Karl Marx (1818-1883)

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HexHammer
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Re: Karl Marx (1818-1883)

Post by HexHammer »

spike wrote:CL
It would have been more interesting to see a response to my reply, but if you choose not to and stick to your original post, that's OK.
In the maze of adulterated discussion I couldn't find any meaningful reply from you. Could you please repeat it.
My best bet is he can't make an intelligent response, as he has made none so far.

One so delusional as him will always jump to conclusions and choose low lvl arguments till the end of time.
uwot
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Re: Karl Marx (1818-1883)

Post by uwot »

Wyman wrote:But I have a question for CL and uwot. CL claims above that workers are being exploited. That seems to be a basic assumption in his, or in Marx's, belief system.
It's not really a question for me, but since you ask: I think it is worth remembering that in 1848, when the Communist manifesto was published, slavery had yet to be abolished in the United States and there were few laws anywhere controlling child labour. I think it is fair to say that our attitudes towards workers rights have changed.
Wyman wrote:That is, there is 'surplus' value in their work that unjustly goes to capitalists - if not unjustly, then you wouldn't characterize it as 'exploitation.'
The surplus value is the difference between what you pay for the raw materials and the price you can charge for the finished product your employees make of them, more or less, gross profit. Net profit is what is left once you have paid all your overheads and taxes, included in which is the cost of the employees. The capitalist wants to maximise profits by paying the workers as little as possible, the worker by contrast wants to be paid as much of a share of the profits that their work has generated as they can extract. It is this conflict that is at the heart of Marx's philosophy as I understand it. I think Conde knows a lot more about Marx than me, so I won't comment on that, but what has happened since Marx was writing, is that technological progress has meant that the workforce needed to be more highly skilled and so it was in the interest of capitalists to agree to fund education and health care. As workers living standards rose, so did their expectations and demands. This cut into the capitalists profits, so rather than argue with well educated, organised labour forces, they simply upped sticks and started production in 'emerging economies', once Japan, now China; our grandchildren will probably drive cars made in Africa.
Wyman wrote:Can you defend this assumption? If there is surplus value, shouldn't it go to the most efficient user of that value - efficient in the sense of maximizing the benefits of the value for the good of the whole society? Why would a peasant be more efficient than a businessman?
I'm not an economist, but I think the good of the whole society is probably best served by having a well educated, productive workforce producing goods that people want to buy. I would have thought the most efficient way to achieve this is for 'a businessman' to pay a reasonable wage to people who do that. If this study is anything to go by, that's not what businessmen do: http://www.forbes.com/sites/frederickal ... tudy-says/
"A new study finds that around the world the extremely wealthy have accumulated at least $21 trillion in secretive offshore accounts. That’s a sum equal to the gross domestic products of the United States and Japan added together. The number may sound unbelievable, but the study was conducted by James Henry, former chief economist at the consultancy McKinsey, an expert on tax havens and offshoring."
Note that that is 'secretive offshore accounts'. Given that $21 trillion is in the same ball park as the US National debt, I think I can tell you where your money has gone, America.
Impenitent
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Re: Karl Marx (1818-1883)

Post by Impenitent »

uwot wrote:It's not really a question for me, but since you ask: I think it is worth remembering that in 1848, when the Communist manifesto was published, slavery had yet to be abolished in the United States and there were few laws anywhere controlling child labour. I think it is fair to say that our attitudes towards workers rights have changed.
turn out the lights...

-Imp
uwot
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Re: Karl Marx (1818-1883)

Post by uwot »

Impenitent wrote:
uwot wrote:It's not really a question for me, but since you ask: I think it is worth remembering that in 1848, when the Communist manifesto was published, slavery had yet to be abolished in the United States and there were few laws anywhere controlling child labour. I think it is fair to say that our attitudes towards workers rights have changed.
turn out the lights...

-Imp
Anyone?
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HexHammer
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Re: Karl Marx (1818-1883)

Post by HexHammer »

Impenitent wrote:
uwot wrote:It's not really a question for me, but since you ask: I think it is worth remembering that in 1848, when the Communist manifesto was published, slavery had yet to be abolished in the United States and there were few laws anywhere controlling child labour. I think it is fair to say that our attitudes towards workers rights have changed.
turn out the lights...

-Imp
I give uwot that he indeed worked against slavery, child labour, and other unjoust cruelties, but creating a devestating mindset in the commie legacy that sufferd many famies due to Marx whilst the imperialistic and capitalistic west didn't have any problems.
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Conde Lucanor
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Re: Karl Marx (1818-1883)

Post by Conde Lucanor »

HexHammer wrote: @ Conde Lucanor

This is getting nowhere, I'll just put your silly fairytale world on ignore.
You can keep running away, actually I think it's the most practical thing that you can do, rather than keep embarrassing yourself in front of everyone. Your insistence on debating a topic you completely ignore (other than what you hear on the streets or in dumb Hollywood movies) is baffling.
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Conde Lucanor
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Re: Karl Marx (1818-1883)

Post by Conde Lucanor »

Conde Lucanor wrote:
spike wrote:
Once we did away with the false notion that Marxism had to do with utopias, we might also get rid of some other false notions, such as the idea that Marx had devised closed, rigid systems.
Good point CL. Nevertheless, the movement he sparked became a rigid system. Those who implemented his ideas of communism had to design the system from the ground up since it wasn't something that would evolve naturally, like capitalism. In doing so the designers had to resort to force to implement Marx's Communist Manifesto. That could only be done by deliberately creating a closed and rigid system. A rigid and closed system is what occurs when a governance is engineered from the top down as Marxism/Communism was.

The rigidity of communism was noticed by the Frankfurt School. One of its disciples, Horkheimer, wondered who would replace the proletariat as the agent of the revolution once they grew complacent and old. His colleague Marcuse answered that a coalition of student, blacks feminists homosexuals and other socially marginal elements would. But for that coalition to act as Marcus envisioned you have to have an open system, which communism did not become.
Will grant you that Soviet communism was not a succesful project, largely in part because of its dogmatism and rigidity. The question is, however, whether that was implicit in Marx's theories and it was the unavoidable fate of following his principles. The clear answer is no, it wasn't. You mentioned the Frankfurt School and Marcuse, who was critical of the Soviet project, and so was Gramsci and a lot of people who declared being loyal to Marx's ideas, including, of course, the other communists enemies of Stalin, of whom he got rid of.

The other reason why the fate of the Soviet Union was not implicit in Marx's ideas is a very simple, often forgotten one. The notion that all that Marx said constituted a complete, monolithic theoretical corpus, available for all to just understand and put in practice, is a false assumption. Most of the texts from his youth (the so called Manuscripts, The German Ideology, the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right), as well as others from his older days (Grundrisse and the Theory of Surplus Value), which were of key philosophical importance inside the Marxist theoretical framework, were not recovered for the critics until the third decade of the 20th century, when there was already a form of Marxism legitimising specific situations of power in the Soviet Union and socialist parties all around the world. Surely, there was a scholastic degeneration and dogmatic use of Marx's theories, tainted with positivist postulates. And the practical results of that interpretation do not come directly from those theories (a problem that the intellectual establishment tried to do away with by figuring out the theory of the "two Marx's": one, the younger one, philosophical and sociologically immature, and the other, older one, more mature and aligned with positivists postulates).

Having said that, there are other critical stances of Marx's work, quite interesting indeed, about how the concepts of labour, its alienated form in capitalist societies and social estrangement, acquiring in Marx a level of anthropological essence, lead to a form of determinism. But that's another discussion, different from the simplistic concept of "rigid political system", meaning the bureaucratic Orwellian regimes of the Cold War era.
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Conde Lucanor
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Re: Karl Marx (1818-1883)

Post by Conde Lucanor »

uwot wrote:the surplus value is the difference between what you pay for the raw materials and the price you can charge for the finished product your employees make of them, more or less, gross profit. Net profit is what is left once you have paid all your overheads and taxes, included in which is the cost of the employees. The capitalist wants to maximise profits by paying the workers as little as possible, the worker by contrast wants to be paid as much of a share of the profits that their work has generated as they can extract. It is this conflict that is at the heart of Marx's philosophy as I understand it.
In the theory of value, the value of goods is determined by the amount of necessary labour contained in them. Trade is commonly an exchange of equivalents in terms of the amount of labour. In Marxist theory, surplus value had been traditionally obtained by openly exploiting the producers of goods (slaving and other forms of oppression), but in Capitalism this exploitation is hidden from view by wages. The key distinction made by Marx was that salaries represented the value of the workforce as a commodity (the simple reproduction of the worker's life), not the labour itself. So, capitalists hire the "workers' arms" and put them to work until they have produced much more than what their salary has actually paid for in terms of the amount of labour contained in the goods, so the extra work (its value) is confiscated by the capitalist.
spike
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Re: Karl Marx (1818-1883)

Post by spike »

Marx opposed private property. He was wrong because democracy is impossible without it. But then, Marx was no fan of democracy.
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Conde Lucanor
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Re: Karl Marx (1818-1883)

Post by Conde Lucanor »

spike wrote:Marx opposed private property. He was wrong because democracy is impossible without it. But then, Marx was no fan of democracy.
From Marx himself:

14. What will this new social order have to be like?

Above all, it will have to take the control of industry and of all branches of production out of the hands of mutually competing individuals, and instead institute a system in which all these branches of production are operated by society as a whole – that is, for the common account, according to a common plan, and with the participation of all members of society.

18. What will be the course of this revolution?
Above all, it will establish a democratic constitution, and through this, the direct or indirect dominance of the proletariat. Direct in England, where the proletarians are already a majority of the people. Indirect in France and Germany, where the majority of the people consists not only of proletarians, but also of small peasants and petty bourgeois who are in the process of falling into the proletariat, who are more and more dependent in all their political interests on the proletariat, and who must, therefore, soon adapt to the demands of the proletariat. Perhaps this will cost a second struggle, but the outcome can only be the victory of the proletariat.

Democracy would be wholly valueless to the proletariat if it were not immediately used as a means for putting through measures directed against private property and ensuring the livelihood of the proletariat.
spike
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Re: Karl Marx (1818-1883)

Post by spike »

Democracy would be wholly valueless to the proletariat if it were not immediately used as a means for putting through measures directed against private property and ensuring the livelihood of the proletariat.
It certainly wasn't a democracy of individual rights, which was a shame because when a governing system denies individual rights it ends up trampling on the rights of everybody, as the results of Marxism did.



I don't thing Marx hated capitalism but by criticizing it he hoped to ameliorate its harsher aspects. And his ideas have had an impact in tempering many of the extremes and exploitations of capitalism. In that respect I am glad he came along.

Those who express hatred towards capitalism, I don't think they totally do. If that is the case why do they continue to participate in it and take advantage of it fruits. No, what they really hate is its excesses, like Karl Marx did. But that is what makes a system fruitful, its excesses.

It's good to have Marx around, to regurgitate him periodically.
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Re: Karl Marx (1818-1883)

Post by Wyman »

The capitalist wants to maximise profits by paying the workers as little as possible, the worker by contrast wants to be paid as much of a share of the profits that their work has generated as they can extract. It is this conflict that is at the heart of Marx's philosophy as I understand it.
Which is why I asked the question - why should the workers keep the profit (or most of it, or some of it, etc.). I.e. I thought there could be a debate here as to the 'heart' of the issue, rather than just 'Marx said this,' 'Marx said that,' 'No he didn't,' 'Yes, he did.'

The fact that there are historical instances of gross exploitation of the workforce, such as slavery, is not an argument for or against. To illustrate:

Person A says, 'Can you defend the basic assumptions of Marxism?'

Person B says, 'It was written just before slavery in America was abolished.'

Person A says, 'Can you defend the basic assumptions of Marxism?'

Person C says, 'Soviet Communism led to genocide and economic collapse.'
spike
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Re: Karl Marx (1818-1883)

Post by spike »

Marx was certainly a shit disturber. He was one of history's greatest. He stirred up shit between the classes, the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. In doing so his ideas helped improved conditions for the working class.

One thing Marx got wrong is that he thought the struggle between the classes would be humanity's main event, that it would transcend and destroy nationalism and religion. But as we know, today those behaviours are stronger than ever.

Marx focussed on the class struggle too much, at the expense of seeing the broader world picture like his predecessor Hegel did. But even though we live more in a Hegelian world than a Marxist world, Marx left more of a noticeable mark on the world than Hegel.

It is good that Marx focussed on one thing like the plight of the working class because focused people leave more of a lasting thing behind than those who think in 'the bigger picture' terms. Thinking of the bigger picture generally leaves one shrugging their shoulders and saying that's the way it is. People who are focussed are more concerned about detail and feverishly work to change things, and they generally do.
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