I have friends who work at fast-food chains. I asked them once what happened to food produced in excess that was not bought at the end of the day. I was shocked when I was told that, first, it would never be given employees for free, and second, management considered it preferable to dump it rather than to give it away.
This is capitalism’s evil face, because there is no other way to explain such wastefulness—and heartlessness —than fidelity to the laws of capitalism. Some time ago, I really screamed in my heart when one Scandinavian country succumbed to the prodding of dairy farmers and dumped tons of cow’s milk into the sea rather than cause a depreciation in its market price by an oversupply.
It is a fact that Marxism has been tried and has really failed—else, the Soviet Union would still be completely read, and Eastern Europe would still be swearing by Das Kapital, which it is not! And there may have been congenital infirmities with Marx’s account of history. But the struggles Marx and Engels ignited have not yet been completely smothered because there is very much about capitalism that confirms much of Marxist theory: government as superstructure safeguarding the interests of the class in power, capitalists conceding only as much as is necessary to supply them with the labor power needed to get their machines running and their farms, producing.
But there was one thing that a deterministic theory like Marx’s did not get quite right: The ability of even the most rigid form of capitalism to correct itself. But when we have capitalists practices like the wastefulness and heartlessness of fast-food chains dumping their excess rather than feeding the poor and giving away their products for free, then it is helpful—and respectful—to render Marx one profound bow, in respect and acknowledgment. He did not get it all wrong!