Matt Hoke, president of the International Socialist Organization (ISO) and junior history major, appeared at the Brower Student Center last Wednesday to pose as the deceased German philosopher and socialist Karl Marx.
Donning a phony white beard and wig, Hoke discussed current societal issues and what Marx would have said about them.
Much of the lecture focused on why, according to Hoke, capitalism does not and will not work.
Hoke said that because companies are always competing, they are forced to increase prices, squeeze their workers and decrease wage levels.
“There is no business ethics, at least for the big dogs … they find themselves on a continuous treadmill. The world is always in motion and so is business . businesses must reinvest in themselves and increase their ability to produce or be outdone by the competition,” Hoke said.
According to Hoke, American International Group Incorporated (AIG) was a prime example of corrupt business ethics.
AIG insured credit to individuals who would lend money through loans.
If an individual was insured under AIG and the loan could not be paid back, AIG would reimburse the loan.
However, AIG was insuring more people than it could financially handle. According to Hoke, its desire to get “quick cash” is what drove it to ruin.
“As we see, credit helps and hurts. It simply exaggerates underlying tendencies. Magnifying the bubble, magnifying the crash,” Hoke said.
“AIG might have withstood the crisis better if not for a flaw in corruption and loaning practices that was so widspread,” he added.
Hoke also discussed problems with monopoly. Just like the board game, everyone starts out with the same amount of money.
The game goes on until there are a lot of poor players and only a few rich players.
For these reasons, Hoke declared capitalism is anarchic.
“There are no rules to stop those who have money from tyrannizing those who don’t,” he said.
He compared it to a bowl of snacks at a party that everyone has their eye on.
According to Hoke, people will push and shove to get to the bowl, making it a free-for-all.
He suggested ways to fix the economic crisis, including nationalizing banks, passing the Employee Free Choice Act and supporting labor.
After the lecture, students were given the opportunity to ask questions.
“How are the worker’s council elected?” Dan Mutter, senior philosophy major, asked.
In response, Hoke said the worker’s council representatives are elected by the people based on criteria that the representative would serve the interest of the people. He suggested reading literature about the Russian Revolution for a better understanding.
In his closing statement, Hoke summed up his feelings toward a capitalist society.
“I, Karl Marx, call the government in a capitalist society the executive committee of the ruling class,” he said.