FRIHOST FORUMS SEARCH FAQ TOS BLOGS COMPETITIONS
You are invited to Log in or Register a free Frihost Account!


Economics of Karl Marx





yagnyavalkya
For those of you who have read the book Das Capital By K Marx I guess you know that it is only a thesis on the economic status relevant to the time at which it was written
Do you agree that Marx was right for his time and extending that Question I would like to ask if you agree if the theory of communism advocated by Marx is relevant at present time and if so are there geographical demarcation where the relevance stops to hold good
akshar
karl marx's philosophy was very relevant at his time may be but todya we just cant go by his book
bogger
while he was right in some aspects, his views on certain parts were unrealistic because of it's reliance upon the utopian society. He based his opinions on the assumption that everyone would work towards the common goal instead of looking for personal benefit. That isn't true, look at stalin
Philou
I'm all for communism, right here and right now. I don't believe human beings to be naturally bad. To quote Marx himself : Men's [and women's] ideas are the most direct emanations of their material state. I think it would be possible to have a system based on justice and solidarity, even if it would take a while to get there.
sunpascal
bogger wrote:
while he was right in some aspects, his views on certain parts were unrealistic because of it's reliance upon the utopian society. He based his opinions on the assumption that everyone would work towards the common goal instead of looking for personal benefit.


I agree. Marx had a very positive view of the individual. In reality, no one is as honest and unselfish as he thought.
sunpascal
Philou wrote:
I'm all for communism, right here and right now. I don't believe human beings to be naturally bad. To quote Marx himself : Men's [and women's] ideas are the most direct emanations of their material state. I think it would be possible to have a system based on justice and solidarity, even if it would take a while to get there.


Communism can never work for two main reasons:

1. Lack of Motivation & Economic Failure
Todays capitalistic societies are based on a simple idea: If you work hard, you will be rewarded. As soon as you start to work you earn money and are able to buy yourself more and more things and thus make your life more enjoyable. This keeps everyone motivated. The truth is everyone is always looking for personal benefit.
If you set everyones wages equal, you remove all the incentives that keep people working. People will therefore lose their motivation. But in reality, people do not want to be equal. It is a natural thing to strive to be better than everyone else. It is the struggle for survival that we are all born with. If we try to eliminate this natural struggle to be the best, we also eliminate people's desire to work as hard as they can. If people don't actually get a decent wage for their work, they will only work as long as you keep them motivated using propaganda, quotas and lies.
In a communist society, the economy just doesn't run. Without a decent economy, there is no functioning nation as people are unhappy and will start to rebel.

2. Abuse of Power
Communist regimes tend to centralize power. The communist theory even justifies violence in order to bring about the communist rule. In most communist regimes of the last century, there was one party with basically unlimited power (i.e. Russia, China, German Democratic Republic). Naturally, the regime will do anything in order to stay in power. (i.e. Stalin, Mao etc all killed their opponents as well as their closest coworkers as soon as they represented a threat to their power).
The point is that the ones in power will do anything to stay in power and to increase their power. This obviously invites corruption into the system which will eventually cause the system to collapse. Authoritarian regimes always act in their own interest. The price is payed by the society.
A system that is supposedly based on solidarity and fraternalism simply can't work if it is in reality run by an authoritarian system rather than a true democratic system that supports the demands of its people.
bogger
It can work, but it just tends not to.

It is possible to get people willing to work for such an ideal in small numbers, it's just that with size comes people who don't have to account for anything, which is where the problems start

As for lack of motivation, yes, that can be a problem, but in a small society, the respect of your peers is a big motivator, and this is where the selection comes into being, if you only have people who want to be in it in it, instead of forcing communism upon them, people will work. The people who dont' work in a communist society are generally the ones who have no say in whether to BE communists
sunpascal
bogger wrote:
It can work, but it just tends not to.

It is possible to get people willing to work for such an ideal in small numbers, it's just that with size comes people who don't have to account for anything, which is where the problems start


Absolutely. How many people are "small numbers"? Less than 20? 100? I don't think you could even run one town using this system. Money is a great way to make sure that everyone does their fair part and no less.

In fact there has never been a single place in which such a system has actually worked.

bogger wrote:
As for lack of motivation, yes, that can be a problem, but in a small society, the respect of your peers is a big motivator


Respect to peers? No way! Imagine you were a construction worker or assembly line worker. Would you do hard manual labor every day simply because you respect your peers? Without compensation for your hard work? If you would really enjoy your work, than yes perhaps you might be motivated to work without getting any reward. But would you do that on the long run? And would you do it if you hated your job? I don't think so.

The truth is communism is no more than an ideal form of society, a dream, nothing more that wishful thinking.

bogger wrote:
... and this is where the selection comes into being, if you only have people who want to be in it in it, instead of forcing communism upon them, people will work. The people who dont' work in a communist society are generally the ones who have no say in whether to BE communists


Problem is that an essential part of the communist theory is that is justifies the use of violence to start the revolution. And what person will be happy to live in a communist society after their had their house and all their possessions confiscated? This has happed in Russia and China.

In reality our world is an incredible materialistic world. Most people simply aren't willing to sacrifice their private property for the greater good. And I can't blame them, especially if the system doesn't even act in their interest (communism isn't exactly known for its democratic ways).
bogger
sunpascal wrote:
Money is a great way to make sure that everyone does their fair part and no less.
In fact there has never been a single place in which such a system has actually worked.

Money is a great way to do so, and I'm not saying it's not, I'm merely saying that it's not the only way
Cuba? It would work properly were it not for the USA's and other country's embargoes upon its goods

sunpascal wrote:
Respect to peers? No way! Imagine you were a construction worker or assembly line worker. Would you do hard manual labor every day simply because you respect your peers? Without compensation for your hard work? If you would really enjoy your work, than yes perhaps you might be motivated to work without getting any reward. But would you do that on the long run? And would you do it if you hated your job?


Notice how I said:
bogger wrote:
if you only have people who want to be in it in it


People who choose to be construction workers tend to choose it because they enjoy it. In the same way, people who agree to be part of the communistic ideal will strive to make it work, if they get tired of it, they can leave.
And yes, in a small society, the knowledge that you will be shunned if you don't pull your weight is a big deterrent for slackers


sunpascal wrote:
Problem is that an essential part of the communist theory is that is justifies the use of violence to start the revolution. And what person will be happy to live in a communist society after their had their house and all their possessions confiscated? This has happed in Russia and China.

"Justifies the use of violence" could you reference your source for that please? I didn't know that.

sunpascal wrote:

Most people simply aren't willing to sacrifice their private property for the greater good. (communism isn't exactly known for its democratic ways).


Most aren't, a minority are, thus back to my main assumption it can work in small groups
And yes, it's not known for that, but that doesn't mean it can't happen.
sunpascal
bogger wrote:
if you only have people who want to be in it in it


the fact is no one wants to have 100% communist rule. I do believe in the social welfare state which has an element of redistribution of money in it (in the form of high taxes).

bogger wrote:
People who choose to be construction workers tend to choose it because they enjoy it.

bullshit, they are contstruction workers because they have to feed their family. And construction workers don't excactly earn a lot of money.

bogger wrote:
In the same way, people who agree to be part of the communistic ideal will strive to make it work, if they get tired of it, they can leave.

As far as I know, every communist country in history forced communism upon its people. The German Democratic Republic actually build a wall to prevent their citizens from fleeing into the capitalistic world and prosecuted people who were merely planning to flee.

bogger wrote:
"Justifies the use of violence" could you reference your source for that please?

A key concept of the Marxist theory is that the working class starts a revolution against the bourgeoisie in order to then become the ruling class.
Does "proletarian revolution" and "dictatorship of the proletariat" ring any bells?
Or how else do you suggest bringing about change?
How can you possibly confiscate all private property without the use of violence? (this is _exactly_ what has been done is Russia (Lenin) and China (Mao).

bogger wrote:
"Most aren't, a minority are, thus back to my main assumption it can work in small groups
And yes, it's not known for that, but that doesn't mean it can't happen.

I believe Marx said himself that the only way to bring about the communist rule is to force the bourgeoisie to do so.

I believe its simply isn't fair to force someone to give up all their property that they have worked for.

Maybe we can agree on a mix between a capitalistic society that is based on competition and on property and a communist society that simply get rid of private property but ideally cares for its citizens in a way that a 100% capitalistic society doesn't.

This compromise actually already exists and has proved to be successful (in terms of economy and people being happy with it).

Maybe we should ask, what about capitalism bothers you and then think how can we create a system that does not have these problems. I don't think a 100% communist rule is even necessary.
dac_nip
pseudo science!
bogger
good points, I can see the error of my ways, so won't continue the argument
cybernytrix
I have not read his thesis. I really don't believe in all the communist/social bullshit. Capitalism is the way to go. don't mistake this to the cronyinsm/corruption/corporatism that exists in USA today.
bogger
you don't believe in socialism?

While it has been discussed and agreed that communism has serious assumption related flaws, You'll find that socialism is a proven form of government (Scandinavia).

In fact, per capita GDP shows us:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_%28nominal%29_per_capita
that of the top 10 countries
4 are definite socialist countries
3 may or may not be (Luxembourg, Holland, Switzerland [could someone clarify their political swing?

Also, looking at quality of life
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quality-of-life_index
The methodology for this seems flawed to me, but assuming it's not, notice how those countries that have a high GDP per capita and a high quality of life tend to be Socialist countries?

Coincidence?
I think not...
LumberJack
Philou wrote:
I'm all for communism, right here and right now. I don't believe human beings to be naturally bad. To quote Marx himself : Men's [and women's] ideas are the most direct emanations of their material state. I think it would be possible to have a system based on justice and solidarity, even if it would take a while to get there.


Unfortunately, I believe like most economics, the theory is good on paper, but not applicable in reality. A many of his assumptions just go against human nature.
sunpascal
cybernytrix wrote:
I have not read his thesis. I really don't believe in all the communist/social bullshit. Capitalism is the way to go. don't mistake this to the cronyinsm/corruption/corporatism that exists in USA today.


Please don't equate communism and socialism.
There is a big difference between the two.
Billy Hill
bogger wrote:
He based his opinions on the assumption that everyone would
work towards the common goal instead of looking for personal benefit.


That will never work. Ever. Let me give some examples.

Like a lot of folks in this country (The US), I have a job. I work, they pay me. I
pay my taxes and the government distributes my taxes as it sees fit. In
order to get that paycheck, I am required to pass a random urine test with
which I have no problem.

What I do have a problem with is the distribution of my taxes to people
who don't have to pass a urine test. Shouldn't one have to pass a urine
test to get a welfare check because I have to pass one to earn it for
them?

Please understand, I have no problem with helping people get back on
their feet. I do, on the other hand, have a problem with helping someone
sitting on their A$$, doing drugs, while I work. . .. . Can you imagine
how much money the state would save if people had to pass a urine test
to get a public assistance check ?

Also:

Around here people on welfare get full medical dental and glasses etc... while
half the tax payers don't have this benefit from work! I agree 100% with
helping people in need, but to give them a better life then someone that
works? Doesn't make any sense and why would you go back to work?
bogger
Billy hill, no offence intended, but you quoted me and then said

Quote:
That will never work. Ever. Let me give some examples.


You then went on, instead of giving some examples, to talk about a personal grievance of yours which wasn't related to my point, you also should read the whole thread and notice how what you said has already been said, thrice....

Now, to your point....
It is merely your lack of a trade union and thus your inability to argue for a better deal that causes you have no dental plan. Your government should protect you, but it seems not to, you don't trust or let your government do this, I think.

Also, don't insinuate jobless people are better off than you... they'd (probably) swap places with you happily. Contrary to popular belief, being stuck on your ass doing nothing all day is just boring...
Coclus
History showed that his idea just did not work, as you would have to create a new kind of people to guarantee its success.. people how are not egoistic, and not greedy..
FFXclan
yagnyavalkya wrote:
For those of you who have read the book Das Capital By K Marx I guess you know that it is only a thesis on the economic status relevant to the time at which it was written
Do you agree that Marx was right for his time and extending that Question I would like to ask if you agree if the theory of communism advocated by Marx is relevant at present time and if so are there geographical demarcation where the relevance stops to hold good


Communism is not the theory of marx! It was later adobted as communism by those red rousers
incoherentranter
To address some of the arguments posted here:
1) Karl Marx did not speak in depth of communism, he only mentioned it as the end result of a long process of political-economic interaction. His view of history emerged from his interest in Hegelian historical materialism/dialectical. While the theory put forth by Marx and his dear friend, Engels, was different from Hegel's, the essence is there: everything happens as a result of existing policies and economic infrastructure. Indeed, Marx might argue that he, himself, was an inevitability of the social circumstance - and therefore wouldn't take complete credit for his body of work.

Society moved from slavery to feudalism because eventually as the slave-owners (not american slavery) wanted more of the surplus product they placed greater demands on their workers... this caused the slaves to be threatened to the point where they could not take it anymore, overthrew their masters and forced the re-organization of the economy. What resulted was feudalism, again - as the feudal lords placed greater and greater demands of the surplus product (we know this as profit), serfs started to revolt, taking hoe and pitchfork not to dirt and hay, rather to feudal lords and mistresses. Then society moved to capitalism... Marx sees that the problem of capitalism is that there still exists a surplus product which comes from the exploitation and alienation of the labourer. They are alienated because they do not have a say in what or how a commodity is produced. They are exploited because the value of their work is greater than that which they are paid to provide it (profit comes from the work of the labouring class).

Marx opined that similar to previous forms of economic organization, capitalism too would be supplanted by another system - because the demands for more and more surplus product would eventually lead the workers to revolt. The next step would be to socialism, a state oriented, centrally planned economy where equity and equality were paramount themes... then finally to a state he termed "communism" - a state-less society. He doesn't speak much on the make-up of a communist state, because while it's easy to predict that change will occur, it's difficult to assume exactly what changes will take place.

2) The world has not seen "communism" yet, USSR, Cuba and Chinese examples are only pseudo-socialist... and even Marx would argue that they failed because the transition was not a natural one... it did not result from complete uprising and revolution of the system. They failed because of the conditions around them and because of the dominance of governments guided and led by corporate and capitalist interests... ie, the US and other western countries outside of the warsaw pact.

3) Capitalism is not a singular all-encompassing definition for what has been the world's dominant economic structure for the past 250 odd years... it has gone through many changes, manifesting itself into many different forms to ensure continued profitability. These are known as social structures of accumulation. Marx's view of history would support these re-imaginings of capitalism - therefore the economic relevance of capital still holds.

4) To answer the question of whether I agree with his theory of communism advocated by Marx is a poorly structured question... he did not advocate for communism, he simply saw it as the unintentional result of class and power struggles always present, and always the driving force for economic structural change.
Philou
sunpascal wrote:
Philou wrote:
I'm all for communism, right here and right now. I don't believe human beings to be naturally bad. To quote Marx himself : Men's [and women's] ideas are the most direct emanations of their material state. I think it would be possible to have a system based on justice and solidarity, even if it would take a while to get there.


Communism can never work for two main reasons:

1. Lack of Motivation & Economic Failure
Todays capitalistic societies are based on a simple idea: If you work hard, you will be rewarded. As soon as you start to work you earn money and are able to buy yourself more and more things and thus make your life more enjoyable. This keeps everyone motivated. The truth is everyone is always looking for personal benefit.
If you set everyones wages equal, you remove all the incentives that keep people working. People will therefore lose their motivation. But in reality, people do not want to be equal. It is a natural thing to strive to be better than everyone else. It is the struggle for survival that we are all born with. If we try to eliminate this natural struggle to be the best, we also eliminate people's desire to work as hard as they can. If people don't actually get a decent wage for their work, they will only work as long as you keep them motivated using propaganda, quotas and lies.
In a communist society, the economy just doesn't run. Without a decent economy, there is no functioning nation as people are unhappy and will start to rebel.

2. Abuse of Power
Communist regimes tend to centralize power. The communist theory even justifies violence in order to bring about the communist rule. In most communist regimes of the last century, there was one party with basically unlimited power (i.e. Russia, China, German Democratic Republic). Naturally, the regime will do anything in order to stay in power. (i.e. Stalin, Mao etc all killed their opponents as well as their closest coworkers as soon as they represented a threat to their power).
The point is that the ones in power will do anything to stay in power and to increase their power. This obviously invites corruption into the system which will eventually cause the system to collapse. Authoritarian regimes always act in their own interest. The price is payed by the society.
A system that is supposedly based on solidarity and fraternalism simply can't work if it is in reality run by an authoritarian system rather than a true democratic system that supports the demands of its people.


1. Motivation
I tend to think this is all a question of education. From our early ears, all we ear and learn is competition, fight for your own little life, blah blah blah. Are we really so numb (or dumb?) that we can't find a way to live together that's different from animals (strongests win). Can't we organise a society in which we all manage to live with enough ressources? Can't we imagine doing something, working, doing some research, etc., for a reason other than profit?

2. Power
This is a common misconception of communism. URSS, cuba, china or any others are not communist societies. They followed the path of marx-lenin-mao, which I don't believe to be working either. Concretly, communism is a class-less, state-less society.
cloudship
As far as I know, communism is only possible based on two conditions:
1. there are abundant materials in the society and people may get things for free, so that people are not working to live but working to have much higher pursuit, like self-accomplishment. This will solve the problem of being lack of motivation.
2. selfishness is conquerred by some medicine, maybe genetically, so that people will contribute theri full energy to the whole human society.

Well, when the economy and medicine are that advanced, maybe we human beings are just facing with problems more serious, like being under attack by aliens or earth being to explode. Laughing
kaysch
Believe it or not, today I bought a copy of Karl Marx' main oeuvre, "Das Kapital", volumes 1-3. So far I have been a hardcore liberal, believing in Adam Smith rather than John Maynard Keynes. In my mind ultimately the market will pose the best incentives for individuals to come up with creative ideas to serve society. Except in those cases where the market fails to work, just to name a few cases:
- natural monopolies such as electricity or water supply or markets with high entry barriers which come close to that (see the electricity market in Germany)
- where somebody is too weak to be able to compete (the handicapped, the stupid, divorced women with children and other minorities, regions with high unemployment)
- where somebody is too powerful so that he can overrule the market, break down competition or influence politicians to adjust the rules to his own favour (see German privately-owned electricity companies)
- where politicians are afraid to let a company (e.g. a bank) go bankrupt to avoid unemployment and to be re-elected (see the financial crisis)

So here is my pre-conceived idea before reading his books: I think his analysis is right. His observation must be that in a free-market economy person A who is more powerful than person B will tend to enlarge the gap between the two. I support that view.
I'm not sure to what extent he comes up with suggestions as to how to change ownership, to narrow the gap between the rich and the poor and to eventually support social equality. Or was it Lenin, Engels or others who started to suggest changes?

Anyhow, this is an important book, so I'm thrilled to be able to read it.
Related topics
Religion ??
Not Voting is Reasonable for People Who Want Freedom
The answer to "Why did the Chicken Cross the Road???&am
which came first chicken or the egg? The anwer!
Favorite Philosophers
What ideology do you follow?
Sonofusion
The Whole "GOD" Thing
Do we have Free Will or is there only Determinism?
Sinning by thought
Communism ?
Why did the chicken cross the road?
Sociallist
Animal Farm
Reply to topic    Frihost Forum Index -> Lifestyle and News -> Economics and Marketing

FRIHOST HOME | FAQ | TOS | ABOUT US | CONTACT US | SITE MAP
© 2005-2011 Frihost, forums powered by phpBB.