Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Karl Marx's Ideas

"All Marx ideas have been eradicated, haven't they?"

Answer: Yes and No

No, because as long as people talk or write about the ideas, the ideas exist, in other words, not eradicated.

Yes, because they have been discredited, that is proven to be of no value, or even worse dangerous.

Marx's idea, the theory of "surplus value" based on observation of British industry in the late 1800's was that:

A. Two classes of people existed: the workers in the factories and the owners of factories, the capitalists.

B. The two classes had unequal power.

C. The capitalists had the power to set wages. They set the wages at the lowest level possible - just enough to enable the workers to work. Never mind health, safety or any enjoyment.

D. The capitalists sold their products at whatever prices they could get. The difference between what the capitalists received and what they paid out in wages, Marx called “surplus value.”

E. Marx considered this to be an unstable condition. Since the workers outnumbered the capitalists, they would rise in revolution, seize the means of production, hang the capitalists and and establish a "dictatorship of the proletariat."

F. Since this new form of government would be controlled by the working class and all the capitalists would be dead and gone, the "surplus value" would be distributed to the only class that was left, the working class. A new world would be created, a "classless" society. Prosperity, peace and happiness forever. Communism, as the new system was called would improve the fate of the common man.

As a practical idea this was utterly without merit because if you promote workers into control of the dictatorship of the proletariat, they act the same as the previous bosses: they grab the “surplus value” and distribute it to themselves, their friends, their relatives and worst of all, to their all powerful police. The workers continue to get what they got before, subsistence wages. Not only that, but they lose whatever political freedom they may have had. In the capitalist states, in late 19th century Europe, in Britain, France and Germany there were small stirrings of democracy. Some progress in political freedom was occurring.

As a propaganda tool Communism was of enormous value. As long as workers suffered at subsistence wages, the prospect of seizing power from the owners was intoxicating.

Communism, as practiced in Europe: Russia, East Germany, Romania, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Albania, Bulgaria, has been proven to be a disaster. Poverty, concentration camps, executions have been imposed on workers and all who dared to challenge the authority of the totalitarian bosses.

The ideas of Karl Marx are totally discredited. They have been consigned to the garbage dumps of history. Gone, but obviously not forgotten as David Brooks shows us.

In China, Mao tse Dung used Communism as a propaganda tool for seizing power. A brief review of Mao’s Communism is presented on page 2 of the first section of yesterday’s NYTimes. It’s not pretty. Present day Chinese Communist bosses have kept the corrupt and police aspects of Communism but have pretty much embraced capitalism for organizing the economic sphere.


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