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following essay is an entry discussing and offering various criticism on
Marxism and Karl Marx’s socialist theories,
mainly the idea portrait in ‘The
Communist Manifesto’.  “From each according to his abilities to each
according to his needs” is a slogan
from Karl Marx’s ‘Critique of the Gotha program’
that simplifies the its basis on which Karl Marx build his political argument.
Karl Marx was a major socialist figure that emerged in the 19th
Century and his ideas were the basis of various communist states throughout the
past few decades.  Karl Marx ideologies
find basis in George Hegel’s historical analysis found in ‘The Phenomenology of the Spirit’ which Marx studied during
his years at the University of Bonn. Such thoughts included the opposition to
Christianity and the condemnation of the Prussian rulers, which he wrote about
in the liberal newspaper the ‘Rherinische
Zeitung’, which later was shut down by the Prussian government. Marx
shortly after started to reject Hegel’s abstract and idealistic philosophy and
moved on to argue a materialistic adaptation if Hegel’s ideas.  Unlike Hegel’s belief that the changes that
occurred throughout history were related to the restriction of freedom of the
civil Marx believed that the “history of all hitherto existing society is the
history of class struggle”. With this statement, Marx opens the first part of ‘The Communist Manifesto’, ‘Bourgeois and
Proletarian’. He argued that during the history of civilizations there
was one major common factor, that is the conflict between different social
classes, such as the Freeman and the Slave, Patrician and the Plebeian, the
Lord and the Serf and The Guild Master and the Journeyman. The Manifesto claims
that society was back then finally simplified into two classes in direct
conflict. The Bourgeoisie, the capital-owning class and The Proletariat, the
working class. He accuses that the modern day drifted away from “antagonism”
and instead it “established new classes, new conditions and new forms of
struggle”. What Marx seems to not understand however is that social classes’
structure is more complicated than the two social categorizes he identifies. At
this stage, Marx misidentifies the presence of a small population that made up
the upper-middle-class. He describes the middle-class as a simplified version
of class antagonism and that the middle class was taken over by the industrial businessman,
“The Modern Bourgeois”.  The bourgeoisie has ended all “feudal,
patriarchal, idyllic relations”. Meaning that it has abolished the distinction
between the “bound man and his natural superiors” and personal worth is now
valued with the exchange values. Therefore, he says that value of a
produced economic good is equally proportioned to the average number of labour
hours required. This solution showed that Marx at this stage believed that
Capitalists were underpaying the workers. Some might argue that this is economically
inaccurate for the simple reason that other factors are taken into
consideration when valuing the importance of a factor. Basic economic concepts
show that besides the capital, supply and demand are also key features when
valuing anything, in this case, the demand and the incompetence of the labourer.   He
debates that what before was hidden by political and religious “illusions” are
being open to the public shamelessly. He then says that the bourgeoisie needs
traditional methods to survive and therefore try to expand their market
territory by sustaining a global connection. Marx believes that this is done in
a way to make sovereignty less manageable, which leads to the concentration of
wealth and the dependence on the capitalist companies. Therefore the ‘Means of Production’ on which the
bourgeoisie companies are build originate from feudal societies, and at some point,
feudal relations “hindered production rather than advance it, resulting in the
rise to power of the bourgeoisie. Furthermore, he then says a commercial crisis
id due to arise as a result of over-production. Here is where the manifesto
starts addressing the Proletariat, and he believes that the proletariats are
becoming slaves of the manufacturing industry and the worker is being replaced
by machinery. With the fear of this, Marx encourages all workers to unite and
form their own unions, as he believes that unions formed by socialist activists
have ingenuine interests. He claims that the workers within these unions are
not fighting their own enemy, the capitalists, but instead standing with the
enemy of the proletariat enemy. With this in mind, he suggests that the
proletarians destroy private property as they do not own their own property.
This might be considered an unjust statement as Marx did not take into
consideration the workers who owned their own houses, fields, farms (etc..). The main criticism the Manifesto faces comes
with the various concepts Marx suggested to be abolished. In the second part of
the book, ‘Proletarians and Communists’,
Marx suggests that the private property is the luxury the wealthy have thanks
to the capital produced by the workers. Marx addresses pro-capitalistic
critiques who claim that private property is achieved through ‘hard commercial work’. He further argues
that labourers do not acquire this kind of social privilege from the fruit of
their labour. Therefore, Marx that the capital is a collective product,
achieved by the many and benefited by the few. Marx’ solution is simple. He
believes in a system where one is not paid to work, trading for goods and
services with no currency and as a result, no capital is made.  Additionally, non-conformist argues that if
private property is abolished ‘universal
laziness’ will overcome and thus no one will want to work. Marx answers
that with the prior reasoning bourgeoisie would have been gone ages before
because the capital is not acquired by the bourgeoisie themselves. As many believe,
this theory is impractical. Marx doesn’t take into account the natural instinct
of a human being as an animal. By referring to the famous theory of evolution
by Charles Darwin, we can say that man has a natural desire to conquer areas to
be able to survive. Moreover, other critiques such as the economist and
political philosopher Fredrich Hayek said that the absence of a free market
would lead to an authoritarian political regime and that capitalism is
essential for freedom to grow in a national state.  Besides the privatization of possessions, Marx
also called for an abolishment of other things. 
Firstly, he suggests the end of the ‘family’
as we know it. Although he himself admits that delicate topic to discuss, he
believed that the family is created for “capital, on private gain”. Therefore, he believed
that by eliminating the family he would also be a step closer to eliminate the
capital. One must understand that Marx and Engels weren’t against the family as
we know it, as an intimate domestic group but rather they were against the idea
of inheritance of wealth and power, which reinforces the family class status
quo. A rich family will give their children their possessions while a poor
family’s child will have to keep working in order to survive. For a true
Communist, this social injustice was unacceptable. On the other hand, we know
that this idea is unrealistic. Clearly, this can be witnessed because even
leaders who claim to be Communist do not practice this thought. Furthermore,
this idea of abolishment flourished the ‘Marxist-Feminism
‘concept. When the state abolishes the family, he suggests that the woman is
then liberated from the social submissive conditioning it had grown to live
into. In addition, activists such as Silvia Ferdici contend that unpaid
domestic labour is the foundation upon which capitalism is built. Finally, Marx suggests the abolishment of
countries and nationality. This strongly contrasts the philosophy of George
Hegel. While Hegel suggest the idea of a ‘Geist’ that is a historical immaterial
concept, Marx refuses to believe that there is any sort of immaterialism
involved within politics as these gave way to “free competition with the domain
of knowledge”. One might point out that with the restriction of knowledge and
belief is a radical idea, but Marx simply says that they are missing the larger
picture.  This is not only evident by the
elimination of a national identity, but also the unacceptance of religion,
philosophy and moral thought. He believed that as time passes by, national
differences are vanishing and therefore all workers should abolish the idea of
a nationality and for one proletariat nation. He supports this suggestion with
his belief that the right eternal truths are the one that are common truths all
state societies share and that survive history such as the idea of ‘Justice’, which for him reflect the
idea of class antagonism development. Although this idea might seem injudicious,
a lot of inspirational speech is guilty of using similar ideas of motherland abolishment.
Doesn’t the famous John Lennon song ‘Imagine’
preach the same form of unification of the people? irrespective of religion,
race and nation? At it is now taken to be the obvious, a lot of
factors support the arguments of the impracticality of Marxism, and as the
famous Slavoj Zizek said, the Marxist theory is a failure one, but what people
fail to also realize is that some of Marx’s predictions are till this day
valid. For example, the Great Recession of 2008, where we see that Marx’s
prediction of persistent greed for profit from lead companies to systemise the workplaces while limiting
workers’ wages until they could no longer purchase the products they created.
Decades of deepening inequality reduced incomes, which led more and more Europeans
to take on debt. When there were no subprime borrows left to scheme, the whole system
fell apart, just as Marx said it would. Marx also believed that salaries would be controlled
by “reserve army of labour”. By this. he expressed the capitalists’ wish to pay
workers as least as possible and this is the easiest thing to do when there is
a high rate of unemployment. Closely after the recession, the Marxist study that
unemployment would keep wages fixed at a low amount while the capital kept on
growing, was proved to be the reality of many. Profits were on tear, while the companies’
productivity increased and not much was done to re-stabilize the unemployment situation.
As Marx argues, company owners took advantage of the worker’s fear of being jobless.
With this reason as well, one can argue that the best time for equitable growth
is during times of “full employment” where workers can shift from one job to
another, dependently only on their personal needs, without the fear of being unemployed.

In conclusion,
Marx was inaccurate and unrealistic in a lot of aspects. Most of his writings focused on a critique of capitalism
rather than a proposal of what to replace it with and this resulted in
misinterpretation of the theory, such as that of Stalin’s. But his works still
shapes few principles of the modern-day economy, such as progressive income tax,
a system where governments try to fight income inequality. As Robert L. Heilbroner writes, “We turn to Marx,
therefore because he is inescapable.” Today, in a world of both unheard-of
wealth and poverty, where the richest own one percent of the world’s wealth,
the famous cry, “Workers of the world unite; you have nothing to lose but your chains,” has
yet to lose its influence.

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