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Economic Despair Breeds Resurgence in Marxism

Economic Despair Breeds Resurgence in Marxism

May 3, 2024

Economic Despair Breeds Resurgence in Marxism

Marxist ideology has gained traction in recent years, particularly among younger generations who feel that the current economic system has failed them. This resurgence is not rooted in a simple fascination with communism or socialism but is driven by the perceived apathy of society's leaders toward the struggles of working families. As the stock market soars and the rich grow richer, a widening gap emerges, leaving many to struggle, which in turn fuels Marxist sympathies.

The Concept of Late Stage Capitalism

Late stage capitalism is a term that originated in the early 1900s and has gained popularity in modern discourse, especially since the 2008 financial crisis. Annie Lowry, in a 2017 article for The Atlantic, described it as a catch-all phrase highlighting the absurdities of the contemporary economy, marked by extreme inequality and super-powered corporations. This concept suggests that capitalism is in its final, decaying stage, where the system's inherent contradictions become unsustainable.

The Atlantic

The Silent Depression and Post-2008 Economic Conditions

Post-2008, the global economy has experienced what some refer to as a "silent depression," characterized by a lack of robust recovery and pervasive economic stagnation. Despite declarations of a booming economy, many metrics indicate that prosperity is not widespread, and a significant portion of the population is left behind. This discrepancy between official narratives and lived experiences lends perceived credibility to Marxist critiques.

Economic Data and Inequality

Economic indicators from the United States reveal a troubling picture. Following the 2008 financial crisis, the US GDP fell significantly behind its pre-crisis trend, creating a cumulative output gap that has only widened with time. By the first quarter of 2024, real GDP was reportedly 6.2 trillion dollars behind the pre-2008 trend. Such a shortfall has direct consequences on employment, income levels, and overall quality of life.

Marxist Interpretation

From a Marxist perspective, the current state of affairs is seen as evidence of capitalism's inevitable collapse. The growing inequality and stagnation validate the Marxist belief that the system is rigged to benefit the few at the expense of the many, eventually leading to a proletariat revolution. As the economy fails to deliver on its promises, Marxist ideas appear increasingly relevant to those disillusioned with the status quo.

Historical Precedents

The popularity of communism in the United States during the 1930s, as exemplified by the overflowing crowd at Madison Square Garden to hear Communist Party Chairman Earl Browder, is a historical example of how economic hardship can fuel radical ideologies. However, history also shows that the decline of such movements can coincide with economic recovery and the successful functioning of capitalism.

New York Times


The resurgence of Marxist thought is not a problem of ideology alone but a reflection of broader economic issues. To address this challenge, society must first acknowledge the underlying economic malaise and stagnation. By understanding the root causes of growing Marxist sympathies, it becomes possible to formulate solutions that address the genuine concerns of those who feel left behind by the current system.


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