A Note on Cultural Exploitation


  • Harvey Swados




Media, Labor


Those of us who persist in clinging to certain archaic notions about the human degradation attendant upon capitalism, and who in consequence cannot shake off the suspicion that this might be a better world with the arrival of something we call socialism, are often taxed with the lack of foresight of Karl Marx. Not only is Marx held posthumously accountable for all the crimes committed in his name or in the name of socialism—from the Stalinist slave-labor camps to the Socialist management of imperialist pacification in Algeria—but he is also charged with having failed to foresee that capitalism would be able to provide not less and less, but more and more and more of the good things of life for its proletariat. It is true that in recent months these sardonic cries have become somewhat muted, as the unemployed are once again arrested for stealing food and display other signs of reluctance to proceed quietly from overemployment to home relief; but still the claim is made that the working class under capitalism (especially in Magic America), far from being increasingly exploited and degraded, is living at least as well as anyone else in the world, if not better.