[Blueboard] Why Study Marxism This 2nd Semester --> Vatican: Thumbs Up for Karl Marx

Sairry R. Sandoval ssandoval at ateneo.edu
Fri Oct 30 09:12:18 PHT 2009

----- Forwarded message from ebeja at ateneo.edu -----
     Date: Fri, 30 Oct 2009 07:46:20 +0800
     From: ebeja at ateneo.edu
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  Subject: Re: Why Study Marxism This 2nd Semester --> Vatican: Thumbs  
Up for Karl Marx


Why Study Marxism This Second Semester?

Undergraduate Electives
EC 185.62 Theory of Capitalist Development
EC 185.63 Comparative Eco Theories: Neoclassical vs Marxian Economics

Graduate Electives
EC 285.62/ Theory of Capitalist Development
EC 385.63

Both courses deal with Marxian political economy. EC185.62 focuses on
how and why capitalist systems expand and fall into crises. EC185.63
focuses on comparing theory that supports capitalism (ie, neoclassical
economics) and critizes capitalism (ie, Marxian economics).



BY: Richard Owen
The Times of London

October 22, 2009

Karl Marx, who famously described religion as the opium of the people,
has joined Galileo, Charles Darwin and Oscar Wilde on a growing list
of historical figures to have undergone an unlikely reappraisal by the
Roman Catholic Church.

L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, said yesterday that Marx's
early critiques of capitalism had highlighted the social alienation
felt by the large part of humanity that remained excluded, even now,
from economic and political decision-making.

Georg Sans, a German-born professor of the history of contemporary
philosophy at the pontifical Gregorian University, wrote in an article
that Marx's work remained especially relevant today as mankind was
seeking a new harmony between its needs and the natural environment.
He also said that Marx's theories may help to explain the enduring
issue of income inequality within capitalist societies.

We have to ask ourselves, with Marx, whether the forms of alienation
of which he spoke have their origin in the capitalist system, Professor
Sans wrote. If money as such does not multiply on its own, how are we
to explain the accumulation of wealth in the hands of the few?

With reassessments such as these it may be wondered which formerly
unacceptable figure could be next. Last year the Vatican erected a
statue of Galileo as a way of saying sorry for trying the astronomer
in 1633 for his observation that the Earth moved around the Sun; in
February a leading official declared Darwin's theory of evolution
compatible with the Christian faith, and in July L'Osservatore
praised Oscar Wilde, the gay playwright, as a man who behind a mask
of amorality asked himself what was just and what was mistaken.

Professor Sans argues that Marxs intellectual legacy was marred by
the misappropriation of his work by the communist regimes of the 20th
century. It is no exaggeration to say that nothing has damaged the
interests of Marx the philosopher more than Marxism, he said.

This overturns a century of Catholic hostility to his creed. Two years
ago Benedict XVI singled out Marxism as one of the great scourges of
the modern age. The Marxist system, where it found its way into
government, not only left a sad heritage of economic and ecological
destruction, but also a painful destruction of the human spirit, he
told an audience in Brazil.

Then again the Pope has been busy reappraising modern capitalism.
Benedict's latest encyclical, Charity in Truth, offers a direct
response to the recession, arguing that global capitalism has lost
its way and that Church teachings can help to restore economic health
by focusing on justice for the weak and closer regulation of the market.
His predecessor, John Paul II who hated communism and as pontiff helped
to bring it down in his native Poland was keenly aware of the failings
of the West and the effects of unbridled capitalism on post-communist

Professor Sans's view of Marx was not without criticism. He argued that
Marx's materialist view of history had wrongly reduced man to no more
than a product of his material, economic and physical circumstances.
He also said that after the fall of communism in 1989, few believed
any more that private property was in itself wrong or unjust, and
given the experience of the past half century no one believed that
collectivisation of property was the answer.

Marx, who predicted that capitalism would be destroyed by its internal
contradictions and be replaced by communism after a transitional period,
was born in 1818 in Trier in Germany to Jewish parents. Although it was
a majority Catholic town, his father, Heinrich, converted to Lutheran
Protestantism to escape anti-Semitism.

Marx was baptised as a Christian but he remained an atheist all his life.
He once observed that religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the
heart of a heartless world and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the
opium of the people.

Marx was expelled from several European countries for his radical espousal
of a working-class revolution. He moved to London in May 1849 and lived
there until his death in 1883.

Professor Sans's article was first published in La Civiltà Cattolica,
a Jesuit paper, which is vetted in advance by the Vatican Secretariat of
State. The decision to republish it in the Vatican newspaper gives it
added papal endorsement.

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