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Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
34


on 22 February 2014
As someone who had always been interested in Marx but had never actually gotten around to reading his works, this was an excellent introduction to the man and the environments that informed his beliefs. Recommended.
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on 15 September 2014
Good summary but unbalanced judgement
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on 17 July 2014
Useful
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on 28 May 2017
I bought this after finishing Paul Mason's "Post Capitalism" to get a different view. This was written originally back in 1980 and suggests Marx was wrong about some things that now seem right, such as "the theory that under capitalism economic crises will become more and more severe." Singer also suggests that Marx was wrong to say that the "The income gap between capitalists and workers will increase." If there is any clear consequence of neoliberalism it is that this income gap continues to widen however much it may have narrowed prior to the 1980s.
What Singer points out in his assessment is that the attempts at Communism in the 20th Century failed in part because of the "problem" of human nature. As I understand from this book it is an article of faith for a Marxist that when society changes so will human nature. Singer suggets that this is based on the idea that Marx discovered some scientific laws governing the direction of history. Singer argues that there is nothing scientific about Marxism, but rather that it is a philosophical system. Whilst behaviours and attitudes will indead change as economics circumstances change, there is no iron rule that behaviours will alter in a benevolent, altruistic way. If anything the lessons of history suggest otherwise. He ends by saying that "the construction of a free and equal society is a more difficult task than Marx realised."
That may be true, but the current severe and potentially terminal crisis in the capitalist world order makes this task more urgent than ever. Since Marx anticipated this his ideas are as important to consider as ever.
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on 16 June 2015
This is the Peter Singer of "Animal Liberatiion" and "Practical Ethics".

He is much more interesting here talking about marxism. He managed to make Hegel sound plausible (insane, but in a believable way) where before no one got me to believe that Marx was interested in what Hegel said.

Not a happy book for confirmed marxists, but everyone who is interested in politics should read it.
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on 4 July 2015
An excellent introduction to Marx, covering his earlier and later periods which are very different. Good list of further reading to explore topics when they arise at degree level.
I also have the recorded version; for when I walk the dog! This is well recorded and at a steady pace. Not as good as reading but does sink in after a couple of hearings on the move.
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on 14 October 2013
The book is nice, but sometimes it gets a little too deep and you somehow lose the focus.
It does lots of comparison with other Socialist philosophers, so I think you might read a bit about Socialism before going for it.
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on 31 May 2015
A good introduction, explanation and critique of Marx. It would have benefited from a bit more detail.
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on 26 February 2015
Excellent
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on 4 March 2016
A clear summary of Marx's life and the development of his thinking. It provides a good idea of the philosophical ideas of the time.
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