Marx propitious choice of the United Kingdom helped in the creation of his work. Unlike the United States, the UK has a de jure class system, and it gave birth to the Industrial Revolution. (The situation was very similar in Germany.) Marx always believed the revolution would come to industrialized nations, not feudal regimes like the Russian Empire, China, or Cambodia. Alas, history lacks the systematic, progressive, forward-moving drive that would lead to the New Jerusalem of the classless society. In the nineteenth century, with industrialization, mass production, and innovation giving consumers new products it seemed only natural to believe that once the proletariat seized the means of production everything would be fine.
For anyone who seeks to understand the underlying factors of the Great Recession, Capital explains the history and operations of the capitalist society. Before tackling Capital, especially if one has never read Karl Marx, the shorter works would be a good starting place. The Communist Manifesto is short and explains the communist political program. The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon and the Civil War in France showcase Marx’s polemical writing style, dissecting France’s descent into authoritarian dictatorship and the corrupt monarchy of Emperor Napoleon III. With American political discourse descending into self-parody, it is highly recommended readers concerned about the global economic situation read both Capital and Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations. An understanding of current events involves going back to these classic economic texts and drawing personal conclusions not influenced by the apologetics and empty rhetoric parroted by the Left and Right.
Marx asserted capitalism planted the seeds of its own destruction. The situation in Greece and the economic terrorism of Goldman Sachs may prove Marx’s hypothesis correct. The systemic failure created by the idolatry of financial deregulation as the highest good and the seduction of easy credit have pushed the capitalist system over the edge of viable flexibility and into the abyss.