Was Marx Right?

Here’s an interesting article from Umair Haque, the author of The New Capitalist Manifesto: Building a Disruptively Better Business.

Excerpt from the article:

In case you’ve been on Mars (or even just on vacation), here’s a surprising idea that’s been making the rounds lately: there might have been something to Marx’s critiques of capitalism after all.

It’s an interesting read.



4 responses »

  1. PsiCop says:

    Just a couple observations:

    First, while Marx criticized capitalism, that criticism was only half of what he offered. In addition, he promoted a new kind of political-social arrangement, known as communism. While some of his criticisms of capitalism turned out to be correct, this leaves aside the problem that communism has failed utterly in almost any place it’s been tried, in the form he advocated. The remaining successful “communist” regimes, those of the PRC and Vietnam, are now very much hybrid systems, a mixture of capitalism and communism that Marx himself would no longer recognize. In particular, his view that communist societies would be stateless, has NEVER been achieved, and likely never will be. Ever.

    Second, his underlying philosophy of history is more than a bit off. One of the main premises of his work is that human societies progress in discrete stages from primitive collectivism, to slavery, to feudalism, to capitalism, etc. The problem is that while this scenario (in only the loosest senses) fits occidental civilization, it does not coincide with that of others, particularly the civilizations of east Asia or those of the New World. I say his theory only loosely fits occidental history, because his assumption that the classical western civilizations were slavery-based is wrong. Sure, there were slaves in the classical civilizations, and they did a lot of the labor, but Rome, and the Greek and Near Eastern city-states, and other nations, all had large populations of people who might be called “peasants” but who were citizens of those states, with more than a little freedom, and they could not in any way be considered “slaves,” by any rational definition.

    (In this regard Marx was a product of his time. Back then, for example, it was thought that the large works of Egypt, including the pyramids, had been built by slaves. It turns out this is not the case; they were built by a skilled and most assuredly paid workforce. So perhaps he can be forgiven for having thought the economies of classical civilizations were powered solely by slave labor.)

    So was Marx correct? About some things, absolutely he was. But he was wrong about some other things. Was his entire scheme correct? The history of those who attempted to implement his scheme, demonstrates conclusively that it is not. And the premises on which it was based, are demonstrably flawed.

    • Marx was most definitely a bit off on his beliefs regarding communism. I don’t believe communism, even in its purest anarchist form, would ever succeed in this world with this species (man). Greed, laziness, and other human foibles would always affect any attempt at having a pure communist society. Sadly, those same foibles also taint capitalism. Either way, it’s a detriment to many and a benefit to the few. So, what’s new?

      • PsiCop says:

        This only serves to show what’s wrong with ideology. Any ideology, whether it’s Marx’s or anyone else’s. There are always aspects of any given ideology that one can point to and say, “See? This part is true!” thus insinuating that the whole thing is true.

        That one can find aspects of Marx which have proven correct, does not grant veracity to his ideology as a whole. Nor does the fact that some aspects of capitalism are correct, likewise mean the whole ideology is correct. Ideologies are, generally, scattershot collections of notions, arbitrarily packaged as a whole. It almost goes without saying that any random collection of ideas is going to contain at least a few that are correct. The problem comes when one extrapolates from that, that the whole must also be correct. Such an extrapolation, however, is not logical.

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