Daily Archives: November 13, 2008

Vladimir Chizhov, Russia’s ambassador to the European Union, was having some fun this week at the expense of western countries as he mused about the impact of the financial crisis on world capitalism. “I’ve noticed an upsurge of interest in theoretical works by certain authors of the past, such as Karl Marx,” he said. “A German publishing house has just reprinted 2m copies of ‘Das Kapital’.”

Whether or not ’Das Kapital’ has anything useful to say about today’s turmoil, there is no doubt that the crisis is producing a shift in the European intellectual climate against classical free market liberalism and in favour of state interventionism and economic nationalism. The political and cultural soil for this shift was already rather fertile in France, Germany and Italy, though less so in young democracies such as the Czech Republic and Poland.