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Karl Marx on Modern Retirement and as Early Julian Simon

Summary:
As I mentioned yesterday, I’m enjoying David Warsh’s Knowledge and the Wealth of Nations immensely. I’ll be posting highlights over the next few days. Discussing Karl Marx’s ideas about socialism, Warsh writes: It was at this point in the argument that the arm-waving began in earnest. What would life be like after the revolution? Afterwards, Marx said in one famous aside, the division of labor would all but disappear, and a man might fish in the morning, hunt in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, “philosophize after dinner,” just as he desires, “without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, shepherd, or critic.” If that sounds like a description of middle-class retirement living in the industrial democracies today, surely it is an accident. I love Warsh’s

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Karl Marx on Modern Retirement and as Early Julian Simon

As I mentioned yesterday, I’m enjoying David Warsh’s Knowledge and the Wealth of Nations immensely. I’ll be posting highlights over the next few days.

Discussing Karl Marx’s ideas about socialism, Warsh writes:

It was at this point in the argument that the arm-waving began in earnest. What would life be like after the revolution? Afterwards, Marx said in one famous aside, the division of labor would all but disappear, and a man might fish in the morning, hunt in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, “philosophize after dinner,” just as he desires, “without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, shepherd, or critic.” If that sounds like a description of middle-class retirement living in the industrial democracies today, surely it is an accident.

I love Warsh’s humor.

And later on the same page, Warsh writes:

His [Marx’s] fundamental disagreements with the English economists became more and more obscure. Ricardo had believed that growth would cease because of the scarcity of natural resources. Marx believed it would continue because of the growth of knowledge.

Thus my reference to Marx being an early Julian Simon.

David Henderson
David Henderson is a British economist. He was the Head of the Economics and Statistics Department at the OECD in 1984–1992. Before that he worked as an academic economist in Britain, first at Oxford (Fellow of Lincoln College) and later at University College London (Professor of Economics, 1975–1983); as a British civil servant (first as an Economic Advisor in HM Treasury, and later as Chief Economist in the Ministry of Aviation); and as a staff member of the World Bank (1969–1975). In 1985 he gave the BBC Reith Lectures, which were published in the book Innocence and Design: The Influence of Economic Ideas on Policy (Blackwell, 1986).

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