Friday, 7 September 2012

Marx the sponger

Volume 2, chapter 10 of Rothbard's An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought (1995) contains this little gem, featured in yesterday's Mises Daily article, Marx's Path to Communism:

An insatiable spender of other people's money, Marx continually complained about a shortage of financial means. While sponging on Engels, Marx perpetually complained to his friend that his largess was never enough. Thus, in 1868, Marx insisted that he could not make do on an annual income of less than £400-£500, a phenomenal sum considering that the upper tenth of Englishmen in that period were earning an average income of only £72 a year. Indeed, so profligate was Marx that he quickly ran through an inheritance from a German follower of £824 in 1864, as well as a gift of £350 from Engels in the same year.
As in the case of many other spongers and cadgers throughout history, Karl Marx affected a hatred and contempt for the very material resource he was so anxious to cadge and use so recklessly. The difference is that Marx created an entire philosophy around his own corrupt attitudes toward money. Man, he thundered, was in the grip of the "fetishism" of money. The problem was the existence of this evil thing, not the voluntarily adopted attitudes of some people toward it. Money Marx reviled as "the pander between … human life and the means of sustenance," the "universal whore." The Utopia of communism was a society where this scourge, money, would be abolished.

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