[Marxism] one more classroom exercise

Craven, Jim JCraven at clark.edu
Sun Mar 28 14:10:41 MST 2004

I give my students the famous quote from Lenin (that's Vladimir not
John) :"When it comes time to hang the last capitalist, he is probably
the one who sold the rope." I ask what that means. Eventually, with some
probing, they get the idea that what Lenin meant through his metaphor,
it that capitalism, in terms of its core "logic" and imperatives of
profit maximization, accumulation of capital, expanded reproduction of
the whole system itself, winds up doing in the short-run what ultimately
digs its own grave and undermines its stability and viability in the
long run.
I ask the students to study ads on tv and come up with some that reflect
contradictions between short-run profit maximization and long-term
viability and interests. One of my all-time favorites has to do with
marketing sleeping aids during early-morning hours when insomniacs are
likely to be watching: If the ads are successful, fewer and fewer former
insomniacs are likely to be watching during these hours--they are now
sleeping--so that audience numbers/shares will drop in the long-run (as
will ad revenues and revenue rates) the more successful the ad campaigns
for sleeping aids in the short-run.
Jim C.
James M. Craven
Blackfoot Name: Omahkohkiaayo-i'poyi
Professor/Consultant,Economics;Business Division Chair
Clark College, 1800 E. McLoughlin Blvd.
Vancouver, WA. USA 98663
Tel: (360) 992-2283; Fax: (360) 992-2863
Employer has no association with private/protected opinion
"Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present
controls the past." (George Orwell)
"...every anticipation of results which are first to be proved seems
disturbing to me...(Karl Marx, "Grundrisse")

More information about the Marxism mailing list