Karl Marx / Marxism

Discussion in 'Other Topics' started by keithburgun, Jun 17, 2017.

  1. keithburgun

    keithburgun Administrator, Lead Designer Staff Member

    Been studying more of Karl Marx' stuff over the past year or so. I read his Communist Manifesto and some of Capital, but I am also really liking this guy Richard D Wolff. These videos are kind of introductory but he has a really good way of explaining things. A playlist of a sequence of videos of his here. Otherwise watch this one.

    Anyway, what are your guys opinions on Karl Marx and his work? I'm interested if you have a favorite counter-argument to any of his positions or a good video that approaches his work from a good, critical perspective.
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  2. Juli

    Juli Well-Known Member

  3. Bucky

    Bucky Well-Known Member

    I read a bunch of of Karl Marx last week and have some fresh criticism.

    He seems to be pretty sloppy about closing his feedback loops, predicting runaway effects in some cases where the market forces correct them. For example, he predicts that the substitution of capital for labor leads to less employment (fine to first order) which leads to lower demand (for things that are sold to laborers) which leads to less profit (a logical approximation) which leads to... more substitution of capital for labor to cut costs, indefinitely (bzzt, wrong). When what actually happens is that marginal labor prices fall while marginal capital costs rise, so it's never economical to cut all the workers.

    Karl Marx also totally missed the transition to a post-industrial retail economy. He assumes that whoever controls the production controls the economy. In today's flagship economies, though, producing something is considered less important than selling it across a variety of sectors. This undermines most of his conclusions. For example, in the context of the above feedback loop, the laid-off factory workers are snapped up by competitive and labor intensive sales jobs, halting the demand-collapse.

    Marx unfairly dismisses the notion of a natural profit in the labor market, which is the effect that some people are naturally extra-productive and therefore can charge a higher wage. His reasoning is basically "technology renders all skills obsolete, therefore all workers are interchangable". In practice, this hasn't happened and probably won't unless we go full post-scarcity and don't need an economy anymore.

    Finally, while this isn't a problem with Marx himself, I think the revolutionary aspect of Karl Marx's writings are broadly misinterpreted; we've never seen a revolution under the conditions he predicted it (basically, >50% permanent unemployment); people skip straight over the mass misery to the "the revolution's a good thing because it gets rid of the greedy capitalists that caused the mass misery" without checking whether the causes of the mass misery are the same as the ones they're revolting against.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2017
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  4. Nachtfischer

    Nachtfischer Well-Known Member

    If anyone wants to get an idea of what Marx is about without going through 90-minute talks or hundreds of pages, I can recommend this video:
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  5. Hogflute

    Hogflute New Member

    He was a sad person that got financed by the very thing he wanted to get rid of... a capitalist.

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