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Karl Marx: Communism

Political Economy

Raizza P. Corpuz

De La Salle University- Dasmarias College of Liberal Arts- Graduate Studies 1st semester 2012-2013

I.

Introduction Karl Marx was a German philosopher and economist best known for

his philosophy known as Marxism. The basic philosophy behind Marxism is an antiCapitalism stance that is against materialism and differing social classes. Karl Marx spent most of his life studying and writing about history, economics and politics. He was born in Trier, Prussia on 5 May, 1818. His parents, Heinrich Marx and Henriette Presbury Marx, had six other children but only three of these Jenny, Laura and Eleanor lived beyond childhood. Heinrich Marx was a Jewish lawyer, but converted to Lutheranism because he wasn't allowed to practice law as a Jew. Karl Marx was christened a Lutheran at age six. Karl Marx earned a doctorate in philosophy in 1841 from the University of Berlin. Marx's philosophical views were heavily influenced by Georg Hegel's work and by the Young Hegelians. The Young Hegelians were dedicated to trying to radically change Prussian autocracy and organized religion. Marx thought that class struggle existed because of the division of social classes and he thought that religion was a human invention with strong social elements. Marxs work aimed to demonstrate that capitalism, which he clearly loathed but understood as a great driving force towards economic growth suffered a set of internal contradictions in its very philosophy which would eventually cause a great collapse. The Communist Manifesto was a rebellion against the extreme poverty of the lower class. Marxs theory of value, perhaps his most important contribution to the field of economics, albeit, the most rejected stated that the value of any given commodity is determined by the socially average simple labour time used to create it, giving skilled labour value in multiple units of unskilled labour, suggesting that the market determines all prices based on this mythical underlying labour cost. This is an important deduction, especially considering it leads the path for Marxs prime rejection of capitalism his theory of exploitation. In Das Kapital, it is assumed that all commodities sell at their value or, eventually, like in modern economics, average out to selling at the correct price. Marxs suggestion, at this point, was that labour power was the single commodity which did not sell at the same definition of value clearly, because Marxs definition of value could not be applied to labour, for it depended on it rather, Marx suggested that labour power sold at a price less than its ability to produce.

II.

Discussion Historically, Marx saw that every cycle of history or, more so, every economic

establishment had a number of forces of production and relationships between them. He saw the inputs of production as always changing, totally variable and subject to modifications from the social and economic infrastructure, and, to an extent, saw the relationships as static infrastructure variables, somewhat exogenous and entirely enforced by what he referred to as the superstructure. Marx saw an evolution structured through history, where stages of social evolution and economic evolution were marked at various landmarks, from the origin, where there was no class struggle and no exploitation, then an increase in productivity brought the ability for workers to produce more than their own requirements. At this point, a class of modern day capitalists arose, according to Marx, who would exploit labor and create slavery. According to Bottomore, in his Book, Early Writings Ed. And Trans. Karl Marx starting point is the experience of the laboring man, alienated by the demands put upon him in a capitalist society. A practical philosophy designed to resolve the tension between the capitalist and the working classes paving the way for the restoration of man to his true dignity. For Marx, though man had always been a laborer man the laborer had never been brought to the forefront of human consciousness as it was by Marx. The world in the Industrial Revolution that Marx saw, in another sense no one did. Surrounding here were thousands of human beings who endured a life completely determined by inhuman labor system. The worker rose before dawn, sweated out the day, had supper at the last event before sleep and awoke to the same unbroken, day by day routine in a grind that made him behave like the machine he worked on, Often no moral, no sleep. The working in Capital is a catalog of the brutal conditions prevailing throughout the industrialized world-a system of exploitation, thought Marx, tantamount to slavery. The meaning of man in his social existence in the society is the dignity in his labor. Mans labor determines his value. Marx touches three main points: 1. The loss of mans meaning 2. The philosophical framework of loss and gain

3. Recovery of mans meaning Communism - Marxism & the Communist Manifesto

Communism, which is also described as "Revolutionary Proletarian Socialism" or "Marxism," is both a political and economic philosophy. The abridgment of Communism is enclosed in two primary writings: (1) The Communist Manifesto, which was first published in 1848 by Karl Marx, and (2) Principles of Communism, by Friedrich Engels. At the request of the Communist League, an activist group they were members of, Marx and Engels together authored The Communist Manifesto. The main goal of The Communist Manifesto was to focus on class struggle and motivate the common people to riot. Even more so, it was designed to envision a model government, whose economics would destroy the upper class - freeing the lower class from tyranny. According to The Communist Manifesto, Communism has ten essential planks:

Abolition of Private Property. Heavy Progressive Income Tax. Abolition of Rights of Inheritance. Confiscation of Property Rights. Central Bank. Government Ownership of Communication and Transportation. Government Ownership of Factories and Agriculture. Government Control of Labor. Corporate Farms and Regional Planning. Government Control of Education. Fundamentally, The Communist Manifesto was a rebellion against the extreme poverty of the lower class.

Communism - Atheism and Amorality

Communism doesn't end with economic and political reform. By definition, it further demands the abolition of both Religion and the Absolute Morality founded upon Religion. The irony is that Communism supposedly attempts to enhance civility within society, but removes all

notions of Absolute Morality, the very cornerstone of civility. Furthermore, after Communism is instituted by the people, the system becomes Totalitarian, resulting in greater oppression of the people it was designed to "serve." This fact is well documented throughout the history of Communist nations. Communism - Foundation in Czarism Communism, though distinctive, is thought by some to have been heavily influenced by Czarism, a Totalitarian regime replaced by Communism after Russia's 1917 Revolution. While most of Europe's history has been symbolized by the rule of limited centers of power, Russia resisted Europe's movement to limit monarchical power. Legal historian Harold Berman writes regarding historical European political policy, "It also has been, or once was, a source of freedom. A serf might run to the town court for protection against his master. A vassal might run to the king's court for protection against his lord. A cleric might run to the ecclesiastical court for protection against the king." (Law and Revolution). Russians under Czarist rule had no such protection from the wiles of an unjust Czar. And so it is for Communists. Under Communism, the government is absolute. Under Stalin, perhaps the most notorious Communist, around 40 million Russian citizens were murdered for "the good of the state." Communism - The Practical Results The practical results of Communism have been horror and atrocity for those under communist rule. So much so, advocates of the Marxist Worldview have made every attempt to point out where communist leaders have strayed from the fundamental teachings of Karl Marx, in an attempt to absolve Communism. Nevertheless, it cannot be denied that Marxist influence brought about many of these horrors. The irony is, Marxism renounces religion, not because of religious doctrine, but because of the actions of "religious" men. No one could accuse a religion such as Christianity of evil doctrine. However, it seems that men are intrinsically evil and need only an opportunity to express this inherent reality. One must look at the overall outcome of a philosophical doctrine on society, both good and bad, not specific instances of abuse. Christianity, for example, has been used by wicked men to do much evil, but its underlying doctrine has been the cause of much good in the world. Communism, on the other hand, has brought only atrocity into the world. Communism has not brought relief to the majority as promised, nor has it ended oppression as purposed. Communism has only served to remove Morality from the masses -- a dangerous and costly experiment.

The Principles of Communism: From the Communist Manifesto, 1848

1. The expropriation of landed property and the use of rent from land to cover state
expenditure;

2. A high and progressively graded income-tax; 3. A abolition of the right of inheritance;


4. The confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels;

5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

The centralization of credit in the hands of the state, by the establishment of a state bank The centralization of transport in the hands of the state; An increase in the state ownership of factories and instruments of production, and the Universal obligation to work and creation of labor armies especially for agriculture; The unification of agricultural with industrial labor, and the gradual abolition of the The public education of all children. Abolition of factory labor for children in its present

with state capital and an exclusive monopoly;

redistribution and amelioration of agricultural land on a general plan;

differences between town and country; form. Unification of education with economic production. The Communist Manifesto is a declaration of the intentions of a communist organization. In the Manifesto you will find a detailed and succinct explanation of the ideas that form the basis of communist and socialist ideologies. Written in 1848, it has survived as an important historical document. Even though the passing years have proven this Manifesto did not work, its principal concepts are studied for even more ideas that may work or to see why it has failed. The owners of the means of production (the bourgeoisie and the industrial laborers) were called proletariats, which made up the vast portion of society. The bourgeoisie were the ones who maintained control of the politics and the proletariats were basically without a voice in government. Marx believed that each class of people had an opposing class that was trying to destroy the lesser one. His theory was to eventually eliminate all classes of people and thereby abolishing all forms of government, money, and nation-states. The way that Marx preferred to establish this doctrine is by force. War and domination of business, government, and working class would eliminate any need for competition among industry. He also advocated re-education of those under socialism and conditioning them away

from the Its all about me attitude. He failed to realize production of goods and services would eventually be less expensive allowing more of the working class to become bourgeoisie themselves and start new small entrepreneur enterprises that would drive the economies further up the industrialized ladder raising the standard of living for the whole world. Communist revolutions, as history shows, happened in those countries with little economic development. This was contrary to his theory that industrialized nations would be easier to force into socialism. The Communist Manifesto has had great influence on historians and scholars throughout the world. Thus, Communism sounds like a good idea. In the purest form of communism, all people hold all land, factories and so on in trust, as it were. In this way, all goods are shared equally by the people. There is no poverty nor is there an upper class. In the Depression-era America of the 1930s, many people joined the Communist Party because it seemed to be sympathetic to the needs and desires of the worker, rather than to the bosses. Unfortunately, communism in practice tends to be somewhat different, as those who have lived in the 20th century know. Communism as practiced by Lenin, Stalin and Chairman Mao is an entirely different proposition. This kind of communism sets up an authoritarian government, with the best goods and services going to those in government. For Karl Marx, the production portion of Capitalism signaled great trouble. He believed production in Capitalist society worked in a way that the rich factory owner benefited and the poor factory workers lost. In his manner of reasoning, the Capitalist system was inherently meant to benefit the rich and exploit the poor: All the bourgeois economists are aware of is that production can be carried on better under the modern police than . . . on the principle of might makes right. They forget only that this principle is also a legal relation, and that the right of the stronger prevails in their constitutional republics as well, only in another form. The flaws Marx found in capitalism led him to believe that communism would create the best political, economic, and social situation for citizens in every society. In his time and place, these indictments of capitalism may have seemed plausible because working conditions were much different in the newly formed capitalist society of Great Britain in the late-1800s. He believed that the flaws in the system would lead to the eventual breakdown of the wealthiest capitalist countries; thus far, history has proven Marx false, in that, it has only been very poor, economically unstable developing countries to fall to the grips of communism.

III.

REFERENCES

Philosophy All about, June 30, 2012 http://www.allaboutphilosophy.org/communism.htm, June 30, 2012 http://lancefuhrer.com/principles_of_communism.htm, June 30, 2012 http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-communism.htm, July 1, 2012 http://rebirthofreason.com/Articles/Zantonavitch/Smith,_Marx,_Nock_The_Hyper-Focus_. July 1, 2012 Labor Theory of Value. Answers.com. http://www.answers.com/topic/labor-theory-of-value. Mandel, Ernest. Marxs Economic Theory- General Approach and Influence. Youth for Socialist Action. http://www.geocities.com/youth4sa/economics1.html?200613. Pilling, Geoffrey. Marxs Capital: Philosophy and Political Economy. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1980. Price, L.L. Adam Smith and His Relation to Recent Economics. The Economic Journal 3, no.10 (Jun., 1893): 239-254.