Marx was wrong

in liberty •  last year

Not that I'm surprised.

As mentioned in my most recent newspaper column, I recently read Marx's "Wage Labour and Capital" at the suggestion of someone here on Steemit. Someone who disagreed with me and thought Karl Marx had the answer I was missing.

He didn't. I had always heard he was wrong, but had never seen for myself just how wrong he was. It was ... enlightening.

When you start out from a mistaken position, then build on it, things will go awry.

Marx really didn't understand anything about economics. Economics seems to be all about human motivations. He didn't seem to understand anyone's motivation except his own. And apparently he was insane.

He was completely obsessed with social position.; with "classes" of people, and was apparently very jealous of those he considered to be of a higher class.

He didn't seem to believe intelligence was of any value. Only labor.

He believed that "price" was something you could determine the correct setting of through calculations, and then you could know who was being cheated and who was doing the cheating. Especially when calculating the "fair" price of labor.

He didn't understand that no one goes to a lot of effort- physical or mental- to only break even. The worker has to feel he gets back more than he puts in, or he won't bother to show up for work, and the business owner has to feel he gets back more than he spends and risks to go into business, or he won't build a business. That business owners will stick with a business where they can't make any money, and that employees will stay with a job that won't support them (in the absence of market-warping welfare). Even if a person comes to the conclusion that working a crappy job for less pay than he'd like is better than the alternative, he is choosing that with which he comes out ahead.

Marx seems to believe the market is a set size, never to grow.

Marx mentions innovation but then forgets about it and seems to only consider production. Manufacturing processes can be improved, but apparently not products. It's like he thinks there is only a downside for everything. No upside.

Marx was wildly simplistic while being overly complicated- an odd combination. He ignored reality while making up his own economic version of epicycles. He was looking for (and imagined he could see) the laws that determined prices and the proper proportions of wage to profit. He believed the price of everything-- except labor-- is locked together and moves in step. Apparently in his mind, the price of X can't go up unless the price of everything else also goes up-- again, except wages which always go down. He believed profits could only increase when wages decreased proportionally.

And there was so much more I could go into, showing way after way he wasn't only wrong, but devastatingly so. But why bother?

His was a childish philosophy of jealousy and anger, build on delusions and wishful thinking. It's no wonder modern statists tend to be such bitter, controlling people.

Still, I have no problem at all with state-free communist (or "Marxist") enclaves. just as long as they are voluntary, don't prey on those outside the community, and allow people to opt out. They'll fail fast enough that I won't have to worry about them, unless they find a way to cheat. In which case self defense would be in order.



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But you must take his philosophies in the context of his position and times.
You have to look at his writing through his world view.
You may then realize he was right (or perhaps not quite as wrong) when looking at it from his perspective and experience.

It's easy to see his flaws many many years later. But he did not have the advantage of your hindsight and access to knowledge. Perhaps if he did, he would have written his thoughts differently.


This is how people justify slavery.


I'm not justifying anything.
I am saying you can't judge a person based on information they didn't have at the time.
The world of finance and understanding of governments etc has moved a long way since he was alive.
How naive will you look in 100 years?

I'm not saying that what he espoused is a good thing, and I'm not saying it's not. I am saying that you need to understand why he said the things he did.
And not merely say he was a communist therefore he is wrong / evil.


He had every bit of information-- it has been available to everyone since the first voluntary trade was made in prehistory. He just chose to ignore it and to instead violate (and lie to) others.
Evil isn't a person- it is a behavior. He chose evil behavior.


And what was the behavior you describe as evil?
Expressing his thoughts, frustrations, anger?
He wrote several books about bring equality to the working man. the working man that was being treated as no more than a slave by their overlords.
In his earlier works he called for bloody revolution - he was an angry young man. In his later works he admitted that was wrong.
What you describe as evil others might describe as human, flawed perhaps, but just human.


Encouraging people, through lies, to violate others is evil.

His advocacy wasn't for "equality". At least not in this example. He was trying to enslave business owners to the workers. If he were really advocating for equality, he would have encouraged the workers to walk away from any job where they were being abused, to build their own business in competition. That's not even close to what he did.

If I'm angry and bitter that I'm not getting sex, it isn't justifiable to advocate rape to bring "equality" for men. It would be evil.