Marxist Communism as a Utopian Concept

Introduction

Marxist communism is an economic theory put forward by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. They advocated for the abolition of capitalism because they believed it caused exploitation of the majority poor by the minority rich. Most of the conflicts in societies, they argued, resulted from the fights over the means of production between the rich and the poor. The poor who have no machinery for production ended up being exploited for the rich’s benefit. As a way of solving these problems, the poor had to form groups and fight for their rights because this gave them power over the rich (Molyneux para.2-4). Modern Marxism has included other factors like gender, ethnicity and race. People divide others based on their race or sex for their own individual benefits and this should be removed to equalize the society and make it egalitarian. Most countries in the 20th century tried this system but failed (O’Laughlin 341-345). This essay argues that Marxist communism is imperfect and can still not be applied today.

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Why Marxism cannot be applied

After the Civil War that ended in 1921, there was segregation in the Soviet Union. There emerged a class of peasants and workers. The Soviet Union was officially founded in 1922 during the reign of Lenin. Joseph Stalin succeeded Lenin, after the latter’s death in 1924. It was Stalin who helped establish communism. After World War II, the Soviet Union surfaced as a superpower. This marked the rise of Marxism as a leading ideology. The Soviet Union’s participation in communism encouraged other countries to take the Marxist approach. Consequently, in the twentieth century, communist parties emerged in other states like Cuba, North Korea, Laos, China and Vietnam (Gulag 720). However, communism in many of these states failed. They later formed an organization called Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (COMECON) to serve as a framework for cooperation among planned economies of the Soviet Union with her allies, in Eastern Europe and later in the third world. Eventually, they had realized that it was wrong to leave out the international trade partnerships that capitalism had created (O’Laughlin 341-345).

Divisions among leaders on how certain features of Marxism would be integrated into the society emerged. The Soviet Union on her part found her economy being stunted. The initial Marxist intentions were to eliminate the oppression of the poor by abolishing classes and allowing states to control the means of production. Decisions in this ideal society were to be democratic and the whole society was to participate. This fails to explain why some states like Cuba and Yugoslavia became authoritarian after adopting communism (Riordan 13). These economies were characterized by state ownership of vital resources, which involved the participation of the whole population —which in most cases led to inefficiency. In addition, states boosted group tenure of the method of production and all decisions were made by the ruling communist party. Our current mindset and values make it apt to become coercive and the state to dominate, meaning the rulers may become despots (Furtak 37). When the entire society makes decisions, it is unlikely that everyone would agree on the same point.

Why Marxism is imperfect

Marxist communism is imperfect. It cannot efficiently control market prices because the state is the sole owner of capital. It is difficult to work out economic progress if the factors of production like machinery are owned by the state. The market value of products would be difficult to determine. In fact, people do not always act under the manipulation of economic pressures. Individual character is unpredictable and cannot be used to explain why some people would choose to work or not even when they have basic needs to meet (Riordan 11).

In the contemporary world, China is moving away from communism to the market allocation system of governance because they realized the economic advancement would be nurtured by the private sector. China claims to preserve socialism for the sustenance of a high rate of economic growth (Walder 13). In 1997, the Beijing leadership indicated that they had the final word in decision-making over political and economic affairs. The communist party maintains the duty of controlling trade through the issuance of policies and subsidies to companies as an incentive but it doesn’t own the means of production.

What Marx would think

In this regard, Marx would suggest a fusion of Communism and capitalism to give rise to socio-capitalism. Both systems support minimum intervention in the market: Capitalism states that the state should protect its people against unfair competition, while socialism supports limitation on market prices by the state to limit middlemen from exploiting consumers and increase the utility of resources. A combination of the two gives social-capitalism (Jagannathan para. 3).

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By helping the poor, the output is enhanced and the government can support free-market while regulating the trade. The result will be the accommodation of the poor by giving them food and better housing, sponsored by the government. This will in turn enhance economic stability because the society eliminates crime caused by poverty and improves security for businesses to perform and the problem of a class is reduced.

A market economy could be the best way of running an economy for the benefit of all (Friedman 1). The economic society reflects a superstructure, which integrates the religious, economic, social and political aspects. Therefore, by encompassing these aspects with Marxist communism, the society is bound to achieve development (Marx 7-8). If all people were to be taken as equal, then society could not develop. It is through competition for scarce resources that human beings develop. Marx himself admitted that the theory could not explain the development of “Asiatic” social systems, where the majority of people lived (Robert 47).

Conclusion

The emergency of Marxist ideas was meant to reduce the oppression of the poor by the rich but a deeper analysis has shown that most initially communist countries are combining capitalism and communism. They realized that communism is imperfect. Indeed, we need to reduce class divisions and oppression by having a system that enhances equal access to scarce resources but competition has to be there to improve quality. There is no point in having a society with equality but crippled with economic stagnation.

Works Cited

Friedman, Milton (Producer). “Free to Choose: The power of the market.” TV Series (Online). 2006. Web.

Furtak, Robert K. The political systems of the socialist state. New York: St. Martin’s Press. 1986.

Gulag, Anne A. A History. New York: Broadway Books. 2003.

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Jagannathan, Ravi. “Socio-Capitalism set to become the New Economic Doctrine.” 2009. Web.

Marx, Karl. Preface to a Critique of Political Economy. London: The Electric Book Company. 2001.

Molyneux, John. What is the real Marxist tradition? London: bookmarks. 1983. 2009. Web.

O’Laughlin, Bridget. “Marxist Approaches in Anthropology.” Annual Review of Anthropology, 4(1975):341–70. Web.

Riordan, Patrick (Ed.). “What is left of socialism?” Values in public Life: Aspects Of common goods. Berlin: LIT Verlag. 2007

Robert, Cliff. Reflections on a Ravaged Century. New York: W. W. Norton and Company. 2000.

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Walder, Andrew G (Ed.) Waning of the Communist State: Economic Origins of the Political Decline in China & Hungary. Berkeley: University of California Press. 1995.

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