Marx was wrong about many things. Most of his writing focuses on a critique of capitalism rather than a proposal of what to replace it with – which left it open to misinterpretation by madmen like Stalin in the 20th century. But his work still shapes our world in a positive way as well. When he argued for a progressive income tax in the Communist Manifesto, no country had one. Now, there is scarcely a country without a progressive income tax, and it’s one small way that the U.S. tries to fight income inequality. Marx’s moral critique of capitalism and his keen insights into its inner workings and historical context are still worth paying attention to. As Robert L. Heilbroner writes, « We turn to Marx, therefore, not because he is infallible, but because he is inescapable. » Today, in a world of both unheard-of wealth and abject poverty, where the richest 85 people have more wealth than the poorest 3 billion, the famous cry, « Workers of the world unite; you have nothing to lose but your chains, » has yet to lose its potency.
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