Not the death of capitalism, but the birth of a new order

As the dust of the credit crash clears and the real world recession kicks in, the ideologues of capitalism are scaring themselves with spectres. "He's back," the Times warned its readers on Tuesday over a portrait of Karl Marx. Not only are sales of his masterwork Das Kapital booming, but the virus of the newly fashionable revolutionary has, it seems, spread to the heart of the capitalist camp: the French president Nicolas Sarkozy has had himself photographed leafing through its pages while Marx's analysis of capitalism has been hailed by everyone from the German finance minister to the Pope.

In the US, John McCain has been lashing out at Barack Obama for his supposed "socialism", the High Tory writer Simon Heffer excitedly dubbed the state bail-out of the banks "neo-sovietisation", and the BBC broadcast a prime-time debate last week on whether the crisis signalled the "death of capitalism". Meanwhile the Economist, the Pravda of the neoliberal ascendancy, has been trying to mobilise true believers for a fightback: "Economic liberty is under attack", its current issue thunders. "Capitalism is at bay, but those who believe in it must fight for it."

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