The Marx Solution in times of trouble – The Communist manifesto

The grave of Karl Marx in London.

Image via Wikipedia

In time of trouble we tend to think that back in the days everything somehow were better, that the economy was better, more had jobs, that there were more peace and security, etc. And when we face a situation as we do now with large and even global scale problems we might think about what alternatives that is out there.

In the preceding year and for sure in the coming month we will see proponents of fundamental socialism come forward and offering solutions which at the outtake might seem attractive. So I would like to remind you what fundamental socialism is all about and why it is a dangerous road to tread.

  1. Abolish all property in and applications of all rents of land to public purpose.
  2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax
  3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance
  4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels
  5. Centralization of credit in hands of the state by means of a national bank with state capital and exclusive monopoly
  6. Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the state.
  7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the state; the bringing into cultivation of waste lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan
  8. Equal obligation of all to work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
  9. Combination of agriculture with the manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of the distinction between town and country, by a more equitable distribution of the population in the country.
  10. Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of child factory labor in its present (1848) form. Combination of education with industrial production, and so on.

The manifest is of cause a product of its time and we have in the western economies no longer as much industry as we had in the start of the century. But even translating the words into a modern contact does not make them any more appealing and it would be difficult to imagine that such principles could be implemented without the extensive use of violence. Just imagine what would happened if we took everybody’s right to inheritance away and gave it to the state or if we nationalised the banking system. Which was actually proposed by some left-wing activist during the 2008 crisis. Or what if we told certain percentage of the population that they had to farm the land even though they had lived in the city all their lives.

I for one would not like to live in a country were the tax was even higher than it is now (I live in the number one or two most taxed country in the world) or see that immigrants or people who were in opposition had their estates confiscated just because of their ethnicity or the belief system they subscribe to.

So think about the alternative when contemplating what we can do and what we should do in the future and that the easy solution seldom is the best in the long-term.

A short list of events that Karl Marx anticipated would happen but didn’t includes:

  • It was anticipated that the rate of profit would decline because of the inability to exploit workers forever – This has never been the case and even more capital have been accumulated over time as new markets and products have been introduced.
  • The working class has not fallen into greater and greater misery. Wages for one have risen almost on continues bases ever since the manifest was written. All the industrialised countries have seen a dramatic increase in living standards for the average worker and they have never been as educated as they are today. The middle class have not disappeared but have rather expanded to such an extent as we talk about different layers of middle class.
  • There is little or no evidence that industries have concentrated in the capitalist societies. One could argue that Industry clusters is a type of concentration but these are drive my totally different incentives such as access to labour, infrastructure and skill.
  • None of the socialist societies have been prosperous or given any benefits to the people who live in them, which have not been, surpass by capitalist countries. In all areas capitalism have outperformed socialist countries like healthcare, technology, education, innovation, small business, human rights, labour rights, environmental issues the list just goes on.
  • Despite several setbacks in the form of depression, bubbles, recessions large scale fraud and even evil doing the capitalist system seem to prevail and flourish as never before.
  • Marx believed that price and labour were dependent on each other and there for more labour intensive product would be more expensive than capital driven business. However, it seems to be the other way around that the more labour your are able to take away from the product the more value you are able to add to the final outcome.

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