Letter: Sorry seems to be the easiest word for Mr Roach

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The Independent Online
Stephen Roach ("Guru of 'downsizing' admits he got it all wrong", 12 May) is breathtakingly arrogant in assuming that his "theory" was an original contribution to economic thought. In every one of the 20 or so slumps since the late 18th century, workers en masse have been thrown on to the scrap-heap in pursuit of maintaining the rate of profit.

Mr Roach says: "If all you do is cut you will eventually be left with nothing". Another theorist pointed out that new technology and smart business practices might improve the performance of individual firms in the short run, but one man's meat will be poison for the system as a whole, since value (wealth) is only created by human labour power. Of course, as every schoolchild has been told, Karl Marx's ideas are as dead as his body. Trouble is, they just won't lie down.

John Charlton

University of Leeds