Civilization Week 20 The Flaws of Marxism

Question 1: Discuss two weak points in the views of Karl Marx, and explain what’s wrong with them.

The main flaw in Marxist theory is generalizing that all bosses are lazy money grubbers that over work their employees while they sit around doing nothing. This is actually what Marx believed, and his economic theories are firmly based on this ridiculous notion. If running a company was passed down through bloodline this could become an issue, but it’s not. Ownership and management over a company is exchanged to another after that individual works extremely hard to gain the trust and respect of their peers. They have to bust their asses (excuse my crude phrasing) for years climbing the business ladder and proving they have what it takes to manage a company. Then when they gain control of the company they have to work even harder! Because if they don’t the company falls apart, being the manager means you have the responsibility of actually MANAGING the business.

They have to understand what will be most efficient for the employees, what will speed up the production process, buying and trading raw materials, dealing with business rivals, managing machinery, dishing out fair wages, understanding the market and generally keeping the business above water. I could go on, but it varies so drastically from business to business that the list of boss responsibilities could be an entire essay by itself. Now compare this to the way Marx views these managers and you’ll realize how absurd his movement really is. “Capital is dead labor, which, vampire like, lives only by sucking living labor, and lives the more, the more labor it sucks.” God that guy used a lot of comma splices, but thats beside the point. Capital is dead labor, huh? Which lives only by sucking living labor? With how much Marx talked about his disrespect for dehumanization you’d think he could address this “dead labor” as the actual individuals behind it. The individuals working their hardest to keep their employees happy, the market happy, and any partnering companies happy. Now I’m not saying there aren’t any corrupt bosses out there, but I am saying the majority of bosses earned their title through a tremendous amount of effort. Describing this effort as simply as “living more the more labor they suck” is like saying the farmers are mooching off their hoes and taking advantage of their crops. Its a total missed shot at who’s actually doing the most labor.

The second huge flaw in Marxist ideals is the belief that people will be happier, work more efficiently, and be more “aesthetically satisfied” with the abolition of private jobs and private property. I’ll start with private jobs. Marx believed that instead of everyone specifying in a single field and slowly mastering that skill it would be more efficient to switch and trade jobs regularly. Think of it like switching from station to station in an elementary school classroom, everyone gets a turn at everything. Marx stated that most folks choose an occupation and stick with it because of the money it provides, but that over time they acquire a spite for the job and loose some sense of aesthetic appreciation because of it. He said if we didn’t have to worry about income (instead being provided the necessities by the government) we’d have the freedom to explore occupations and appreciate each one more. But I argue that we already have the freedom to explore occupations and choose the one we find the most satisfaction in, and we also have the freedom to choose a job that gives us no satisfaction but provides a steady income. Marx’s suggestion of switching jobs all the time actually limits our freedom and especially our growth, as instead of becoming a master in one field everyone knows a little about every field. I argue that the satisfaction of, for example painting a mural would be dulled because everyone else is forced to learn mural painting as well. You wouldn’t be able to say “With my hard work and dedication I was able to create something unique and financially/spiritually uplifting.” Because it wasn’t your hard work and dedication, and you aren’t whatsoever unique. You were assigned a brief study of that field, just like everyone else. And now instead of refining the skills you find such satisfaction in you must move on with the herd to something else. Marx’s idea to remove the dehumanization from economy and let everyone feel special takes away the natural and organic uniqueness experienced by people who actually put the effort in by their own freewill.

Now lets talk about private property. I’ll first lay out Marx’s view on it: “You are horrified at our intending to do away with private property. But in your existing society, private property is already done away with for nine-tenths of the population; its existence for the few is solely due to its non-existence in the hands of those nine-tenths. You reproach us, therefore, with intending to do away with a form of property, the necessary condition for whose existence is the non-existence of any property for the immense majority of society.” Now perhaps in Marx’s day the homeless population was booming, and although it is still substantial today I wouldn’t describe it as nine-tenths of the population. What Marx is really saying is: “I see the intelligent and ambitious people have earned themselves a steady income and a house, but I also see the jealousy of those who haven’t put the effort in. Lets give those people the houses!”

Now, I in no way mean to seem unempathetic, many people have simply gotten the short end of the stick and their lack of housing funds is in no way a lack of effort on their part. The housing market is crazy, jobs can be unpredictable, and many people don’t know where to start. But theres a quote thats been around since the beginning of life, a quote that rings with such truth that it’s buried in the psyches of all living things. A quote that works as well in economics as it does in the most simple hunter-gatherer society, a quote that is the birthplace of organic competition. “Survival of the fittest.” From the smallest insect to largest blue whale this quote defines the mental/physical training, luck, and effort required to continue existence on this beautiful planet. This quote is also what Karl Marx aims to destroy. For in a socialist or communist society it is no longer survival of the fittest, no matter the effort expended everyone gains the same rewards. This allows the lazy of us to bask in their own sloth, and makes the hard workers out there feel like their effort is pointless. Why expend the effort? That guy wasting his life away sleeping all day gets paid the same amount, so why not just do the same? As you can imagine this not only fails to improve the efficiency of production, but it also lets the government build and build to a point of corruption. The bigger a government gets, the bigger the greed and pride of the people running it get.

Individuals are more different today than ever before, we each have a different dream, a different skill set, and a different amount of ambition. We are also creatures of convenience, and will usually choose the most convenient path to get what we want. Communism ironically capitalizes on this convenience, trying to make everyone economically similar in a world that thrives because of our differences. It tries to give the same amount of opportunities, luxury, and wealth to everyone; although this is kindhearted in theory it always backfires. Trying to remove your human sins to reach enlightenment ironically gives more power to the sins you were trying to eradicate in the first place. The same goes for economics, trying to empower people to work harder by providing everyone the same wage disempowers those who were originally putting in the most effort. Although capitalism has many flaws (don’t even get me started) it also provides a fair base for everyone and a fair ladder to climb. It turns livelihoods into a sort of game, a game that you have to be extremely strategic and ambitious to win. This creates competition, and that competition expands and improves the market. Things get done because people want functioning commerce, not because the government one day declares “Everyone shall win the game!” People play the game more efficiently and the wheels start turning faster because there’s such a pressure, because its a matter of life or death. People work harder because they want to have a better and more financially successful life. They bust their asses to become the manager of the company, that’s why the manager has a higher wage than the employee. The manager is not a parasite capitalizing on the employees under him, but rather the unseen puppet master putting in the most amount of thought and energy to keep the business above water. Suddenly giving the employee as high of a wage as the one actually putting in the brain power to run the company makes the manager ask the question: “Why should I put in the work?”



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