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What do you think of Marxism?

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    What exactly in Marx's analysis of capitalism is not relevant today? We still have wage labour, commodity production, markets, a credit system etc. What has changed that has made his analysis of these invalid?

    What do you mean by "Marx's communism"? What did Marx write about how communism would work? You keep going on about countries "taking up Marxism", what do you mean by this? What ideas of Marx did they take up? Can you quote them?

    You haven't answered my question - what worked in Marx's analysis back then that doesn't now? Labour theory of value? Dual nature of the commodity? What?
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    (Original post by Brandmon)
    Prove me otherwise that Marx's writing were anything other than contemporary. His Communist was inherently a direct answer and rival to Capitalism.
    Also when it came to predictions, Marx was proven wrong time and time again. His main prediction that Capitalism will inevitably fall is yet to come true 200 years on. Indeed this capitalism has far outlived those societies that tried to replicate what Marx attempted to advocate. Furthermore inequality increases not because of but in spite of capitalism. The causes for inequality are not related to Capitalism directly but is attributed to other causes. The following graph illustrates this:

    It is very clear that inequality is increasing in the US, yet consider the past a bit. Considering that the US was never communist, how did inequality ever decrease? Doesn't this contradict Marx's prediction that Capitalism would lead to ever increasing inequality? As far as I am concerned such a prediction can only be maintained by certain exceptions, yet as far as I am concerned the exception disproves the rule. And who says that a nation seeking to be communist doesn't suffer from inequality? Look at the USSR - the inequality only got worse towards its demise and at no point did it adopt any aspects of Capitalism. Sure, most of the country was equally level - but what about that 1% in power - either in the Politburo or the KGB? Talking about 1%, notice any parallels with what are we facing today?

    And in any case, simple predictions (as right they my be, in which case they clearly aren't here) don't remotely justify the workings of any system. It will rain tomorrow. Does that justify that my methods are superior to those forecasters if I happen to be right? Should I demand a revolution to overthrow them and instead enforce my clearly superior methods? No. Predictions are useless, especially the ones involving the word eventually.
    The emboldened part doesn't make sense.

    Ok, let's begin; Marx never predicted that capitalism will fall - that's a misconception. Marx stated that capitalist governments would disenfranchise the masses, resulting in a mini-revolution in an attempt to introduce a "better" capitalist government, Marx predicted that this supposedly "improved" government would still prove to be unsatisfactory, and would result in another mini-revolution, and Marx predicted that this cycle would continue until a socialist government was implemented.

    Perhaps we should clarify things here: Marx NEVER made any explicit predictions about society, therefore it's slightly inappropriate of you to say "It's been 200 years and we're fine", seeing as all Marx was doing was highlighting the inherent problems with capitalism, and then posing an alternative system which could potentially avoid such problems - most prominently, class struggle. The important thing to draw is, Marx didn't make any predictions about capitalism - that would be a far too simplistic view.

    As for the causes of social inequality, if you're saying that capitalism has nothing to do with social inequality, would you care to propose alternative causes? In a settled, functioning, capitalist society, the rich stay rich and the poor stay poor - and Marx attributed some of this to the fact that the rich, from birth, begin life in a favourable position - this wouldn't be the case in a socialist society.

    Your point about capitalist societies outliving "socialist" or "communist" societies is invalid, seeing as no regime has ever implemented Marxist principles without the addition of their own improvisations - the fact that different regimes have strayed from Marxist principles, e.g. Stalin's socialism in one country, means that we have no conclusive evidence as to whether or not a socialist society - as Marx envisioned it - could survive. Marx said that socialism would arise from the people, and for that to happen, the people must first become disillusioned with capitalism, yes? Then for that to happen, we must wait to see what becomes of the increasing social inequality.

    Marx never predicted that capitalism would lead to "ever increasing inequality" - you've just made that up. As for your graph, the decrease is really not very substantial at all, if you excluded the anomalous peak and drew a line of best fit, you'd see that.

    It's funny you chose that graph, seeing as it illustrates one of Marx's points very, very, very clearly. See that peak in the 1920s? Do you know about the economic boom in America in the 1920s? That was when America became the world's richest country - as a direct result of capitalism w/ free market principles etc. The fact that social inequality peaked as America's economy "peaked", so to speak, is a demonstration of Marx's point in practice.

    As for why social inequality was decreasing, there are myriad factors, probably to do with post-WW2 effects (Marx didn't foresee 2 World Wars, so you can't condemn his works by using statistical evidence drawn from years during which the effects of the war were still being felt across the world), lack of globalisation, maybe even racial segregation, who knows? Neither you nor I know anywhere near enough about American society circa 1950 to provide a definitive answer as to why social inequality was decreasing, but I'm pretty sure we can both agree that America was not as "fully formed" as the capitalist powerhouse that it is today.

    Look up the GINI coefficient for America in the last 40 years; there is a consistent increase, and to say that this has nothing to do with capitalism is just fallacious.

    The USSR with it's fascist ideas and bureaucracy is NOT a representation of Marxist values, and therefore you can't use it to demonstrate flaws in whatever Marx said; there was too much improvisation.

    As for your last paragraph, that's unbelievably ignorant of you to say that one of the founding fathers of social science merely made "simple predictions". Marx analysed capitalism - and to this day, this analysis is still valid. Is it 100% correct? No. Should we use Marx's writings as some sort of doctrine? No. But does it still offer valid, relevant readings of modern capitalist society? A resounding yes would be the answer there.

    If you believe Marx is wrong, I'd like you to pinpoint something that Marx explicitly said that is flawed, then we can discuss that, but for you to use a graph, half of which has been distorted by a number of factors & half of which offers direct evidence in support of Marx, of income distribution in the US in an attempt to discredit Marx's lifetime of works is misguided.
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    (Original post by Newbie123)
    Is that a question or are you trying to make me see something?

    You could ask a mod to move it to a more appropriate section if you wanted to, although I don't recall finding a more suitable section of the forum(?)

    Does the presence of this thread in this section bother you?
    I just don't see what Marxism itself has to do with history when evaluating Marxism.

    Erm, the philosophy subforum?

    And it bothers me more than it should.
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    (Original post by beepbeeprichie)
    I just don't see what Marxism itself has to do with history when evaluating Marxism.

    Erm, the philosophy subforum?

    And it bothers me more than it should.
    I thought I said this already; because the evaluation of Marxism would obviously involve the discussion of history?

    I don't know, maybe I just don't like the people in the Philosophy section?

    I have no idea why you would care to the extent that you'd want to continue this interaction between us. Is the location of this thread of any personal concern to you? After all, you could very easily avoid this thread if you disliked it... Or if it really has affected you, you could request for it to be moved?

    Are you going to gain anything by questioning me further/questioning me at all? I would've thought the answer would be quite an obvious "no", but clearly you thought there was something to be achieved by asking me why this thread was created here... 2 days ago...
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    (Original post by aneziri20)
    Every economic/political theory is correct in what it tries to achieve, free market economics aims to create social divisions and a wealthy upper class. Marxism and Keynesian economics don't try to achieve an equal society they try to achieve a society where everyone has equal opportunity. Marxism is not communism, all communist nations that have ever existed have been centrally planned totalitarian regimes in which class movement was even harder than it is in present day America.
    Keynesianism and Marxism by no means have the same goals. Marxism aims for total equality of outcome not opportunity, Keynesians see the need for wealth redistribution to benefit positive liberty, a form of democratic socialism or welfare liberalism.
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    (Original post by Newbie123)
    I thought I said this already; because the evaluation of Marxism would obviously involve the discussion of history?

    I don't know, maybe I just don't like the people in the Philosophy section?

    I have no idea why you would care to the extent that you'd want to continue this interaction between us. Is the location of this thread of any personal concern to you? After all, you could very easily avoid this thread if you disliked it... Or if it really has affected you, you could request for it to be moved?

    Are you going to gain anything by questioning me further/questioning me at all? I would've thought the answer would be quite an obvious "no", but clearly you thought there was something to be achieved by asking me why this thread was created here... 2 days ago...
    Ridiculous argument. Should the history forum also get discussions on just war because we can discuss it using examples from ww2 e.g. dropping the atomic bomb in Japan? Or discussing Newtonian laws of physics because they occurred in the past?

    And why do you want to continue this argument then?

    I'm not looking to gain anything I'm just telling you that you put the thread in the wrong subforum. Better luck next time!
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    (Original post by beepbeeprichie)
    Ridiculous argument. Should the history forum also get discussions on just war because we can discuss it using examples from ww2 e.g. dropping the atomic bomb in Japan? Or discussing Newtonian laws of physics because they occurred in the past?

    And why do you want to continue this argument then?

    I'm not looking to gain anything I'm just telling you that you put the thread in the wrong subforum. Better luck next time!
    Hmm? I'm not arguing with you :confused:

    You asked me to explain what possessed me to create this thread in this section, and I replied by saying that I probably thought, 2 days ago, that it had some relevance to history - I didn't say I was correct in doing so, you're probably right, the philosophy forum would've been more appropriate, however what's done is done.

    It's not like I've posted a question on rugby in the religion section, and as such, my thread isn't completely inappropriate in this section.

    The bold part isn't exactly true. You didn't tell me anything, you questioned me and I just gave you an answer. If you think this is an argument, OK.

    But the overriding question, for me at least, is why do you care? Why did you ask me a question if you wanted to just inform me that I'd made a slight error 2 days ago?
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    (Original post by Cheese_Monster)
    Keynesianism and Marxism by no means have the same goals. Marxism aims for total equality of outcome not opportunity, Keynesians see the need for wealth redistribution to benefit positive liberty, a form of democratic socialism or welfare liberalism.
    You really know nothing of Marxism, do you?
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    (Original post by beepbeeprichie)
    I just don't see what Marxism itself has to do with history when evaluating Marxism.
    Actually a fair bit ...
    Ever heard of 'historical materialism' ?

    Marxism itself falls under many different fields like history, philosophy, economics, sociology etc
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    (Original post by Molts)
    Actually a fair bit ...
    Ever heard of 'historical materialism' ?

    Marxism itself falls under many different fields like history, philosophy, economics, sociology etc
    I'm well aware of what historical materialism is, thank you. The point is that Marxism (and historical materialism) are philosophical theories about the world and what makes things happen. That it's got the word historical in it says very little.
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    (Original post by beepbeeprichie)
    That it's got the word historical in it says very little.
    I thought you would say that.

    (Original post by beepbeeprichie)
    I'm well aware of what historical materialism is, thank you. The point is that Marxism (and historical materialism) are philosophical theories about the world and what makes things happen.
    It analyses history and makes projections about the future development of the world. I.E the evolution of the material conditions around us that creates the society that we live in.

    Although, I have to admit I was being pedantic to try to stir up some activity on this thread.
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    (Original post by DontJudge)
    I don't believe everyone has equal chances. We are mere components on a chessboard, some are placed at the front, a more advantageous position to get to the otherside of glory. And the others still stuck at the back, which represents the lower class.
    Would just like to point out that the pieces at the front are much weaker and more likely to be dispensable than the more power and influential major pieces behind.
    Actually in a ratio of power: proportion of population it represents the socio-economic pyramid of most capitalist societies;

    ----------------------Queen
    ------------------Rook-------Rook
    -------Knight----Bishop------Bishop----Knight
    --Pawn-Pawn-Pawn-Pawn-Pawn-Pawn-Pawn-Pawn
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    (Original post by Arianto)
    Would just like to point out that the pieces at the front are much weaker and more likely to be dispensable than the more power and influential major pieces behind.
    Actually in order of power it represents the socio-economic pyramid of most capitalist societies;

    ----------------------Queen
    ------------------Rook-------Rook
    -------Knight----Bishop------Bishop----Knight
    --Pawn-Pawn-Pawn-Pawn-Pawn-Pawn-Pawn-Pawn
    Two people have already mentioned this to me.
    I'm talking about marxism, a macro-theory.
    What you're doing is making it interactionalist-like (micro-theory).
    Because you'relooking at what the individuals actually are.

    Checkmate :cool:
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    (Original post by Brandmon)
    Capital was, from having read it casually some time ago, clearly an argument towards Communist and Socialist ideals Marx was pursuing. It was indeed intended a critique of contemporary capitalism but the intended end result was clear enough and it was clearly an indirect justification of Why Communism Works
    No it isn't. He doesn't discuss communism or socialism once in Capital.

    That said one has to highlight the contemporary in contemporary capitalism. It was a brilliant critique against the Capitalism of that time. But since then society in general has changed dramatically; economically it has adopted certain socialist aspects such as public services (Such as universal Health care and Free education) and society significantly shifted towards the acceptance of personal liberties rather than that of authority and society became increasingly pluralistic. By today the work holds little value as Capitalism has changed significantly, although there are one or two aspects of Capitalism that were still hold strongly today.
    The interesting thing here is that Capital is actually referred to as a critique of 'political economy', because all the political economists of the time, like Mill, Ricardo, Say, etc, based their theories on what would be considered 'free market economies' that had never come close to existing and didn't reflect any actual economy. Marx was quick to point this out in his other works, but Capital, particularly Vol. I, was an effort to prove them wrong even on these abstract models.


    Problem is that nowadays when people say 'Marxism' nowadays generally they're either;
    i)right-wing nuts who haven't got a clue what Marxism is and are just using it to refer to anything they dislike.
    ii)referring to 'Orthodox Marxism' - i.e. Leninism, Trotskyism, etc.

    That's generally because the 'Orthodox' or 'Vanguardist' (as they're sometimes known) groups simply refer to themselves as 'Marxist'. This leaves the 'Autonomist' (Luxemburgists, Council Communists, Situationists, etc) groups always trying to make the distinction between them clear because they're anti-Leninists.

    Murray Bookchin, one of the most important anarchist philosophers, became an anarchist not because he thought Marx was wrong, but because of what 'Marxism' had come to mean. He also had the interesting idea that Marx's ideas too should be subject to the dialectic changes Marx theorised in history.
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    (Original post by Cheese_Monster)
    Keynesianism and Marxism by no means have the same goals.
    In terms of economics (which is the only meaningful comparison of the two), neither of them have 'goals' as such at all. They're types of economic analysis.
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    (Original post by beepbeeprichie)
    You really know nothing of Marxism, do you?
    You really know nothing about how to have a civilised discussion, do you?
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    Marx was a deluded idealist. Communism/socialism is flawed on so many levels. It completely ignores human nature, the fundamental desire to succeed and the laws of evolution which we have observed on all other living things. Communism is a step backwards in our evolution, it makes no economic sense. Class structure is required for a society to function, the working class is the backbone of our economy. Lets suppose that our economic progression didn't matter for a second because we would all be equal and wouldn't care about money (Yeah right). It still takes away a HUGE amount of freedom and liberty. We would serve the state instead of the state serving us. No freedom to prosper or do anything out of the ordinary. We would all live dull predictable lives. Oh and on top of that did I mention that statically the working classes tend to prefer capitalism?

    Socialism is a wolf dressed in sheep clothing. It seems to be all lovely and nice promoting equality but really it will just bring EVERYONE in our society down below the living standards of an average working class individual. Socialism is advocated by hipsters who think they can save the planet but don't have a clue what they're talking about.

    Having said all of this I do agree to a few socialist standards in an attempt to give everyone equal opportunity. Everyone should have equal chances at success when they are born such as free education and free healthcare but if people fall by the wayside beyond that then that's just survival of the fittest
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    (Original post by Mishmashmoo)
    Marx was a deluded idealist. Communism/socialism is flawed on so many levels. It completely ignores human nature, the fundamental desire to succeed and the laws of evolution which we have observed on all other living things.
    How does this apparent desire to succeed conflict with communism or what ever vague idea you have of it ?


    (Original post by Mishmashmoo)
    Communism is a step backwards in our evolution, it makes no economic sense. Class structure is required for a society to function, the working class is the backbone of our economy.
    If the working class is truly the backbone of the economy as they are the majority shouldn't they have the most say in what goes on in the economy ?


    (Original post by Mishmashmoo)
    It still takes away a HUGE amount of freedom and liberty. We would serve the state instead of the state serving us.
    Actually it would give most of the population the economic and political freedom that 'upper class' or bourgeoisie (however you want to put it) enjoy today.
    Who do most people serve today ? Not ourselves, that is for certain. Our asses are either owned by the government or the banks or both.

    (Original post by Mishmashmoo)
    No freedom to prosper or do anything out of the ordinary.
    Do the people working in sweatshops on 14 hour shifts have the freedom to prosper and do do anything out of the ordinary in this society ?

    (Original post by Mishmashmoo)
    We would all live dull predictable lives.
    How so ?

    (Original post by Mishmashmoo)
    Oh and on top of that did I mention that statically the working classes tend to prefer capitalism?
    What is the source of this? Or did it originate from your ass?

    (Original post by Mishmashmoo)
    Socialism is a wolf dressed in sheep clothing. It seems to be all lovely and nice promoting equality but really it will just bring EVERYONE in our society down below the living standards of an average working class individual.
    True some people's living standard will be brought down like the people who own 5 cars, houses around the world and private jets. At least the majority of the population would enjoy an increase in their living standards.

    (Original post by Mishmashmoo)
    Socialism is advocated by hipsters who think they can save the planet but don't have a clue what they're talking about.
    It seems that those who criticize seem to suffer from the same thing.



    EDIT:

    I also for got to point out at :

    (Original post by Mishmashmoo)
    We would serve the state instead of the state serving us.
    It seems to be one of the biggest misconception that bandwagon critics like to push through.
    The very definition of communism entails a stateless society. Therefore no state,government etc would exist as we know it.
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    (Original post by Molts)
    How does this apparent desire to succeed conflict with communism or what ever vague idea you have of it ?

    Marxist ideals can definitely be attributed to communism/socialism. Don't try to argue otherwise.


    If the working class is truly the backbone of the economy as they are the majority shouldn't they have the most say in what goes on in the economy?

    no because the working class is less educated and are doing less skilled jobs. The only way to rectify this would be to take money from the more successful people in our economy (who are contributing more tax to the government) and give it to the working classes. WHICH IS TAKING AWAY OUR RIGHT OF OWNERSHIP. That is definitely a violation of my freedom and my rights


    Actually it would give most of the population the economic and political freedom that 'upper class' or bourgeoisie (however you want to put it) enjoy today.
    Who do most people serve today ? Not ourselves, that is for certain. Our asses are either owned by the government or the banks or both.

    No it would not, think carefully. Why would anyone aspire to be a doctor or go to university if the pay is the same? Why slave all those hours with no reward? of course there is personal satisfaction but that isn't enough motivation for the majority. we would enjoy NO ECONOMIC FREEDOM because we would lose our right for private enterprise. What if my only goal in life was to start my own business and see it prosper and reward my employees? Do I have the freedom to do that? No. They aren't owned by anyone currently, we have the freedom to rise to the top 1% of earners if we have the will and if we wish it to be so.


    Do the people working in sweatshops on 14 hour shifts have the freedom to prosper and do do anything out of the ordinary in this society ?

    No, this is why I advocate some less extremist socialist policies that create equal opportunity for all but after that equal opportunity has been accessed and the same individuals end up in that situation I have no obligation to give up my salary for those individuals. I would also say that although they are being exploited it is likely that they would starve to death without those 14 hour shifts.


    What is the source of this? Or did it originate from your ass?

    I was told by a politics teacher that there is a study with these results. I admit that this source may not be reliable but the fact still remains that I know many working class people who prefer capitalism because they are happy with the prospect of opportunity. CAPITALISM CREATES JOBS. Private enterprise + Industry = Jobs for everyone and less poverty. It empowers the individual.

    True some people's living standard will be brought down like the people who own 5 cars, houses around the world and private jets. At least the majority of the population would enjoy an increase in their living standards.

    It's a violation of their freedom and liberty to rob these people of their earnings. They have the freedom to do as they please because they have acquired this money through the same means that is achievable to anyone else. It is survival of the fittest. I would rather live in hope of reaching ultimate success than being crushed and robbed to the government and brought down to the same level as everyone else no matter what I did and I'm sure many others feel the same.



    It seems that those who criticize seem to suffer from the same thing.
    It seems that you don't understand horrific result of your proposed society.

    Edit : A stateless society is idealistic crap, It is not plausible. Human nature has shown time and time again that people will always seek power
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    (Original post by Mishmashmoo)
    It seems that you don't understand horrific result of your proposed society.
    Please tell me, what would that society be ?

    (Original post by Mishmashmoo)
    Edit : A stateless society is idealistic crap, It is not plausible. Human nature has shown time and time again that people will always seek power
    Yet there will always be people and groups of people that would try to oppose this, for whatever reason. Welcome to the world of dialectics.

    You assert that human nature is a fact, it is not.
    Your concept of 'human nature' shifts significatly throughout history, showing it is not an intrinsic part of being human but rather showing that we adapt according to our conditions around us.

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