Rolling Stone Resurrects Karl Marx (And No - It Was Not Satire)

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Pater Tenebrarum of Acting-Man blog,

The Problem of Economic Ignorance

The fact that economic ignorance is widespread is really a big problem in our view. Unfortunately even what is broadly considered the economic mainstream thought is riddled with stuff that we think just doesn't represent good economics. This is not meant to say that there is absolutely nothing worthwhile offered by the so-called mainstream. Often one comes across valuable insights and stimulating ideas. Still, there are a number of very fundamental issues on which various schools of economic thought don't agree  – beginning with basic questions of methodology.

Regarding the place economics should have in our lives, Ludwig von Mises once wrote:

“Economics must not be relegated to classrooms and statistical offices and must not be left to esoteric circles. It is the philosophy of human life and action and concerns everybody and everything. It is the pith of civilization and of man's human existence.”

We agree wholeheartedly with this sentiment. There is little harm in leaving astronomy to astronomers and quantum physics to experts in theoretical physics. With economics it is different, because even though it is supposed to be wertfrei (value-free) as a science, economics necessarily has a political dimension, since politics is all about the acquisition and distribution of property by political (as opposed to economic) means. In other words, economic policy is the main topic around which politics revolves.

When Mises wrote the above words, he thought of economics as a more or less unified science, in broad agreement on basic concepts. In a way that is still true, but it is less true than it once was. For instance, to briefly come back to the point about methodology, Mises spent a lot of effort on systematizing the economic method and discussing the epistemological problems of economics. However, while doing so, he never doubted for a moment that it was quite clear to all economists that the science had to proceed by means of deductive reasoning and logic. He probably didn't expect that positivism would eventually conquer economics. As an aside, if one looks closely, one soon realizes that even the most committed positivists and econometricians secretly agree that there actually is such a thing as the laws of economics, and that these laws are not necessarily all derived from empirical observation.

Be that as it may, there is definitely a great deal of economic ignorance out there. Partly it is actually furthered by statist propaganda and obfuscation. For instance, the average citizen is not supposed to question the centrally planned monetary system, and neither is he supposed to actually understand how it works (hence what is actually a pretty straightforward operation has become a fairly complex variation of the Three Card Monte, designed to obfuscate the system's inherently fraudulent nature).

How much ignorance there is regularly becomes evident by things such as e.g. the enduring popularity of protectionism (it is almost as though consumers enjoy harming themselves).

Another glaring example is the still widespread idea that socialism – or rather, communism (i.e., full-scale socialism as opposed to its milder 'democratic' version) – would be 'the best possible system of social and economic organization if only it were implemented correctly', or the variant ' … if only human nature were different and we were morally more advanced than we actually are'.

The main problem with this train of thought is that it is actually completely wrong. When confronting supporters of socialism with the total failure and murderous nature of the communist system in the real world, a common retort is that 'this wasn't real socialism'. In other words, if Lenin, Stalin, Mao and their followers had only implemented everything according to the precepts of Karl Marx, then things would have been perfectly fine, and the communists would have erected a king of land of Cockaigne.

However, not only did they in fact follow the precepts laid down by Marx and Engels, but even if e.g. Stalin had been a veritable angel, the system would still have failed. Socialism is literally impossible as Mises has already proved in 1920. In brief: it is a system in which rational economic calculation becomes impossible, because there are no longer prices for capital goods once private property in the means of production is abolished. A system bereft of economic calculation can no longer allocate scarce resources efficiently. It cannot really be called an economy anymore. It a system that is doomed to break down in short order, and the only reason why it survived as long as it did in the former Eastern Bloc was that the COMECON planners were able to observe the price system in the capitalist countries and so could engage in a rudimentary form of economic calculation. Had the whole world become socialistic, the economy and division of labor would have completely collapsed within a few years and people would have been forced to return to a hand-to-mouth existence, barely able to subsist. Life would once again have become 'nasty, brutish and short'.


No, It Was Not Meant to Be a Satire …

In other words, it seems quite important that people really understand why socialism cannot work. After all, bad ideas have a habit of coming back after a while and an example for this has just been delivered via an editorial in the 'Rolling Stone', penned by one Jesse A. Myerson, a former 'Occupy' movement organizer.

At first many people mistakenly thought it was meant to be a satire, but it soon turned out it actually wasn't. On Twitter, Myerson runs the hashtag #FULLCOMMUNISM (anything less than the 'full' version apparently won't do), so there can be no doubt as to his ideological proclivities.

Anyway, in his article, couched in 'hip' language (the word 'blow' or 'blows' is used frequently, as in e.g. 'work blows'), he argues that millennials should make five economic demands, namely:

1. Guaranteed work for everybody, 2. a basic income for everybody (he calls that 'social security', but he actually means that everybody should get a government salary in exchange for – nothing. Being able to fog a mirror is sufficient reason), 3. the expropriation of landowners (it is not 100% clear if he merely argues for a Georgist land tax or full-scale expropriation), 4. the abolition of private property and nationalization of the means of production, and 5. a 'public bank in every state'.

The last demand sounds like he has picked up the ideas of the Greenbackers and associated monetary cranks, who hold that the monetary system could be improved if money printing were left to politicians directly rather than a central bank (for a trenchant critique of Greenbackism, read Gary North, who correctly notes that the ideology is at the root indistinguishable from Hitler's economic program).

So essentially, this leader/hero of the 'Occupy' movement proposes an economic program that is a jumbled mixture of Marxism/Stalinism, Georgism and National Socialism. Whoa!

Luckily not even the readers of Rolling Stone are falling for this stuff, judging from the comments section below the editorial. However, we have once again come across many comments that show that the problem discussed further above continues to persist – i.e., many people still seem convinced that communism would actually work if only it were 'done right'. That this is a fundamental error needs to be pointed out at every opportunity.

Not surprisingly, Myerson has become a target of ridicule all over the media landscape by now. Especially conservative columnists had a field day. However, Myerson of course stands by his nonsense, and attempted to defend it on Twitter and elsewhere. One of the more interesting conversations revolved around the accusation that what he proposed amounted to a defense of the system practiced by the Soviet Union. Since it has clearly failed there, there was really nothing left to discuss. As one might expect, Myerson retorted that of course, the Soviets never implemented his demands. In other words, the leftist trope that the 'communists never really tried communism' was predictably dug up by him. If only they had done so, they would of course have succeeded, so the story goes.

Unfortunately for him, there are a great many fact checkers out and about these days.  One of them proved that not only had every single one of his demands been implemented by the Soviets, but they were actually without exception part of the Soviet constitution. On the Drew Musings blog an article entitled “Advocate For #FULLCOMMUNISM Says Soviet Union Did Not Try #FULLCOMMUNISMhas all the details and quotes from the Soviet Union's constitution. As Drew concludes, the only thing that still needs to be mentioned regarding the communists is that


“They did succeed at one thing…killing million upon millions of people in their efforts to remake society and maintain their control. #FULLCOMMUNISM = #MILLIONSDEAD. Always has, always will.”


That is not exactly an unimportant detail. Since the expropriation of private property necessarily involves force, it cannot be implemented without killing and imprisoning people. Once the system is established, it must continue to use force to ensure that the new ruling class won't be challenged and that the system remains in place.



It is heartening that so many people, including the readership of the generally leftist Rolling Stone magazine, have vehemently disagreed with Myerson and heaped ridicule on his vile editorial. However, keep in mind that as time passes, the ignominious collapse of the communist system will become an ever more distant memory. In fact, that such an article is published at all is already a sign that this is happening. It is also concerning that the idea that communism would be just fine if only implemented correctly continues to be held by so many people. This is a result of widespread economic ignorance. It is more important to challenge the ideas propagated by Myerson on theoretical grounds than by merely citing historical events. Only if it is widely understood by people that socialism is indeed impossible will the danger posed by the Marxist ideology truly be banned.




The fathers of the Marxist ideology, Marx and Engels and two important leaders of the Marxist reality, Lenin and Stalin – briefly resurrected by the 'Rolling Stone'. Let us make sure they are interred again.

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Surging Chaos's picture

"It is no crime to be ignorant of economics, which is, after all, a specialized discipline and one that most people consider to be a 'dismal science.' But it is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance." -- Murray Rothbard

hedgeless_horseman's picture



" is totally irresponsible to have a loud and vociferous opinion on economic subjects while remaining in this state of ignorance."  -Farmer Rothbard


"Four legs good.  Two legs better!  Four legs good.  Two legs better!  Four legs good.  Two legs better!"  - American Sheeple

DoChenRollingBearing's picture

I visited Poland and East Germany in 1984.  EVERYONE I ran into (except for the Polish cops and the E German border guards who were all scummy thugs) hated Communism.  Anyone who thinks Communism is a good system is a fool, not well versed in history, or just an authoritarian-type who wants to be on top.


Invitation to the ZH Community!  Show me just one good Communist society!  Show us your "bona fides" by living there too!

economics9698's picture

The fucking tribe has to hide their criminal organization at the Federal Reserve.  All this bull shit is smoke, nothing more.  Get rid of the printing press and these leeches will be exposed, and hung by the neck until dead.

johngaltfla's picture

The tribe is out in the open. ZH's favorite site, "Business Insider" promoted this train of thought several days ago. Basically BI is nothing more than an Obamavomit Marxist front group of day traders who got shit on the wrong side of the trade too many times and want Papa Marx to bail their asses out. Only a fucking moron would offer or pay $100 million for the .com version of CNBS.

Kinskian's picture

"The old idea was the notion that the millennium meant the restoration of the "terrene Kingdome of the Jewes," the idea which had been condemned, but not destroyed, by the Council of Ephesus in 431. The new name for that old idea was revolution. When the ghetto was cracked open, but not destroyed, by the subsequent blows inflicted on it—by the Inquisition, the Chmielnicki pogroms, and, most devastating of all, the disillusionment which followed on the heels of the False Messiah’s conversion to Islam— the concept of revolution escaped through those cracks in the ghetto walls into European culture at large, where it was implemented at first by Judiaizers like the English Puritans and finally by the revolutionary Jew in propria persona, at the helm of his own political movement to produce via socialism, Marxism, Zionism, sexual liberation, or neoconservatism "the terrene Kingdome of the Jewes" or heaven on earth."

markmotive's picture

How about we try capitalism for a while.

Because right now you serve a master.

strannick's picture

At least it wasnt another Beatles Hundred Greatest Hits Issue. I dont know which Len/non/nin is more nauseating

Skateboarder's picture

If you see an entitled millennial refusing to do grunt work and come up like a real (wo)man, kick it in the nuts.

starfcker's picture

this pater douchebag who wrote this fooled all of you fellow ZH heads that i thought were pretty smart. this thing reads like a credit card statement with 18 pages of legalese and mixed in is one paragraph that signs away your life. this article isn't about communism or rolling stone or von mises. it's an opportunity to fill your head with how the 'bad' people think, and then swirl protectionism in the mix, lest you forget protectionism and communism are the same thing. hey pater, you filthy whore, hope the ponzi holds up.

French Frog's picture

I'm just worried that you too are trying to "fill our head with how 'your bad/your good?' people think"


rubiconsolutions's picture

To Jesse A. Myerson - "It Doesn't Take a Village to Raise Idiots Like You"

rubiconsolutions's picture

During the Occupy hoopla I went to downtown Portland to see what it was all about. Didn't want to take the medias word for it. After engaging some in a conversation and hearing their arguments I asked a few if I could take their car overnight. Cue theory meeting reality: "No, it's mine" "My parents would go crazy" "Can't do it bro" "I don't know you, you might keep it". So you see, most of these folks that advocate for sharing property are just a bunch of selfish bastards who really want to take your property without giving up any of their own.

starfcker's picture

Ok french frog, my point is pretty simple. lack of protectionism is destroying western civilization. what's your point? am i wrong? do take a minute and explain how free trade has benifited the people of the US and europe, and how we are in much better shape now as a result. i'm all ears.

new game's picture

so you propose abolishing the internet and world comunications and government taxation on imports produced outside of merica by those evil corporations? protectionism doesn't work unless you live in a cave and can defend the opening against intruders...

protection of intellectual rights would be a start. prosecution of current laws. oh, that requires upstanding law makers and checks and balances of the constitution. we had a system in place that worked if people upheld their individual responsiblilty of being involved and half way educated.

problem is very complex when allowed to be a democracy of majority. majority without republic/constitutional law is the problem facing the future.

the majority have been hyjacked by big money to serfdom by there inability to discern their own best interests  hence the free shit army til serfdom...

starfcker's picture

new game, let's face it, most people aren't going to invent the next iphone. twenty years ago most people worked. ten years ago if you started a business it was your ticket to the upper middle class. when you send the average persons job to china, they are fucked. i'm no government fanboy, but governments most important job is to PROTECT it's citizens. our government is doing just the opposite. look around you. what do you think put us in this position? scum like clinton and ruben and gore that worship money and don't care what they destroy. i'm a 1%er, christ, just about all my friends are 1%ers. but we're watching the destruction of the society we live in, and it's accellerating. ft. lauderdale, where i live, was a great place, now it's niggertown. i'm supposed to be happy about that?

Dick Buttkiss's picture

Let's let Lenin cut to the chase, shall we, the better to isolate the problem once and for all:

"While the State exists, there can be no freedom; when there is freedom, there will be no State." 

tradewithdave's picture


Congratulations on achieving 1% status.  There are not that many black people who made it to the 1%... congratulations on that accomplishment.  You must be proud... happy too.  By the way, a Reuben is a sandwich while Rubin is Iris Mack's (another 1% minority like you) former boyfriend and attempted cuddler in Miami, not Fort Lauderdale and Ruben is Hebrew for "behold... a son" as in the Christ.  Hopefully that helps.  By the way, that's what governments do... "They're here to help."   

donsluck's picture

Dear Starfcker, I love Japanese cars. American cars suck suck suck.

starfcker's picture

donsluck, personally i despise japanese cars. the only american stuff i have ever owned until recently were ford trucks, and i can tell you for a fact they are serious machines. more millionaires own F150's than any other vehicle, and the F150 lariat is as comfortable as any luxury car. ruben, rubin, whatever, i'm not his press agent, i just think he is a traitor. he wants to cruise black chicks in grocery stores, nothing i care about. still not one serious case presented as to how protectionism is right up there with the other evils in the world. wise up, youngsters. it's you who won't be able to put together a predictable future because of trash like this pater idiot. i'm just the messenger, hold fire next time and think ahead a little bit. edit: i meant 'african-americantown (FSA baby!!!)

Oldwood's picture

America practiced protectionism during much of our pre-Fed existence, effectively funding our entire government without significant taxation, so were we communist then? If so why were the communist so anxious to convert us if we were so firmly in their grasp? Protecting our domestic businesses from foreign ones is not the same as banning ownership of private property. It may not be perfect capitalism, but its a long way from communism. I think your theoretical mind has melted.

LibertarianMenace's picture

Yes indeedee. Capitalism must begin at home

PT's picture

See, when the price of land hits 100% of a worker's income, you can't just keep saying, "You didn't work hard enough / smart enough" and you can't crap on about the joys of "supply and demand".  TFTB (The Fuckwits That Be) created the problem, now they trot out the "solution".  You'd better be really careful how you explain capitalism or you might find your house "Dr Zhivago'd".  Kudos for those who are awake enough to see through the bullshit.  Just don't forget that communism only upsets those who have something to lose in the first place.

I keep saying, "Bankers lent money to idiots, who bid up real estate prices to unaffordable levels, the smart people went homeless while the idiots bought houses that were then foreclosed back to the bankers, then the bankers were bailed out for their "losses", and therefore the land was STOLEN from us.  It was DISGUISED as a capitalist transaction but it was simple THEFT.  Don't anyone forget that.

Popo's picture

I have yet to see a version of communism (or socialism) proposed in which anyone and everyone in the government must have a net worth which is below the median net worth in their society.  And there's the tell.  It would never happen, because why would anyone with their hands on the reins of power voluntarily take less than the majority of other people?  And until such a day comes where the leadership voluntarily and constitutionally ensures their own relative poverty, the whole thing is a sham.

fiftybagger's picture

Sham indeed.  But when has any organization run by leftists not rapidly devolved into Animal Farm?

donsluck's picture

-1, your dichotomy is showing.

Cap Matifou's picture

And i miss the name Moses Hess mentioned. He was the godfather of the whole Communist world revolution idea.

new game's picture

pt - ball out of park post. follow the trail - homes for qe money. don't think it was a conspiracy, but along the way they orchestrated the events to where we are.  round two(echo bubble) puts peoples in those home as renters. ownership will be reduced by taxation that squeezes home on to the market.

add healthcare costs, homeownership costs and income ability and we will be at serfdom status as goes to world standard of living.  look to london and ny, cali for trends of future in housing.

Oldwood's picture

All inflation is theft. Anyone who buys low in hopes of selling the same thing high is attempting theft. They can excuse it as simply fleecing the muppets, but it is theft none the less. To make any speculative purchase purely for gain is to seek unearned income, to take advantage of those less "smart" or attentive. "Winning" used to be busting your ass to build a economic saftey net for ones self. Today "winning" is to dupe someone else to provide it for you.

Bendromeda Strain's picture

So if real money is being sent away and disparaged, to buy it in the knowledge that this is foolishness, and money should be valued appropriately is "speculation and theft"? If the value of money goes up (note I did not say "price"), is it immoral to exchange it for more goods in that environment? I think those who purchase PMs have a legitimate argument with your contention. Engineered inflation is theft, perceptive defensive tactics are merely rational response mechanisms.

Oldwood's picture

There is a difference between hedging for protection of your assets and speculating for profit. Granted it may be a subtle difference in some cases and some of us may well be telling ourselves one thing while a completely different motivation is really going on. Gold is a perfect case to me as those who buy physical are much more likely to be hedgers against calamity while those in paper gold are obviously not concerned about long term and are only looking for short term gains...or profits. Kind of like going to war to defend one's borders versus going to war to claim land and property. Sometimes it's not completely clear but it is there. Nothing is ever absolute but if you are looking at trends it becomes pretty obvious. Wholesale theft is occurring everywhere and its not at the point of a gun. It is done through the casinos, and we all know it. I'm betting on my survival, but not at the cost of your demise.

tradewithdave's picture

In regard to "borders" are you referring to Massachusetts Senator Cherokee Warren's heritage border? Just trying to distinguish between the Greenspan map and the territory or is this a Dave Ricardo "map is the territory."

lewy14's picture

Granted it may be a subtle difference in some cases

Awesome. So according to you nobody can run a prop desk, not Goldman, not even sovereign individuals.

Volker rules for all! Judgements to be rendered by Oldwood!

Tell you what...


I buy and sell what I like.

Oldwood's picture

And the rationalization continues. You are free to do as you wish, but do not conflate your "investing" with earning a living. Most people involved in theft and fraud justify their actions. It is our blight. Our government steals,big corporations do it as do so many others including those gaming the welfare system to "get what they deserve". If you sell something for more than you paid for it without adding any value or service you are defrauding. We all have done it and we tell ourselves that, but we know what we are doing, and it isn't earning it. We see the worlds finances spinning of its axis and it is all due to speculation and the values attached to those speculative assets are fraudulent and deliberately manipulated to be so. Participating in this fraud is worse than theft because we all know it is bringing everything to its knees. As we are obviously doing to ourselves I suppose we may deserve it, but we know it is enabling those who have deliberately driven us to this point for a reason and its not just about money.

lewy14's picture

You falsely accuse me and others like me of crimes - of theft and fraud - crimes which exist only in your mind.

You do so to inflate your own delusional sense of virtue, which is really just vanity.

You can read up on your own about what vanity and false accusations are.

You don't even know what you don't know about what you're talking about and I am not about to try to explain it to you because for sure I'd be talking to a brick fuckin' wall.

The world works in spite of people like you, not because of them.

Oldwood's picture

So debt and the fraudulent financial system that are sustained and enabled by trading in financial instruments have nothing to do with where we are? The continuing securitization that we see all around us has nothing to do with anything and those participating and enabling are simply ignorant of anything beyond immediate profit? I have no vanity in this as I have participated as well, but no longer. I have pulled all money from the markets since 2010, and by your approximation have lost potentially a great deal of money. I'm living my convictions and obviously, so are you. Virtually none of the sub-prime lending would have happened as well as much of our sovereign debt if it had not been securitized or otherwise packaged as something it really wasn't. I simply see it as ignoring any moral thinking for the sake of profit. Without those moral guidelines, no system is sustainable. When truth and transparency are a requirement for profit we are all fucked.

Calmyourself's picture

 "Engineered inflation is theft, perceptive defensive tactics are merely rational response mechanisms."  Nice work, simple, declaritive and perceptive of human nature.   Bingo, we have ourselves a winner..

Sean7k's picture

What? And eliminate the financial sector? Jews doing real work? Wasps using their hands and getting them, gasp!, dirty? Production instead of consumption. Where's the sarc tag? 

Oh, and who the fuck is down voting this? 

Oldwood's picture

There are lots of people out there dependent on the "muppets".

GeorgeHayduke's picture

One of the latest "innovative" financial scams is the home-rental backed bond.

These same scammers who sold subprime mortgage backed securities are now taking back the foreclosed homes they sold to people with printed money and renting them back to these same people. What a fantastic scam the oligarchs have pulled on the sheople all the while using the sheoples' fear of words like Marxism, Communism and Socialism! We see fear mongering articles like this stupid collection of words to keep the fear going in the minds of people still happily trapped in Cold War thinking. Meanwhile the owners continue to build their oligarchy/serfdom/peonage into an airtight system and the sheople love it!

The ultimate irony may occur when the sheople actually revolt violently against the enemies provided by the oligarch's media in the belief that they are fighting for freedom, capitalism, god, country and everything that's righteous and just only to end up bigger serfs and slaves than the current situation. The key will be if the sheop realize their actual new reality at the time, or if the oligarch's propaganda machine makes them believe everything is much better now that the corral is free from those troublemakers causing problems for their beloved slave owners. Time will tell.

Things that go bump's picture

You really can't own real property anyway. Sure, you can "buy" a house and pay the bank a healthy chunk of your income for it all of your working life, but you are only paying for a house (which you may pick up and move) and the use of the property. We can't really own land. All real property is held by our feudal lord, the state, in allodial title. 

Casey Stengel's picture

Hmmm,you are describing China. The state owns all the land. People get to build on it for 70 years. Then it goes back to the state. In the US I own my farm and I do what I want with it and then give it to my kids. I just have to pay a tax (which is disgusting)each year to fund schools and local economy. Living in China, I realize there is a difference. 

lewy14's picture

Taxes which rise to exceed your ability to service that cash flow - that negative carry you have to endure for the privilege of keeping what you paid for - that level of taxation is indistinguishable from expropriation.

Does that happen?

Yes, chiefly to the unemployed, sick, and elderly.

bonderøven-farm ass's picture

The state designates 'ownership'.  Rejoice in your serfdom bitchez......

Kayman's picture

Karl-"From each according to his ability, to each according to his need".  No pricing mechanism in Marxism- goods and services allocated by moral and productive men. Except immoral men control the exchanges and productive men reject lazy men.

And we have a hybrid form of Marxism that we live with everyday. The Fed controls the price of money (interest) and allocates purchasing power (free credit and cash) to the most unproductive parts of society- the financial skimmers and flippers and government free lunchers.

Totalitarianism has many names, but it is still totalitarianism.

juangrande's picture

Maybe I'm missing something here, but doesn't capitalism rely on something to exploit? We've ridden a 150 yr. window of technological advancement combined with ( most importantly ) a seemingly endless supply of natural resources. The truth is, nearly all resources are relatively finite ( The sun and human imagination being the big exceptions on any reasonable timeline ). The human "paradigm of existence" is what has led us to this point and is what needs to change. Lennon was correct with his sentiments in the song "Revolution". Free your mind instead.... The past's ways are not going to work in the future.


Calmyourself's picture

Yes, Juan your definately missing something here..  Grow a potato, sell it, whom was exploited?

tradewithdave's picture

Monsanto... You infringed on their patent... See you in court .

rockface's picture

juangrande you are missing everything.  Communism is based on the exploitation of people enforced by violence.  Capitalism is based on freedom and cooperation between willing people.