"Sometimes...Marx did manage to illuminate the ways in which the industrial system really functioned. But very often he allowed sheer outrage to guide his pen.... In the first volume of Capital..., he has capitalism speaking in the words of Shylock; includes an extract from Timon of Athens wherein money is described as the 'common whore of mankind'; and offers still another denunciation of the cash nexus, from the Antigone of Sophocles. One of the most famous phrases of Marx's vast correspondence during the writing of the book expresses his hatred for having to work on 'the economic shit,' and one recalls Lenin's revealing opinion about gold -- that it was fit only to supply the flooring for public lavatories."
Sunday, April 5, 2009
Gold on the floor
From Christopher Hitchens's review (Atlantic, April '09) of Francis Wheen's book on Marx's Capital: