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Contributions and Drawbacks of Marxism

Category Marxism
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Contributions and Drawbacks of Marxism Marxism is a theoretical system that created by Marx and Engels based on labor movements in the 19th century. Marxism was written upon a materialist interpretation of history. The Marxist theoretical system consists of three parts: Marxist philosophy, Marxist political economy and scientific socialism, which were created on the basis of the German classical philosophy, the British classical political economy and French utopian socialist influence respectively.

In their writing the two most important terms are "socialist" and "communist”. When reading them, it is always important to know what the writer means by them. For Marx socialism was the more comprehensive term; communism was an advanced stage of socialism. Socialism would prepare the way by nationalizing the "means of production" (factories, farms, mines, transportation, etc. ) and putting them under the control of those he viewed as the sole producers of wealth: the workers.

He viewed political equality and freedom as incomplete (or even illusory) without economic equality. Therefore this redistribution of economic power was aimed at extending democracy far beyond the limits envisioned by earlier democratic revolutions. Social services like health, education, and housing would be provided free, but people would still be paid wages according to their work. When all nations had developed socialist economies, they would begin to evolve into an international communist society.

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The vision of communism was very similar to that of anarchism: a stateless society in which central government had "withered away," local, ground-up control of all affairs by strictly democratic processes based at the place of work, abolition of the market system (no money, no buying and selling) and its replacement by a system according to which people would voluntarily work for the common good to the extent they were able under the understanding that they could receive whatever they needed for free ("from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs").

National boundaries and governments having been eliminated, war would cease. Since Marx published the "Communist Manifesto" in1848, the banner of the communist was high erected, from Europe to the Americas, Asia, hundreds of millions of people struggled to achieve this beautiful ideal. People’s enthusiasm changed from faith to practical action. Communist revolution had continued for more than a century and had significant impact on the world’s modern history: 15 socialist countries were born, two global camps were formed and the conflict of different ideological forms evolved into conflict of international relations.

After World War II, socialist practice developed from one country into multi countries. The formation of the socialist camp ended the dominance of capitalism. However, after nearly half century’s development, the Soviet model of socialism did not fully demonstrate its superiority. They became rigid, dogmatic and stagnated. At the same time, capitalist forces gathered together to against the socialist countries, and launched the "peaceful evolution" plan.

Through the economic warfare, political warfare and the culture wars, finally in the 90s, the Soviet Union collapsed and majority of Eastern European Socialist Countries changed to capitalist. Since then the international communist movement entered into a setback stage. There is always a question been asked: if the socialist system is more superior than capitalism system, why most socialist countries failed and the remaining countries haven’t catch up with capitalist country?

Because the development of socialist countries and that of capitalist countries lack a comparable basis: First, they have different starting points of economic development. Most socialist countries originally are feudal, colonial or semi-colonial countries. They don’t have any accumulated capital and wealthy like capitalist countries do. Under the control and plunder of western countries for decades, they barely have anything left. The difference between the two kinds of countries is significant. Second, they use different means of economic development.

The history of capitalism is a history of bloody fortune. As Marx said, capitalist production process is the process of exploitation. Even today, with the advance of technology and dominant of capital, they are still doing unequal exchange with developing countries, which helps them to grab wealth. But the development of socialist countries mainly relies on people’s hard working. Third, they have different lengths of the economic development. From the establishment of the first socialist countries, only 80 years has past. Most of the socialist countries only have a history of forty or fifty years.

They are still in the early stage of development, their economic, political and social operating mechanisms haven’t been fully developed. And they are still on their way searching for proper methods for improvement. But capitalism has three hundred and sixty years of history. It has accumulated a solid capital foundation and rich experience. Even so, among the capitalist countries, only around twenty of them are in the category of “developed countries”. Especially for those newly independent countries in the 20th century who use capitalist system, none of them is in the “rich club”.

Fourth, the development environment is different. From the establishment of the first socialist state, the world’s capitalist countries start to apply economic blockade, military siege and even the armed aggression, the development environment for socialist countries is very dangerous. However, when the capitalist start developing, the old feudal system are almost collapse thoroughly from a global perspective. The international environment for the development of capitalism is very favorable. From the reasons above, I think it is not fair to compare the development level of socialist countries and capitalist countries.

Even socialism did not success in a global point of view, it should be noted some of them have had great achievement. Before the collapse, the Soviet Union maintained an average industrial production growth rate of 21% from 1928 to 1940, ranking first in Europe and second in the world. And they completed in twelve years what capitalist countries achieved in 100 years. From 1951 to 1980, the Soviet major economic indicators are1 to 2 times higher than the U. S. In 1950, the Soviet industrial output is less than 30% of U. S. ’s industrial output, while in 1980 it reached 80%.

In addition, the Soviet Union has significant achievement in science and technology, education, culture, military and many other fields. From the development of the Soviet Union, we can see the socialism has certain kinds of advantages. We should also notice that the eighty years of socialist development history has a huge and far-reaching impact on the human social history. The establishment and development of socialism, breaks the operation system of colonialism and imperialism, propels the international political and economic order to a more equal and reasonable direction.

The socialism analysis of the conflict between productive forces and production relations also helps with the improvement of the capitalist system. So socialism is conducive to the common progress of human society. But like other theories, Marxism, by the limitations of the era, has a series of shortcomings: The class struggle theory. It is easy for the dogmatists and violence advocates to take advantage of. Some people exaggerate the power of class struggle. They do not realize the probability of class change (proletariat to propertied class) and the class cooperation, so it can lead to widespread violence, legalized terrorism easily.

The proletarian dictatorship theory. The starting point of protecting people is good. But if the bad guys control the government, they may suppress people and dissent in the name of proletariat comrades. The theory of surplus value. Marx thinks, in a market economy, the exploitation of surplus value is from production. Surplus value is the value worker created minus the employment expense of that labor. Although this theory of exploitation has a positive side in recognition of exploitation, its bias and extreme part is obvious. Marx's mistake is that he ignores capitalists’ management of complex operation and the business risk they bear.

Capitalists’ income should include their general labor income (he works as a worker), complex management income (he conducts the operation and management, decision-making and other complex activities), capital income (he puts in capital), the risk income (the principle of market economy is the risks and benefits equals; he bears the investment risk, so he should have a higher income). Moreover, Marx does not realize that in the old socialist society, because of high concentration of power in planned economy, some problems will be created: corruption, plunder of resources and people is a more serious exploitation. The plan economy theory.

Marx negates the market economy, advocating elimination of private ownership and replace with full ownership. He promotes the idea of “distribute according to the work contributed”. He encourages eliminating commodity and currency and replacing them with a comprehensive economic plan, distributing consumer goods by needs. Moreover, Marx states that full ownership will become state ownership, the planned economy will be under the control of government, and distribution by work is actually by the length working time. Those policies will certainly leads to unclear property rights, irresponsibility and egalitarianism.

There will be no competition and people will have no incentive to work. Some other problems also need our attention: Is public ownership really efficient? Will egalitarian distribution inhibit creativity? Will planned economic encourage bureaucracy, and lead to laziness and waste? And so on. Sources: http://www. douban. com/group/topic/4691689/ http://baike. baidu. com/view/680726. htm http://baike. baidu. com/view/8059. htm http://public. wsu. edu/~brians/hum_303/manifesto. html http://wenda. tianya. cn/wenda/thread? tid=0aa8581c30d4c1ea;hl=vbgood http://www. marxists. org/archive/bukharin/works/1933/teaching/intro. htm

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Contributions and Drawbacks of Marxism. (2017, Apr 23). Retrieved from

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