Creative Destruction at the Academy Awards

Two notable films have dealt with the historic transition of the movie industry from silent films to talkies: Singin' in the Rain (1952) and The Artist, this year's winner of the Oscar┬« for Best Picture, not to mention four other awards including Best Director.  The former has become a beloved classic, one of the first 25 films selected for preservation by the Library of Congress as "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant."  The latter is a small movie, not entirely without charm, but one that would have attracted little attention if not for the gimmick of being a black-and-white silent movie. The subject of these two movies -- the arrival of sound and the destruction of the silent film industry, when many stars of the silent era were put out of work -- is an example of what Karl Marx called in the Communist Manifesto "the enforced destruction of a mass of productive forces."  Marx believed that this destructive element at the heart of capitalism would...(Read Full Article)