Nations that have allowed for private property rights and full-blown market exchange, in contrast to those “democratic socialist republics” of the twentieth century, have enjoyed remarkable levels of long-term Marx just didn’t get it. Marx’s theory of value, his philosophy of human nature, and his claims to have uncovered the laws of history fit together to offer a complex and grand vision of a new world order.
If the first three-quarters of the twentieth century provided a testing ground for that vision, the end of the century demonstrates its truly utopian nature and ultimate unworkability.
Marx predicted that competition among capitalists would grow so fierce that, eventually, most capitalists would go bankrupt, leaving only a handful of monopolists controlling nearly all production.
This, to Marx, was one of the contradictions of capitalism: competition, instead of creating better products at lower prices for consumers, in the long run creates , which exploits workers and consumers alike. They fall into the ranks of the proletariat, creating a greater supply of labor, a fall in wages, and what Marx called a growing reserve army of the unemployed.
The people of Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Romania, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Albania, and the USSR rejected Marxist ideology and entered a remarkable transition toward private and the market-exchange system, one that is still occurring.
Short Essay On Marxism
Which aspects of Marxism created such a powerful revolutionary force? The answers lie in some general characteristics of Marxism—its economics, social theory, and overall vision.
Marx was surely a profound thinker who won legions of supporters around the world.
But his predictions have not withstood the test of time.
He called his theory “scientific socialism” to clearly distinguish his approach from that of other socialists (Henri de Saint-Simon and Charles Fourier, for instance), who seemed more content to dream about some future ideal society without comprehending how existing society really worked (see Marx’s scientific socialism combined his economics and philosophy—including his theory of value and the concept of alienation—to demonstrate that throughout the course of human history, a profound struggle has developed between the “haves” and the “have-nots.” Specifically, Marx claimed that capitalism has ruptured into a war between two classes: the bourgeoisie (the capitalist class that owns the means of production) and the proletariat (the working class, which is at the mercy of the capitalists).
Marx claimed that he had discovered the laws of history, laws that expose the contradictions of capitalism and the necessity of the class struggle.