

  2. John Bennetts

    Skink is only half right.

    About a year back, somebody wrote suggesting that Tamas is actually a fiction and his work the result of fun and games by several of Crikey’s staff in a bid to stir controversy.

    I didn’t believe it way back then, because I still had a bit of faith in Crikey’s ideals. I’m now coming round to the opinion that Crikey has neither more nor less scruples than News of The World’s proprietors displayed.

    Any story’s better than none at all, eh?

  3. Stevo the Working Twistie

    The bulk of what Tamas has published in Crikey is on this very page, as a comment or a reply to another comment. I don’t like trolls any more than you guys, but neither would I like a Crikey that arbitrarily moderated comments based on who wrote them. To paraphrase someone-or-other, I may not like the fact that you are a total plonker, but I’ll fight for your right to repeatedly prove it in a public forum.

  4. Tamas Calderwood

    I don’t suppose you have any actual arguments to deploy against what I’ve said, do you guys?

    I get that you disagree with me, but you can’t seem to counter my points with any facts.

    Why no warming for 13 years? Why was the middle spurt longer than subsequent spurts if CO2 is the prime cause of warming?

    Please explain. I’m all ears.

  5. Jeremy Williams

    The last decade has been the warmest on record but I’m sure no fact will take you away from your fixed position.
    Get something published if you think you’re suitably qualified
    Otherwise its like a lay person giving medical advice to a qualified doctor

  6. Tamas Calderwood

    Jeremy – why has it stopped warming?

    Why is 0.7C of warming in 150 years a crisis?

    If your Dr said you needed radical surgery but you had no symptoms and there was no evidence you were sick, would you blindly follow that advice?

  7. Tamas Calderwood

    Oh, and Jeremy, the world has been warmer for 80% of its 4.8 billion years. We currently live in an ice age. It was warmer during the medieval and roman warm periods.

    Care to explain that?

  8. Jeremy Williams

    Not necessarily but I’d find out what the consensus is
    Your comment small amount of warming is not a crisis is meaningless without context and impacts
    That’s like saying human consumption of a small amount of mercury is not a problem
    There is no where in the leading journals like science, nature etc that supports your its ‘not significant’ point of view nor does it support your its not warming view
    So why are you so committed to dismissing the leading scientists that dedicate every day of their lives to this work?

  9. Tamas Calderwood

    Jeremy – it’s touching that you have such faith in the scientists. Pity you can’t seem to draw any conclusions of your own.

    Please explain this ‘context’. Why is 0.7c of warming such a crisis when it’s been warmer several times in the past few thousand years?

    And please answer the question: why hasn’t it warmed for the past 13 years?

  10. Guy Rundle


    yes Marx did comment on the expansion of world markets, but he didnt say that this would be a major cause in the collapse of capitalism. Subsequent Marxists maybe (though others disagreed – see the Lenin v Kautsky debates on imperialism), but not Marx.

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