Ben Chacko in the Morning Star
INTERNATIONAL Monetary Fund boss Christine Lagarde raised the ghost of Karl Marx yesterday at a London conference of the super-rich on “inclusive capitalism.”
The managing director cited the founder of scientific socialism’s insight that capitalism “carried the seeds of its own destruction” while addressing an audience of corporate tycoons at the Mansion House and Guildhall.
Business bigwigs who jointly manage £17.8 trillion were invited by the City of London and financier EL Rothschild to discuss how repeated crises, mass unemployment and spiralling inequality were undermining confidence in the capitalist order.
But the well-heeled guests had little to offer by way of reform except vague allusions to “corporate responsibility” and praise for wealthy philanthropists.
Ms Lagarde said she feared that “massive excess, rising social tensions and growing political disillusion” were costing “trust in leaders, in institutions, in the free market itself.”
She called for “rewards for all within a market economy.”
Marx Library chairman Alex Gordon said Ms Lagarde was “fond of appropriating Marx” without having read or understood his work.
“Marx predicted the failure of the IMF to ‘civilise’ capitalism. Marx wrote that bourgeois society ‘is like the sorcerer no longer able to control the powers of the nether world he has called up by his spells. Not only has the bourgeoisie forged the weapons that bring death to itself, it has called into existence the men who are to wield those weapons, the modern working class’,” Mr Gordon said.
Speakers at the shindig included Prince Charles, who intoned pieties about capitalism serving “the concerns of humanity rather than the other way around.”
But Left Economics Advisory Panel co-founder Andrew Fisher said: “Capitalism is necessarily exclusive. Only a few can hold capital in any meaningful quantity.
“If you want an inclusive society you need to democratise the economy — and that is called socialism, not capitalism.”