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Politics: ‘Foretelling the End of Capitalism’ Review


Mr. Boldizzoni was of course under no obligation to write the book I was hoping he had written, and he has not done so. He accepts his prognosticators’ premise that capitalism is basically a malign system that exacerbates inequality and “turns culture into business and . . . enslaves minds to its logic.”

Moreover his explanations for the failure of predictions by Karl Marx, John Stuart Mill, Max Weber and John Maynard Keynes, among others, strike this reviewer as hopelessly abstruse and heavily reliant on the economic theories that lured these intellectuals into making foolish predictions in the first place.

The abrasiveness of the book’s title, together with the author’s highly self-assured tone, led me to expect a bit more in the way of demolition. Mr. Boldizzoni treats his subjects and their “misadventures” with ample deference.

He gently concedes, for example, that Marx’s labor theory of value—the theory that a product or service’s value is determined by the labor required to produce it —was wrong.

That’s a pretty important thing to be wrong about for a man whose economic theories dominated half the globe for a century, is it not? Mr. Boldizzoni brushes the problem aside, since it “does not […]

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