Updating Marxism Today’s List for ‘Creative Times’

April 10, 2014 by
Filed under: Adam Lent 

In case you were too busy enjoying yourself in the late 1980s or weren’t actually born, Marxism Today was a magazine that argued socialism was dead and that the world was changing beyond all recognition because of the collapse of traditional class identities and the rise of individualism and the like. They called this new era New Times and claimed it had replaced the Modern Times that had existed for the most of the 20th Century.

Their views annoyed an enormous number of people, particularly on the left, but they turned out to be more right than wrong and ultimately exerted an influence on the big shifts in the Labour Party that happened in the 1990s.

Today, my esteemed colleague, Luke Robinson  (Head of Media here at the RSA), dug out a list that Marxism Today put together for their influential edition of 1988 comparing New Times with Modern Times.

I couldn’t resist adding our own list to theirs based on the RSA’s Power to Create approach which argues that we are entering a new period just as revolutionary as New Times based on mass creativity, new empowering technologies and a challenge to existing power structures.  A fair bit of what Marxism Today did was tongue in cheek (playful postmodernism, see) so I wouldn’t take this too seriously (and sorry it’s all a bit wobbly – WordPress hates lists it seems)

Modern Times                           New Times                                      Creative Times

Fordism                                      Post Fordism                                   Self-generated Value

Modern                                       Postmodern                                      Digimodern

Steinbeck                                   Pynchon                                            William Gibson

Le Corbusier                            Venturi                                                Zaha Hadid

Sartre                                         Foucault                                              Pikkety

Futurism                                    Nostalgia                                            Optimism

Marlon Brando                        William Hurt                                         Jesse Eisenberg

Production                               Consumption                                      Prosumption

Mass Market                             Market Segmentation                       Bespoke Markets

Ford                                            Toyota                                                 OSVehicle

Self-Control                              Remote Control                                Out of Control

Depth                                         Surface                                                Interaction

Belief                                         Credit                                                    Likes

Elvis                                          Michael Jackson                                 Lady Gaga

Interpretation                          Deconstruction                                    Creation

Butlins                                      Theme Parks                                        Makespaces

Relationships                         White Weddings                                  E-Harmony

The Beatles                              Bros                                                       The Vamps

Determinism                            The Arbitrary                                       The Mission

Maxwell House                        Acid House                                           The RSA House

Concrete                                    Holographic Glass                              Polylactic Acid

Liberalism                                 Libertarianism                                    Peer Progressivism

Mass Hysteria                           Fatal Attraction                                   Social Network

Raspberry Ripple                    Hedgehog Crisps                                 Granola

Lady Chatterley                        Blue Velvet                                             Fifty Shades of Grey

World Wars                                Terrorism                                              Cyber-war

Roosevelt                                   Reagan                                                   Birgitte Nyborg

In/Out Lists                                 New Times Guides                              Buzzfeed

Newspapers                              Colour Supplements                           Blogs

Z Cars                                          Miami Vice                                            The Wire

Conservatism                            Thatcherism                                         Red Tory

Dow Jones                                  Nikkei Index                                         AIM

Stalinism                                     Glasnost                                                Chinese Capitalism

Free Love                                    The Free Market                                   Freelancing

The Cabinet                                The Prime Minister                             The Disengaged

 

Comments

  • Matt Jordan

    Great idea!! And very interesting list to ponder – I can see a few tweaks I’d make, including to the Post-Fordism list (might Madonna not be a more illuminating juxtaposition with Lady Gaga? – tho it’s hard to argue with Michael Jackson as a choice); but I’ll mull it over a bit before I venture further…

    • Adam Lent

      Thanks Matt. You’re right but I guess Madonna wasn’t quite yet the huge star she is now when Marxism Today had to pick their emblematic pop star. But I do think Lady Gaga is a great choice for Creative Times: being such an explosion of endless eccentricity is clearly a big part of her appeal.

  • Jonathan Schifferes

    I thought your choice of Zaha Hadid fell into the modernist/postmodernist trap of putting the individual/creator at the centre of the building process.

    99% of buildings on earth are built in a vernacular style, lacking authorship…many are built by inhabitants themselves (by the 99%!).

    So I’d nominate http://www.wikihouse.cc/ as the expression of architecture for creative times, drawing on new tech and collaborative commons wisdom!

    Loved the list-style blog though – and agreed with much else (though if we’re really honest is Russell Brand more influential and indicative of political culture than Pikkety?)