昨日(5月5日)の生誕200周年を受けて、マルクスに関する論考が数多く現れている。ピーター・シンガーは、Project Syndicate論説で、マルクス思想の本質的な欠陥を以下のように指摘している

Marx’s reputation was severely damaged by the atrocities committed by regimes that called themselves Marxist, although there is no evidence that Marx himself would have supported such crimes. But communism collapsed largely because, as practiced in the Soviet bloc and in China under Mao, it failed to provide people with a standard of living that could compete with that of most people in the capitalist economies.
These failures do not reflect flaws in Marx’s depiction of communism, because Marx never depicted it: he showed not the slightest interest in the details of how a communist society would function. Instead, the failures of communism point to a deeper flaw: Marx’s false view of human nature.
There is, Marx thought, no such thing as an inherent or biological human nature. The human essence is, he wrote in his Theses on Feuerbach, “the ensemble of the social relations.” It follows then, that if you change the social relations – for example, by changing the economic basis of society and abolishing the relationship between capitalist and worker – people in the new society will be very different from the way they were under capitalism.
Marx did not arrive at this conviction through detailed studies of human nature under different economic systems. It was, rather, an application of Hegel’s view of history. ...
Once workers owned the means of production collectively, Marx thought, the “springs of cooperative wealth” would flow more abundantly than those of private wealth – so abundantly, in fact, that distribution would cease to be a problem. That is why he saw no need to go into detail about how income or goods would be distributed.

この論説は「(マルクスは今も重要か?)Is Marx Still Relevant?」と題されているが、その問いに対するシンガーの答えは、政治的、経済的には重要ではなくなったが、唯物史観という知的な面では影響は依然としてある、というものである。彼は論説を以下の段落で締め括っている。

The most important takeaway from Marx’s view of history is negative: the evolution of ideas, religions, and political institutions is not independent of the tools we use to satisfy our needs, nor of the economic structures we organize around those tools, and the financial interests they create. If this seems too obvious to need stating, it is because we have internalized this view. In that sense, we are all Marxists now.


As communism’s crimes became better known, and gradually increasingly laid at Marx’s door, and as communist regimes sputtered and their mournful and poorly educated ideologues regurgitated predictable phrases, Marx’s thought suffered an eclipse. The fall of communist regimes brought it to its low point.
But then –the third event—globalized capitalism that exhibits all the features that Marx so eloquently described in Das Capital, and the Global Financial Crisis, made his thought relevant again. By now he was safely ensconced into the Pantheon of global philosophers, his every extant word published, his books available in all the languages of the world, and his status, while still subject to vagaries of time, safe—at least in the sense that it could never fall into obscurity and oblivion.
In fact, his influence is inextricably linked with capitalism. So long as capitalism exists, Marx will be read as its most astute analyst. If capitalism ceases to exist, he will be read as its best critic. So whether we believe that in another 200 years, capitalism will be with us or not, we can be sure that Marx will.
His place is now there with that of Plato and Aristotle, but were it not for the three favorable and unlikely turns of events, we might have hardly heard of an obscure German émigré who died long time ago in London, accompanied to his grave by eight people.