Is the deadliest virus of the 20th century getting set for a comeback?

“I don’t know whether the future of radical politics belongs to a new generation of Marxists, unmoved by (and perhaps unaware of) the crimes and failures of their Communist predecessors,” writes the estimable Tony Judt in the New York Review of Books (adding some of his own thoughts to a review of Polish philosopher Leszek Kolakowski, formerly of the University of Chicago). “I hope not, but I wouldn’t bet against it.”

The problem is that Judt sees little ground between the free-market fantasy and the Marxist fantasy. “No one else seems to have anything very convincing to offer by way of a strategy for rectifying the inequities of modern capitalism.” And that leaves the field open “to those with the tidiest story to tell and the angriest prescription to offer.”

Read the whole thing.

P.S. Well, shiver me timbers: now I learn that the members of the American Fisheries Society are taking time off from studying the life cycle of trout and the management of sea lampreys in the Great Lakes to discuss this very issue. One section of the AFS has proposed an extensive resolution stating that economic growth must end. Money quote: “A steady state economy is ultimately required for the conservation of fish, the ecosystems they depend on, and harvestable fisheries.” Get yer links at Environmental Economics. Actually this doesn’t sound much like Marxism to me, so maybe Judt can report next from the AFS convention–now in progress at Lake Placid, New York!