Short Essay On Marxism

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In the wake of communism’s collapse, traditional Marxism, which so many mainstream economists criticized relentlessly for decades, is now seriously questioned by a growing number of disillusioned radicals and former Marxists.

Today there is a vibrant post-Marxism, associated with the efforts of those active in the scholarly journal Rethinking Marxism, for instance. Pete Boettke and I were graduate students at George Mason University at the time, and once a month on Fridays we'd go shopping for u...

That is, Marx believed that under capitalism we are “alienated” or “separated” from our potential to creatively plan and control our collective fate.

But if comprehensive socialist planning fails to work in practice—if, indeed, it is an impossibility, as we have learned from A staunch antiutopian, Marx claimed that his criticism of capitalism was based on the latest developments in science.

The entire capitalist system—with its private property, money, market exchange, profit-and-loss accounting, labor markets, and so on—must be abolished, thought Marx, and replaced with a fully planned, self-managed economic system that brings a complete and utter end to exploitation and alienation.

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A socialist revolution, argued Marx, is inevitable.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.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.The labor theory of value is a major pillar of traditional Marxian economics, which is evident in Marx’s masterpiece, Capital (1867).The theory’s basic claim is simple: the value of a commodity can be objectively measured by the average number of labor hours required to produce that commodity.Here is the greatest problem with Marx’s theory of alienation: even with the latest developments in computer technology, we cannot create a comprehensively planned system that puts an end to scarcity and uncertainty.But for Marxists to speak of alienation under capitalism, they must assume that a successfully planned world is possible.Nor has a reserve army of the unemployed developed.We do have bouts with the business cycle, but more and more economists believe that significant recessions and depressions may be more the unintended result of state intervention (through Socialist revolutions, to be sure, have occurred throughout the world, but never where Marx’s theory had predicted—in the most advanced capitalist countries.

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