Marxism is a European language, not an economics, which is why it survives mainly among literary men such as Eagleton, who is over-fond of low-pH literary constructions and serial-comma indictments, like this one:
Modern capitalist nations are the fruit of a history of slavery, genocide, violence, and exploitation every bit as abhorrent as Mao’s China or Stalin’s Soviet Union. Capitalism, too, was forged in blood and tears; it is just that it has survived long enough to forget about much of this horror, which is not the case with Stalinism and Maoism.
As a piece of rhetoric, this is workmanlike, largely because the Americans and Britons to whom it is directed are instantly filled with liberal guilt when confronted with such accusations. But Eagleton has it backwards. Such horrors that precede and attend capitalism derive not from the evils of the regime but from the sort of conduct to which humanity sinks all too often. The ideological commitment to individual liberties, constitutionally limited government, property rights, freedom of enterprise and trade, and the like has proved to be the greatest restraint on human evildoing the world has yet seen.
Consider the items on Eagleton’s list of grievances. “Slavery” is lexically incompatible with what we call capitalism, by which we mean modern Anglo-American liberalism, which was born, in part, in revulsion against slavery. And “genocide” is a term coined by the Polish legal scholar Raphael Lemkin in 1944 to describe the policy of the “socialist” government then headquartered in Berlin. The horrors of capitalism are the horrors of mankind unredeemed. But the horrors of socialism are the lineal descendants of Marx’s ideology. The problem with socialism is not implementation. The problem with socialism is socialism.
I’ve been in conversations with people who say that Communism “was good in theory”. Well, that means it was a lousy theory, which also means that it is a lousy theory glossed over by negligently lazy thinkers.
Intellectuals like Terry Eagleton ought move their deceitful asses to North Korea where they, like their beloved but discredited ideology, will rot in the dustbin of history.