Monday, January 14, 2008

Andrew Glyn

Andrew Glyn who died last month at the young age of 64 was described in one obituary as a "leading Marxist economist".

Apparently he once told a student that “the three greatest men who ever lived were Lenin, Trotsky and Charlie Parker. Not necessarily in that order.” Well, Socialists worthy of the name would dispute the first two and regard the third as a question of personal taste. He was first sounded out in the Socialist Standard (February 1973) on the publication of British Capitalism, Workers and the Profits Squeeze , which he co-authored with Bob Sutcliffe. His last book, Capitalism Unleashed, was reviewed here.

In the 1973 review the authors' Marxist credentials were seen to be betrayed as they showed " knowledge of the basic cause of inflation". They also were seen to "grossly over exaggerate the effectiveness of trade unions in raising wages." By 2006, Glynn had come to realise that he had erred in thinking that capitalism could be overthrown by such activity. The review concluded by stating that to "..overthrow capitalism a conscious political movement for Socialists must arise (and not just in one country either). Otherwise, and until it does, capitalism will indeed "muddle on for ever".


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