An all-consuming greed by William Bowles

26 July 2007

‘The less you eat, drink, buy books, go to the theater, go dancing, go drinking, think, love, theorize, sing, paint, fence, etc., the more you save and the greater will become that treasure which neither moths nor maggots can consume — your capital. The less you are, the less you give expression to your life, the more you have, the greater is your alienated life … So all passions and all activity are submerged in greed — Karl Marx, Notebooks, 1844 (emph. added)

While I writing this I’m listening to the delightful and delectable Bill Evans playing his heart out and I understand totally what the great man is saying, but I am not entirely surprised that some (perhaps many) people don’t understand Marx’s commentary on the destructive power that the accumulation of capital has on the individual. The reason I suspect has to do with how it rules our lives in ways that do not reveal the underlying causes of how the greed of a few powerful men determine the lives of the many, perhaps in part because we think we’d like to be where they are (isn’t this the heart of the fantasy that we’ve been sold)?

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