View Poll Results: Was Karl Marx a bad person?

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  • Yes, he espoused evil beliefs intentionally

    41 23.56%
  • No, he was just misguided, and possibly loony

    43 24.71%
  • No, he was right

    54 31.03%
  • IDK/Other

    36 20.69%
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Thread: Was Karl Marx a bad person?

  1. #61
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    Re: Was Karl Marx a bad person?

    Quote Originally Posted by Karl View Post
    I'd say his book is just as pertinent now as when it was written; the rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer -- at least in the USA. Historically, this ultimately leads to popular revolution (for a modern example, ref: Marcos in the Philippines).
    Maybe, but it is hard to say what he would think of the modern system in the US compared to what he actually saw. Like I said, he might not have as much of a problem with today then he did of his time.
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    Re: Was Karl Marx a bad person?

    Quote Originally Posted by soccerboy22 View Post
    Maybe, but it is hard to say what he would think of the modern system in the US compared to what he actually saw. Like I said, he might not have as much of a problem with today then he did of his time.
    He wasn't writing about working conditions. He was writing about how one class (rich) was exploiting another class (poor). That continues today, and unfortunately probably will continue for hundreds of years. However, I am hopeful that the human condition will eventually evolve into something that approximates Marx's ultimate vision (everyone voluntarily wanting to improve society where greed has become extinct).

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    Re: Was Karl Marx a bad person?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gipper View Post
    I read this whole thing, and I was looking for one word that I never found - scarcity.

    Scarcity is the fundamental measuring stick of economics, and Marx was ignorant to its existence.
    It is absurd to say Marx was unaware of the existence of scarcity. Marx was well versed in the major classical economists and in the history of Europe. An economic category as big as scarcity didn't somehow just miss him.

    What Marx contended was that under capitalism scarcity was no longer the driving factor of the economy. In advanced capitalist economies food and shelter no longer become truly scarce. Production has reached a point where we can reasonably expect to feed and house everybody in the capitalist economy. When people can't buy food or find housing it isn't usually a matter of supply, but of demand. In this economy we can see exactly that happening. There is a crisis in the housing market because the demand is outweighing the supply. Tons of food goes to waste in this country because there isn't the demand to buy it.

    In its traditional sense scarcity is no longer an issue in the type of capitalist economies Marx described. Thus something beyond scarcity must be used to understand economics. There is no such thing as a scarcity of iphones or computers because they don't serve basic material needs. Instead the production and distribution of iphones and computers is based entirely on social conventions.

    You talked about the W/DP in relations to (what a surprise) social structure, i.e. costs involved to bring to market. At no point does Marx address value based on rarity of such diamonds and real costs.
    If man succeeded, without much labour, in transforming carbon into diamonds, their value might fall below that of bricks. -Capital Volume 1
    While synthetic diamonds haven't been able to match natural diamonds 100% in chemistry or quality Marx's general point seems to stand. Synthetic diamonds that take less average man hours to produce and bring to market are less expensive than natural diamonds.

    His version of LTV had no address for involving ability and availability when it comes to labor. He determined that labor was its own measure and its own currency, and that it was equal across the board. Sweeping the street has equal merit to solving equations or mixing chemicals. It's a scary thought, as an extreme version of that school of thought resulted in Mao slaughtering several tens of millions of people.
    Marx was following a similar enlightenment tradition that the founding fathers did in his notion of human equality. Humans share basic biological and cognitive qualities that call for a basic equality. That isn't to say every human is equally in literally every way.

    This, if you were wondering, is why Marx created the distinction between concrete and abstract labor. In the first few pages of Capital Marx explains that a commodities value is determined by the abstract human labor put into it. The actual concrete labor put into the actual individual commodity produced means nothing on the market side of things. The market doesn't care about how hard you individually worked on something if the average amount of labor put into that type of commodity allows the price to be lower. On the other hand, if you develop a technique which allows you to produce that commodity in less time, you can sell it for less than the average cost. If that technique becomes widespread the average abstract human labor time needed to go into will go down, which will cause it to be valued less on the market.

    Of course all of this is only the basic hinge on which Marx thought economics works, not the end all be all of economics that some of his critics claim he thought. To grossly over simplify his arguments and then rashly connect them to distant political movements shows a loyalty to opportunism rather than intellectualism.

    And in case there's subject of argument, I actually have read Das Kapital and The Communist Manifesto. Been a while, but I have.
    Honestly I am still working through the beginning of Capital, though I have already several of his other major works (some of his early Critiques of Hegel, Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844, The German Ideology, the Communist Manifesto, Critique of the Gotha Program, the preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy). Where I have not read as much of Marx's Magnum Opus as you it seems that I have studied much more or it.

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    Re: Was Karl Marx a bad person?

    Quote Originally Posted by E-M
    It is absurd to say Marx was unaware of the existence of scarcity. Marx was well versed in the major classical economists and in the history of Europe. An economic category as big as scarcity didn't somehow just miss him.

    What Marx contended was that under capitalism scarcity was no longer the driving factor of the economy. In advanced capitalist economies food and shelter no longer become truly scarce. Production has reached a point where we can reasonably expect to feed and house everybody in the capitalist economy. When people can't buy food or find housing it isn't usually a matter of supply, but of demand. In this economy we can see exactly that happening. There is a crisis in the housing market because the demand is outweighing the supply. Tons of food goes to waste in this country because there isn't the demand to buy it.

    In its traditional sense scarcity is no longer an issue in the type of capitalist economies Marx described. Thus something beyond scarcity must be used to understand economics. There is no such thing as a scarcity of iphones or computers because they don't serve basic material needs. Instead the production and distribution of iphones and computers is based entirely on social conventions.
    Okay, I'll reword - he wasn't ignorant to its existence, but to its function and application.

    Food, water, and shelter does exist at a level where everyone can be fed and sheltered, but this is because it is driven by classical macroeconomic policies. Marxist thought eventually leads to stagnation and an internal collapse on itself as time and the world passes it by. A truly Marxist state today would be about as evolved and advanced as America would be back in the pioneer days. Greed has been a driving force for man to advance in science, technology, medicine, and general betterment of society. Yeah, under Marxist philosophy nobody would freeze or starve to death, but those are the only benefits they would have. You wouldn't have that computer you're using unless you traded grain with an advanced society.

    While synthetic diamonds haven't been able to match natural diamonds 100% in chemistry or quality Marx's general point seems to stand. Synthetic diamonds that take less average man hours to produce and bring to market are less expensive than natural diamonds.
    They fetch less because they're not real diamonds. There has to be intrinsic value applied to the time it takes for the earth to crush carbon into shiny little stones. Having said that, I won't argue this point because I'm not female, and I think arguing over the value of diamonds is really a female thing because they raise the cost through sentimentality and other girly bullcrap.

    Marx was following a similar enlightenment tradition that the founding fathers did in his notion of human equality. Humans share basic biological and cognitive qualities that call for a basic equality. That isn't to say every human is equally in literally every way.

    This, if you were wondering, is why Marx created the distinction between concrete and abstract labor. In the first few pages of Capital Marx explains that a commodities value is determined by the abstract human labor put into it. The actual concrete labor put into the actual individual commodity produced means nothing on the market side of things. The market doesn't care about how hard you individually worked on something if the average amount of labor put into that type of commodity allows the price to be lower. On the other hand, if you develop a technique which allows you to produce that commodity in less time, you can sell it for less than the average cost. If that technique becomes widespread the average abstract human labor time needed to go into will go down, which will cause it to be valued less on the market.

    Of course all of this is only the basic hinge on which Marx thought economics works, not the end all be all of economics that some of his critics claim he thought. To grossly over simplify his arguments and then rashly connect them to distant political movements shows a loyalty to opportunism rather than intellectualism.
    This is one of the staples to why Maxism fails. If I spent 3000 man-hours trying to build a rocketship to Saturn with some old crates and chicken wire, does it have real value to society? Of course not. Labor does not automatically equal value, and valuable labor does not have a fixed determinant value. A street-sweeper has less intrinsic value than an engineer, despite the fact that they both perform necessary functions in society, because of the amount of people who can perform each task is quite varied.

    Marx was not an economist. He had no original thought that had economic principle, but only referenced classical economics and put a faulty humanistic theoretical spin on it that numbers simply don't back up. He was a philosopher, and that's all. His belief structure systematically fails from a statistical and numerical standpoint.

    Honestly I am still working through the beginning of Capital, though I have already several of his other major works (some of his early Critiques of Hegel, Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844, The German Ideology, the Communist Manifesto, Critique of the Gotha Program, the preface to A Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy). Where I have not read as much of Marx's Magnum Opus as you it seems that I have studied much more or it.
    Oh, I'm sure you've studied Marxism much more than I have, because my degree in economics requires a much more broad view and critique, involving some mildly complicated math to determine principles and accepted theories. Marxism was mostly discussed in the 5 minutes before the end of class because occasionally some hippie-student would challenge the professor with some unproven viewpoints and put him on point. My study of Marxism was mostly independent, as no economics lecturer worth his salt at a major university level would have a student do a report or paper on this subject. That's what liberal arts is for.

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    Re: Was Karl Marx a bad person?

    Quote Originally Posted by teamosil View Post
    You are only concerned about being controlled by the government, but you don't mind being controlled by a corporation.
    Actually, I am not controlled by a corporation. Also, I do not advocate or support corporatism or coporate protections. My personal views are to change coorporate laws and protections to sponsor greater competition and introduction of new technologies and products. Corporations should not be protected, market segments should not be protected. If ceramic replaces metal as primary engine materials, will the steel industruy loose jobs, sure, but the ceramic industry will be hiring. Same with using Carbon nano tubes and other technologies.

    Currently, our patent laws allow corporations to hide and kill off technologies that would compete against them. It allows inventers to be tied up for decades in courts at a cost they could never meet. Change these laws, give companies 2-3 years to develope marketable products off of a patent, if the don't, the patent reverts to original holder without them paying anything back. If companies hold usefull patents that it created but will not allow introduction of new products because the new products would lower their profit margin, then that patent goes public after 2-3 years if the company makes no use of it.

    Instead of protecting corporations, do away with any such laws and make laws that encourage open competition in markets, not ones that restrict competition. Set up some type of funding system to get these upstarts going and by all means, do something will all the litigation. Maybe the answer to the litigation problem would be to instead of stopping all contested products, the new companies profits can go into a fund that goes to the winner of the litigation and all costs for litigation is paid by the party that brings the suit.

  6. #66
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    Re: Was Karl Marx a bad person?

    Quote Originally Posted by DVSentinel View Post
    Actually, I am not controlled by a corporation.
    Sure you are. To some extent, we're all controlled by both corporations and the government. Absent government, the control of the corporations would be absolute. Absent the private sector, the control of government would be absolute. Without government, monopolies would form and corporations could simply decide what they wanted you to do and what they would give you for it. They could set wages and prices however they wanted. They could use up all the resources, pollute all they liked, sell you products that cause you to get cancer, etc. Government is the only real check on corporate control. Voting is the only real check on government.

    Shifting some power to corporations from government has some appeal. You are able to make decisions individually rather than collectively when dealing with a corporation, where we need to act collectively with government. That is the cornerstone of the conservative point of view. On the other hand, shifting power from corporations to government has appeal as well. While we need to make decisions collectively with regards to government, the total power of the people is greater when we act together, so we can accomplish our shared goals more effectively. That is the cornerstone of the liberal point of view.

    It isn't about either perspective being right and the other wrong, it is about finding the right balance. Neither extreme is appealing at all to anybody. In my view, we need to shift a bit more of the power back towards the government. Corporate abuses are getting to be too oppressive. The median productivity in the US is $97k/year, but the median total compensation is only $44k/year. The shady practices of corporations are starting to destroy the economy. Corporations are foisting massive externalities on to the public without our consent. We need to reel in some of that stuff. Increasing competition, like you describe below, is a part of the solution. In too many industries there are really only two or three serious players, which I think goes a long way to explaining how they get away with paying people less than half what they're worth and charging twice what their products are worth. But that isn't all we need to do. Externalities needs to be more strictly regulated and the shady Bain style of playing capitalism like it is a game where you're looking for loopholes and scams rather than looking to build up the economy needs to be addressed.

    Quote Originally Posted by DVSentinel View Post
    Also, I do not advocate or support corporatism or coporate protections. My personal views are to change coorporate laws and protections to sponsor greater competition and introduction of new technologies and products. Corporations should not be protected, market segments should not be protected. If ceramic replaces metal as primary engine materials, will the steel industruy loose jobs, sure, but the ceramic industry will be hiring. Same with using Carbon nano tubes and other technologies.

    Currently, our patent laws allow corporations to hide and kill off technologies that would compete against them. It allows inventers to be tied up for decades in courts at a cost they could never meet. Change these laws, give companies 2-3 years to develope marketable products off of a patent, if the don't, the patent reverts to original holder without them paying anything back. If companies hold usefull patents that it created but will not allow introduction of new products because the new products would lower their profit margin, then that patent goes public after 2-3 years if the company makes no use of it.

    Instead of protecting corporations, do away with any such laws and make laws that encourage open competition in markets, not ones that restrict competition. Set up some type of funding system to get these upstarts going and by all means, do something will all the litigation. Maybe the answer to the litigation problem would be to instead of stopping all contested products, the new companies profits can go into a fund that goes to the winner of the litigation and all costs for litigation is paid by the party that brings the suit.
    I think those are all good ideas.
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    Re: Was Karl Marx a bad person?

    Quote Originally Posted by teamosil
    Without government, monopolies would form and corporations could simply decide what they wanted you to do and what they would give you for it. They could set wages and prices however they wanted. They could use up all the resources, pollute all they liked, sell you products that cause you to get cancer, etc. Government is the only real check on corporate control. Voting is the only real check on government.
    I can't tell if you're being sarcastic or monumentally dense. You cannot create monopolies on goods that are even remotely elastic. If you want to argue a few industries are prone to monopolization (Big Oil, the diamond cartel, Big Pharm), I can't refute that. However, to suggest that a monopoly will simply arise over every facet, product, or mean of production is laughably false. Proctor & Gamble will never hold a monopoly on household products, Birdseye will never hold a monopoly on vegetables, and General Motors will never hold a monopoly on vehicles. You act as if impossible barriers of entry exist on every industry that affects our lives. This is patently incorrect, and you're pretty much playing a Chicken Little role while railing against competition and capitalism.

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    Re: Was Karl Marx a bad person?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gipper View Post
    You act as if impossible barriers of entry exist on every industry that affects our lives.
    No, I'm saying those barriers to entry would be erected if there were no government at all. The sorts of tactics they use today to keep out competition like price sharking and mergers and retaliation against companies that do business with the newcomer and whatnot would go totally unchecked. By itself that would be enough to keep competitors out of pretty much every industry. But with no government, that would hardly even be the start of it. They could burn down the stores of competitors, bribe the CEOs of competitors to destroy the company, plant stories about how the other company's baby food is made out of rat droppings, whatever they wanted.
    Total tax rates- People living in poverty: 16.2%. The median American: 27%. Working people who make over $140k/year: 31%. The top 1%: 30%. Super rich investors: around 15%. Help the democrats retake the house.

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    Re: Was Karl Marx a bad person?

    Government IS the biggest barrier to entry. All those TRUE monopolies I listed exist because there are legislative barriers. If you wanted to (and had the money), you could build a chain of stores in an effort to curb business from Wal-mart or Target or what have you. You could operate your own farmer market and sell veggies at whatever cost you felt was fair.

    However, if you discovered a cure for cancer and tried to go onto the internet to sell it, the FDA would come to your house and do everything but shoot you dead where you stood (and some conspiracy theorists would argue they'd do that too). If you stumbled upon an alternate form of energy, any of a dozen agencies would put your ass in chains.

    Those are government enforced monopolies.

    Also, price dumping and predatory tactics cannot be maintained in long-run economics, so even if the illegality of those were revoked, it would not persist.

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    Re: Was Karl Marx a bad person?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gipper View Post
    Government IS the biggest barrier to entry. All those TRUE monopolies I listed exist because there are legislative barriers. If you wanted to (and had the money), you could build a chain of stores in an effort to curb business from Wal-mart or Target or what have you. You could operate your own farmer market and sell veggies at whatever cost you felt was fair.

    However, if you discovered a cure for cancer and tried to go onto the internet to sell it, the FDA would come to your house and do everything but shoot you dead where you stood (and some conspiracy theorists would argue they'd do that too). If you stumbled upon an alternate form of energy, any of a dozen agencies would put your ass in chains.

    Those are government enforced monopolies.

    Also, price dumping and predatory tactics cannot be maintained in long-run economics, so even if the illegality of those were revoked, it would not persist.
    You're not really responding to what I am saying. Without government, those tactics would allow monopolies to go unchecked. Saying that in some cases government creates monopolies doesn't counter that.
    Total tax rates- People living in poverty: 16.2%. The median American: 27%. Working people who make over $140k/year: 31%. The top 1%: 30%. Super rich investors: around 15%. Help the democrats retake the house.

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