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Marxist Class Theory and failure

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posted on Oct, 8 2009 @ 04:13 PM
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All of the class struggle and 'rich getting richer' mentality I hear on ATS has inspired me to write a formal rebuttal to the widely accepted claim that the class struggle is based on the slave/master relationship of the poorer class and wealthier class respectively.
The proletariat and the bourgeois is what Marx called them.

Before I go into detail I must make one key point. Marx's class theory is pervasive. You find it on all levels of society and all ends of the political spectrum. Conservatives and Liberals alike adhere to the theory and the damage has already been done. The world is a little Marxist, and Marx was wrong.


As a member of ATS, I urge all who read this to deny ignorance and peel away the layers of indoctrination. That is why we are all here.


Marx mislabeled the oppressor class. The slave/master relationship exists, as Marx realized, but it exists not as proletariat (the poor) and the bourgeois (the wealthy) but as parasite and host.
The fundamental idea behind Marx's class theory is exploitation of the worker. This is what drives the theory. The rich exploit the poor for their labor, but what is exploitative about a voluntary exchange of goods for services? The worker is not coerced into working by the employer, but there is an instance where exploitation exists. This instance of exploitation, incidentally, is the excuse for Marxist policy, but the policy (wage rates, price caps, anything that gives the illusion that the worker is controlling his/her labor) does nothing but enhance the exploitation. We see this in the failed socialist states of the 20th century.

Marx missed the point. The parasite isn't those with all the money but those with all control of the guns and legal use thereof and the host isn't those that don't have the money, but those that don't any control of their labor, their property, and their wealth.

I am talking about the political class being the masters of those controlled by government.

The Political Class- All people that derive their wealth or sustenance from the existence of the state. These are politicians, 'private' firms that control politicians, corporations that rely on state handouts, or anyone that can legally impose their will unto a person for the personal gain of said person. These people rely on the theft of the fruits of other peoples labor and will use all in the arsenal to maintain this status quo as they have the greatest incentive to do so.

The Oppressed Class- All those that gain their wealth purely in the market are the host. They supply the capital for their own oppression. They cannot exist outside the state without meeting jail time, because the state has built in a system of fail-safes to maintain power. Don't pay taxes? You are fined or sent directly to jail. Don't pay fine? Jail.

Think about it. Why in Marxist states in the 20th century, do you still see the oppression Marx himself avowed to dismantle? Because his ideas removed the ability of the market to work in spite of the government.

Look at China and Hong Kong. Historicically, China has seen a greater economic growth and across the board increase in standard of living when the loosen Marxist controls on the market. As The Great Leap Forward was creating food shortages in China, Hong Kong, being a very laissez-faire hub, was becoming the regions primary center for foreign investment in the region.




posted on Oct, 8 2009 @ 05:06 PM
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While I understand your point, that the state ultimately throws a wrench in the works by allowing those who already have resources to suck more resources out by mandate -- thereby making the parasite the state and those who suck on the tit of the state. I think it's important to more fundamentally understand the following notion that you brought up:


Originally posted by DINSTAAR
The fundamental idea behind Marx's class theory is exploitation of the worker. This is what drives the theory. The rich exploit the poor for their labor, but what is exploitative about a voluntary exchange of goods for services? The worker is not coerced into working by the employer, but there is an instance where exploitation exists.


Consider, would an employer hire a person to work for them if they weren't getting more than what they were paying the employee? If that's the case then the good being exchanged (money) for a service (human work) is actually tantamount to an exchange of money in the here and now (at less value) for more money in the future (with the hopes that the money will produce excess value for the owner of the company).

The question then becomes is this a zero sum game?

Obviously, otherwise the employee would live as well as the employer, but this is rarely the case unless the employers goal is to provide profit sharing. So really the goal of a successful company is to pay less money to its employees than what the system produces for the person providing the money. Meaning inherently the design is if I have the means of production (money), my goal is to get more by driving down costs (paying employees less) to increase the means of the company.

Now I respect and empathize with the statement that the employee doesn't have to accept this inequality. However we both know, fundamentally, all companies strive for this inequality. So a rational employee then tries to evaluate all companies on the market to determine the best ratio of time / conditions / pay. In the process we hope that we converge on a point where the employee makes the maximal profit, as the market will bear, driving the difference close to 0 between employee cost / company profit. It's assumed that the company that does this will attract better employees. Making them more competitive in the market place.

However this further assumes that the difference in level of productivity between varying employees matters and / or that there's not market saturation. In many service fields this is no longer the case (IE. fast-food industry). Thus the market can afford to lay-off skilled employees because the difference between skilled and unskilled workers is minimal and not worth the increased cost in terms of salary.

Put more succinctly society through technology eventually makes all people unnecessary over time.

That being the case, the problem with capitalism is simple. It pretends it's not a zero-sum game.

The problem with Marxism is it assumes that people are equally motivated and deserving. Unfortunately this isn't true and it drives down efficiency.

The component that many people seem to not realize is that over-time efficiency becomes less important. When that happens fundamentally we need to balance the ratio of capitalism to socialism as the physically exigent world dictates it not based on philosophical principles that ignore what nature is actually imposing on us.




EDIT: Made it more clear as to why capitalism as a philosophy is often misrepresented as to what it provides, because people assume it enables us to have a non-zero sum-game when in reality there is a zero-sum game occurring.

[edit on 8-10-2009 by Xtraeme]



posted on Oct, 8 2009 @ 05:36 PM
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reply to post by Xtraeme
 




Now I respect and empathize with the statement that the employee doesn't have to accept this inequality. However we both know, fundamentally, all companies strive for this inequality.


This inequality is what drives production in the first place. If the motivation for innovation does not exist, why innovate? Altruism?



That being the case, the problem with capitalism is simple. It's not a zero-sum game.


Problem? In a zero-sum game, you have winners, and losers. In a non zero-sum game all parties strive to make profit and if they invest responsibly, they can all profit. While you always have those that lose investment, they are all motivated gain.

Exploitation aside, it is about freedom. The worker is free to choose his employer and the inverse.



The component that many people seem to not realize is that over-time efficiency becomes less important. When that happens fundamentally we need to balance the ratio of capitalism to socialism as the physically exigent world dictates it not based on philosophical principles that ignore what nature is actually imposing on us.


By "we" it is meant the intrusive, system of violence that is known as government. This is not the best answer to our problems and generally causes the problems in the first place.

To balance socialism and capitalism can simply be called state-capitalism or corporatism.



posted on Oct, 8 2009 @ 06:28 PM
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Originally posted by DINSTAAR
reply to post by Xtraeme
 




Now I respect and empathize with the statement that the employee doesn't have to accept this inequality. However we both know, fundamentally, all companies strive for this inequality.

This inequality is what drives production in the first place. If the motivation for innovation does not exist, why innovate? Altruism?


It's an assumption to think that's the only motivator. Boredom, curiosity, & prestige are equally good incentives.

We can look at history and see this is reliably the case. Why did Tesla develop his theories? A large portion of his work was produced out of sheer fascination and innate capability. Look at Linux. It wasn't greed that made the product, but rather fascination and boredom. Likewise look at the suite of protocols that make up the Internet. All of these were created through RFCs involving various individuals who received no royalties or patents that make it possible for us to have this conversation. All provided courtesy of research organizations, higher places of learning, and, amazingly, the government.




That being the case, the problem with capitalism is simple. It's not a zero-sum game.

Problem? In a zero-sum game, you have winners, and losers. In a non zero-sum game all parties strive to make profit and if they invest responsibly, they can all profit. While you always have those that lose investment, they are all motivated gain.

Exploitation aside, it is about freedom. The worker is free to choose his employer and the inverse.


To assume all people can win equally is to effectively break the 2nd law of thermodynamics. You can't break even. Economics is fundamentally tied to physical reality. To assume we can superimpose a win-win situation on a physical world that is in the process of decomposition towards a 0-state is intrinsically flawed.

Assuming the counterparties are acting rationally then any commercial exchange is a non-zero-sum activity, because each party must consider (think not actually be) that the goods it is receiving as being at least fractionally more valuable than the goods it is delivering. Economic exchanges must benefit both parties enough above the zero-sum such that each party can overcome its transaction costs.

As for your point about freedom, the employee is only free to choose his employer if he has another place to go. If it's a natural monopoly, say like, the energy industry, that's not the case. In fact trending the number of mom and pop-shops to corporate conglomerates it becomes easy to see over-time, due to cash reserves and pre-built relationships / efficiencies, that large organizations eventually overshadow small companies and start-ups.

Walmart is a classic example of a company that can outperform any mom-and-pop shop in every manner. As an industry matures the money needed to compete with those who are established grows exponentially.




The component that many people seem to not realize is that over-time efficiency becomes less important. When that happens fundamentally we need to balance the ratio of capitalism to socialism as the physically exigent world dictates it not based on philosophical principles that ignore what nature is actually imposing on us.

By "we" it is meant the intrusive, system of violence that is known as government. This is not the best answer to our problems and generally causes the problems in the first place.

To balance socialism and capitalism can simply be called state-capitalism or corporatism.


Large institutions like NASA (which no private investor could afford) provides humanity hidden rewards that are a soft-sells because they don't result in immediate economic return. Pure capitalism would kill these sorts of institutions.

Likewise if technology is available to provide all people a basic improved social minimum why not be our brothers keeper and provide the service free of charge? Or to express this idea in a more easy to grasp manner, "What sort of economy would we have if we had robots running things?" We're getting closer every day towards this goal (robotic work-forces are regularly employed in assembly). When we eventually come up with a way to reliably and sustainably provide food (vertical farms / hydroponics / etc), water (atmospheric water generators), & shelter to all people for little to no effort, an economic change fundamentally needs to occur because why should anyone have to pay towards something that is sustainably and abundantly available?

[edit on 8-10-2009 by Xtraeme]



posted on Oct, 9 2009 @ 04:14 PM
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reply to post by Xtraeme
 




It's an assumption to think that's the only motivator. Boredom, curiosity, & prestige are equally good incentives.


Curiosity does not pay the mortgage.



It wasn't greed that made the product, but rather fascination and boredom. Likewise look at the suite of protocols that make up the Internet. All of these were created through RFCs involving various individuals who received no royalties or patents that make it possible for us to have this conversation.


Linux came about as a more efficient way to advance technology. Their motivation was innovation without monetary gain, but some of the greatest advancements in the Open Source community have been through monetary gain. Red Hat and others are changing the game.



To assume all people can win equally is to effectively break the 2nd law of thermodynamics. You can't break even. Economics is fundamentally tied to physical reality. To assume we can superimpose a win-win situation on a physical world that is in the process of decomposition towards a 0-state is intrinsically flawed.


Economic value is completely up to the individual. In a trade, both parties can win. I have money and I want food. You have food and want money. We trade and both get what exactly we wanted.
If you put an intrinsic value on something and connect its value to the labor or cost to produce you have a problem if the item has little or no utility. What does a sheet of asbestos insulation cost now that we have discovered its negative effects? It cost money and labor to produce, but why is it worth less now? Time preferences change the cost of items as well as personal need or want.



Assuming the counterparties are acting rationally then any commercial exchange is a non-zero-sum activity, because each party must consider (think not actually be) that the goods it is receiving as being at least fractionally more valuable than the goods it is delivering. Economic exchanges must benefit both parties enough above the zero-sum such that each party can overcome its transaction costs.


I am confused about your statement. Are you disagreeing and agreeing with me? You say that our economy is bound by the physical laws that govern the universe, but at the same time you say exchanges break these laws.



Large institutions like NASA (which no private investor could afford) provides humanity hidden rewards that are a soft-sells because they don't result in immediate economic return. Pure capitalism would kill these sorts of institutions.


This is a classical example of the fallacy of government solipotence. Also, is NASA a sufficient justification of theft? Besides, NASA was created to fight the Soviet Union in a game of who has the bigger penis.



Likewise if technology is available to provide all people a basic improved social minimum why not be our brothers keeper and provide the service free of charge?


Free as in payed for by theft and violence. Why not be our brothers keeper and not impose a system of violence on him and all he owns? If you want to help people out, do it, but don't force others to do so as well.



Or to express this idea in a more easy to grasp manner, "What sort of economy would we have if we had robots running things?" We're getting closer every day towards this goal (robotic work-forces are regularly employed in assembly). When we eventually come up with a way to reliably and sustainably provide food (vertical farms / hydroponics / etc), water (atmospheric water generators), & shelter to all people for little to no effort, an economic change fundamentally needs to occur because why should anyone have to pay towards something that is sustainably and abundantly available?


This reminds me of Terry Gilliam's film "Brazil" where the world is a dystopian gigantic government machine riddled with inefficiency and ignorance.

How can we assume that when I get things I buy them and they have a cost, but when the government does so, there is no cost. The government derives its power out of forced compliance. Does the government own me? If not, why am I powerless to reject its control.



posted on Oct, 9 2009 @ 04:29 PM
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reply to post by DINSTAAR
 


I do see by far how the parasite and host metaphor is realized in some instances, whether it is Fascism, Marxism, or Socialism, is however in hot dispute, because ultimately, they are all the same face of the duplicitous bastards in control, the power elite.

Seeing as how the Bolshevik's seized power from the Tsar's in power in 1917, who were put into power by Wall Street through sending in the Red Cross no less to act as covert spies with a public face of facilitating relief and aid, but who replaced the Russian elite in order to give this country a taste of Democracy, later taken away by Stalin through his dictatorial savagery.

The Gulag Archipelago, 1918-1956: An Experiment in Literary Investigation


Amazon Review :

The Gulag Archipelago is Solzhenitsyn’s attempt to compile a literary-historical record of the vast system of prisons and labor camps that came into being shortly after the Bolsheviks seized power in Russia in 1917 and that underwent an enormous expansion during the rule of Stalin from 1924 to 1953.

Various sections of the three volumes describe the arrest, interrogation, conviction, transportation, and imprisonment of the Gulag’s victims by Soviet authorities over four decades.

The work mingles historical exposition and Solzhenitsyn’s own autobiographical accounts with the voluminous personal testimony of other inmates that he collected and committed to memory during his imprisonment.

Upon publication of the first volume of The Gulag Archipelago, Solzhenitsyn was immediately attacked in the Soviet press.

Despite the intense interest in his fate that was shown in the West, he was arrested and charged with treason on February 12, 1974, and was exiled from the Soviet Union the following day.


The Creature from Jekyll Island : A Second Look at the Federal Reserve

According to what I have read of various well respected authors from all aspects of these regimes, Anthony Sutton, G. Edward Griffin, Ladislas Farago, and a host of other authors, it is often not necessarily the type of Government, or faction therein, but the power elite behind the scenes, controlling the purse strings and as well pulling the puppet strings who are really and truly in control of what exactly is going on.

Whether Marx was right, or not, I cannot say, but I do know this and that is that those in power believe they are unstoppable, which is almost correct, only so far as they have money to buy those who would expose them, influence people to silence them, or enough money to crush them and their reputation completely.

The slave and master role is interchangeable as well, because every now and then the need for a new face to the same evil is necessary, whether it is through mutual agreement of the power elite, or a silent coup through buy-outs, acquisitions, or through ruthless leveraged hostile takeovers is often the stories of our conspiracy theories here on ATS in just how the power was stolen, shifted, or outright bought.

I have read or heard of many book which have assisted me in arriving to this particular belief :

Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution

Wall Street and F.D.R. (on my list to read)

Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler

The Game of the Foxes

The Medusa Project

The Creature from Jekyll Island : A Second Look at the Federal Reserve

Tragedy and Hope (on my list to read)

This is the short list as well because there are a host of other books that delve into this misfit maze of money, myopia, and misguided malarkey.

[edit on 9-10-2009 by SpartanKingLeonidas]



posted on Oct, 9 2009 @ 04:38 PM
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reply to post by DINSTAAR
 


So if I understand you correctly you are replacing one marxist "poor-victim" scenario (workers vs. rich) with another one (us vs. state)?

[edit on 9-10-2009 by Skyfloating]



posted on Oct, 9 2009 @ 05:17 PM
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reply to post by Skyfloating
 


Yes, with one exception. The state derives its power from the labor and trade of individuals who have no choice but to bow to its power, but there are those outside of government employment who utilize the states power (through manipulation, lobbying) to impose the power of government on the people for their own gains.

The political class is made up of people that control the state. Think of the state as a tool that the political class uses to impose their will.

More of a "Sheep vs. Herder" mentality or a "Child vs. Parent". The problem is that we are not sheep and we are not children. The Herder or Parent uses a false pretense for support of it's claim of dominance.




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