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Was Marx Right? By Andrew Schatkin

First, let me state that as a system Marxism has not been particularly successful. Two countries come to mind where the Marxist system has brought about great human suffering and economic distress: Cuba and North Korea. As a Christian, I cannot endorse or agree with Marxism, which takes materialism as its philosophical basis and also supports atheism as part of its system. In Marxism, men and women are seen as pure economic commodities and nothing more. Hence the system in communist Russia and of mass killings with no regard for the individual life.

Communism and fascism, in excluding the spiritual dimension, can and will result in these actions. I now say here and suggest that Marx in his thinking was correct or certainly had a point to make. For some time now, many countries and societies have adopted the capitalist model of system. Communism has collapsed in most societies and countries with the exceptions I have just mentioned. Unfortunately, the capitalist system has evolved to a somewhat deficient end.

Capitalism is based on greed and competition and a free market system. The idea behind it is that if people are given some sort of equal starting point, the society will benefit by job creation and wealth creation and all will benefit ultimately.

Capitalism, however, has developed in a somewhat negative direction than originally envisioned. There are many reasons for this development; for example: Jobs have been outsourced to South America and Asia; unions in the United States have largely been eliminated; there has been an influx of cheap labor from South America and Asia to the United States; and, in the name of supply side economics, there has been a vast transfer of wealth to an extremely small segment of the population. Manufacturing has largely left the United States for places where the labor pool is inexpensive such as South American and Asia.

The result of these developments has been threefold. It has been very difficult for the American worker to get employment. The jobs that do exist are without benefits such as pensions or health benefits. Older workers are easily and constantly dispensed with for younger workers. The end outcome of all these developments is to make it extremely difficult for any American worker to get some sort of quality employment to support his family for as long as needed. The end result in another way is to create a plutocratic and oligarchic society where the economic and political structures are controlled by a few wealthy individuals and corporations. In short, the capitalist system has become extremely unfair and functions now to exclude people from opportunities to advance themselves or even to enter the economic and political system. It would appear that the capitalist system is in crisis and has become dysfunctional.

This essay proposes that Marx in some sense may have been right. Marx and Engels in their writings and activities responded to the abuses of the working class in industrial European countries at that time. These abuses included child labor and the use of sweatshop labor. Marxism proposes a number of ideas and concepts which I think are fairly good:

1. Marxism seeks to eliminate class divisions which capitalism encourages. These class divisions are falsely based on some persons having greater wealth than others. It is faintly ridiculous to refer to a person who has greater wealth than others as upper class since the having and possession of wealth has no significance in itself.

2. Marxism seeks to provide some of employment for all and provides free healthcare and free education for the entire population. Eliminating income inequality allows people of talent and merit the possibility of obtaining positions that the capitalist system might bar them from based on their lack of wealth. The ultimate aim of Marx in his writings was to bring about a society not controlled by the wealthy or aristocracy but by the workers. Unfortunately, in various countries such as Russia, China, Cuba and North Korea, attempts to bring about these potentially good things resulted in the use of force and a police state dictatorship.

3. Marx sought to have a government run directly by the people. This may not have actually happened in the aforementioned countries; however, it is still an admirable goal.

In sum, Marx had some ideas and concepts that still have value and should be considered by thinking people: the elimination of classes; elimination of income inequality and the redistribution of wealth; and a society governed by the people. I cannot say where Marx or Marxism went wrong, but, at the present time, the capitalist system as it has developed and evolved is problematic and wanting. The capitalist system has evolved in a sort of dictatorial state in which the wealthy rule and in which he vast majority of the population toil to survive. I cannot give a solution to the present difficulties in our system but I can say this much that this system should be reexamined in the light of the ideas behind Marxism and Socialism. This is not to say that I wish to impose a dictatorship which Marxism developed into, but I do suggest that the present state of the capitalist system be reexamined in light of other concepts, thoughts, and ideas, wherever they may be found.

Educational and Business Consultant, Writer, Speaker, and Teacher. He is the author of five book chapter in the areas of Evidence, Criminal Law, and Family Law.

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Do you know that bureaucratic thinking is distorting our perceptions and thus becoming a significant contributor to mental illness in society?

When people have any mental illness, the medical profession puts them into boxes and various categories according to their behaviour and symptoms. It does not necessarily mean the doctors understand what is going on inside the person's mind. They will counsel and advise as best they can according to their personal experience and knowledge, and then it is for the patient to come to terms with the problem. But if the patient has no insight into his mind, then no doctor can help that individual except give him drug therapy. So when we are treating a person with a mental illness, what we are trying to do is help the person change his perceptions with psychotherapy and-or drug therapy.

In my mind, I see mental illness only as a disorder of perception. It is the degree that determines the level at which it becomes a clinical disorder of behaviour and action. Hence, a doctor must clear up his perceptions first before he can offer any mental health advice to a patient. If the doctor's perceptions are the same as the patient's, then how can he possibly help that individual? Therefore, acquiring self-knowledge and learning to understand the thinking process is most important for any health professional. We have to learn how to turn a negative perception into a positive one.

In my mind, there is no such thing as a broken heart or a traumatic experience that lasts forever. All experiences in life are meant to make you a better and wiser person by teaching you a lesson in life. Therefore, all experiences in life, good or bad, are eventually good for you. That is my perception and observation. So if a patient comes to me for help, what I will try to do is help him change his perceptions and help him to come to terms with the experience. Of course, if the patient has no desire to change or help himself, then obviously my help will be minimal.

Just labelling a person as suffering from schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, PTSD, etc. does not change his perceptions. All it does is give him justification for continuing with his present state of mind? For example, he will say that "At last, the doctors have found something wrong with me. I now have ADHD".

In my mind, bureaucratic thinking which is the main base of governments and institutions all over the world is a principal factor contributing to the mental ill-health of people today. It is turning all of us into zombies. Bureaucratic thinking is simplistic thinking applied to control and regulate people.

Please let me give you some examples. Some time ago, in a small country town, I was approaching a T junction from a side street in my car. There was a stop sign. As there was no traffic on the road, I slowed the car and turned in. A traffic cop, waiting on the opposite of the road, hailed and stopped me. He asked, "Did you see the Stop Sign?". I said, "Yes." I had broken the law. Stop means stop, and he booked me for the offence.

Can you see here how only the letter of the law was applied? There was no use of common sense or consideration of traffic conditions on the road. No deep thinking, moral or ethical approach was in the police officer's mind. There can be no argument with what he did. He was only doing his job.

Let us look at the law that prevents parents, teachers and police from disciplining children. Here again, they literally follow the letter of the law. You cannot give any corporal punishment. However, when the kids are out of control, one can use whatever force necessary to contain them. Is there any use of any common sense in this? Violence is not permitted in one instance, but it is OK to use force in the next. This type of contradiction is bad for mental health. It creates confusion in mind and sends wrong messages to children as well as adults.

From the above, you must see that bureaucratic thinking has great limitations. There is no consideration for ethics, common sense or reason. It is just a plain, simple application of the letter of the law. One can see it affects our mental health and behaviour. It makes us feel intellectually handicapped. So you must think the medical profession would be the first fighting against this type of thinking. Right?

Wrong. These professionals who should be helping us clear up our perceptions are themselves suffering from a disorder of perception. They have themselves become bureaucrats who are trying to con the public into thinking that we are practising a high standard of medicine by having a bureaucratic QI & CPD (Quality Improvement & Continuing Professional Development) system. Nothing can be further from the truth.

In this system, a doctor is given points to take part in certain educational activities. He is required to attain a minimal number of points in three years, after which he is given a certificate of completion. This certificate qualifies him for further registration with the medical board and implies that he has met the standard required of him. Does it now mean that this doctor is currently practising a high standard of medicine? You would be very naive indeed to think that way.

In my mind, it is the individual doctor's ethical approach to his work that sets the standards in medicine. One may attend as many lectures, and hold as many certificates as one may like, but if one has no ethics and feelings towards his fellow beings, you might as well say goodbye to standards.

It is time for the medical profession to stop indulging in bureaucratic thinking and examine the role it should be playing in society. It should protect society from bureaucratic thinking, not become part of it. If we become part of the problem, how can we solve it? There must be an ethical approach to raise standards in medicine. Applying bullying and coercive measures is not the way to go. They are the same techniques of modifying behaviour used when I was a kid at school. The teacher will say "You will not be allowed to go home until you bring me one hundred lines "I must not talk in the classroom". I wonder whether we have progressed or regressed?

Please read the "The Enchanted Time Traveller - A Book of Self-Knowledge and the Subconscious Mind" to learn about your perceptions and thinking. Please do not become a zombie. For raising standards in medicine, it is always the singer, never the song. Visit Website: http://theenchantedtimetraveller.com.au/

The world is drowning in a sea of bureaucracy, and no one knows how to swim out of it. Everywhere one goes, there are forms to be filled, and paperwork attended to before one can accomplish any task. If you are a nurse, you have to enter patients notes on their charts before you go home. If you are a doctor, again you have to write some details on their files. One wonders if you should spend more time with your patients than writing notes to meet some bureaucratic requirements.

No matter where you go, you will find bureaucracy justifying its existence by creating more work for itself. It spreads like cancer, where the individual cells have lost their function. These cells are supposed to replace themselves and keep within their boundary, but they have gone crazy and start multiplying and migrating beyond.

Every one of us sooner or later will end up working for some private or public bureaucracy. When this happens, please become aware that this can put a limit on your intelligence and mental growth. The reason is simple. You will not be allowed to use your common sense and use your brain. You will have to abide by the rules and regulation set by whoever employs you. So unless you are aware of the limitations placed on you, you are likely to turn unwittingly into a zombie.

Here is one recent example of how bureaucracy limits your intelligence and makes one feel handicapped:

Do you know that an electricity company can take away your solar bonus benefit, without your knowledge, consent or authorisation? All they have to do is mistakenly give your address to Energex. (Energex is a company that supplies the electricity in Queensland.)

When you complain to Energex, they say that they have no option to refer your complaint to the seller, who made this error. You will have to reapply with a form they supply to have your benefits reinstated.

In my case, the electricity seller, Powershop mistakenly provided my home address to Energex who automatically cut off my solar bonus benefit. I had to reapply, filling a statutory declaration form to get it reinstated.

This situation did not make any sense to me. It raised the following questions in my mind. Why Energex could not have referred my complaint to Powershop and resolved this matter with them directly? Why did I have to reapply when the benefits were withdrawn from me, for no fault of mine? If Energex can take away my solar benefits without my consent, surely they can also reinstate it without my consent?

I took this complaint to the Office of Fair Trading, which is a branch of the Justice Department in Queensland. They explained that Energex had acted within the law. But is it fair for an electricity company to cancel a consumer's solar benefit without his knowledge or consent, and then make the consumer responsible for reclaiming the benefit?

I asked them that since they called themselves "Office of Fair Trading", did they considered this fair to the consumer according to the law? What was their position on this issue?

They replied: "Office of Fair Trading cannot determine if this is fair or not, and you would need to seek independent legal advice if you wish to take this further."

Thus we have a situation where someone makes a mistake, but you are held responsible for correcting it. And the Office of Fair Trading which is a branch of the Justice Department, cannot determine if this is fair or not.

Now if you think that this type of thinking is good for your mental health, please think again. May I suggest you read "The Enchanted Time Traveller - A Book of Self-Knowledge and the Subconscious Mind" and learn how your thinking affects your perceptions, and thus your mental health. Visit Website:

In our present age and society, it would appear that we are in the midst and throes of great progress. This progress seems to take many forms and so may be defined in a number of ways. To begin with, in medicine, with the advent of anesthesia, antibiotics and advanced surgery we have greatly extended the human life span and made life for most persons easier and more fulfilling. There are many cures for formerly incurable diseases that in former days ended life completely. Thus many diseases such as Tuberculosis, Polio, and Measles have been completely eliminated. Advances in medicine thus have brought about an extended lifespan and a more pain free life for most of us.

In similar fashion, there has been great progress in technology. With the advent of computers and technology, in general life has been sped up and everything and anything has become more accessible. The distance has been eliminated to a large degree and connection between persons if not nations is more rapid speedier and easier. The result has been globalization and the virtual elimination of national, religious, and racial distinctions. Machinery and technology have made life more facile, and with email communications we may reach out and touch whomsoever and wherever we want. With more rapid communication and transportation, we are in striking distance of anyone and anywhere in Earth.

In these areas, progress has occurred and it can be confidently said that life is better for more of humanity who can avail themselves of these advances. In other areas, technology and medicine have accomplished little, if anything. We are still spiritual- and poverty-stricken amoral cripples. The 20th century has witnessed massive human slaughter in two World Wars as well as a number of genocides including the Armenian genocide by the Turks; the Jewish genocide; the genocide of Pol Pot; the Rwandan genocide, the genocide of former Yugoslavia, and most recently the genocide occurring in Darfur in the Sudan. The massive slaughter that followed the Russian revolution should not be left unmentioned. We still, kill, maim, and torture our fellow human beings. We attack our spouses, verbally and sometimes physically. Fathers decline to support their children and mothers at times choose not to bother with their children or abort them in the first place. We have made materialism and narcissism our benchmark and desideratum. The advances in technology and medicine have been matched by our puny if not non-existent personal, moral, and ethical progress. If not for laws that control human behavior, life would be impossible and intolerable.

Our souls are dry rot; we are served with a diet of meaningless poverty-stricken concepts and ideas generated by television and the internet. We invent more and more sophisticated weapons of mass destruction to kill more and more people. And technology and machinery have been employed to effectively kill more and more people more efficiently.

There has been some moral and ethical progress, at least in the Western world, since we no longer torture people in the stocks or employ the whipping post, or boil them in oil, or drown them, or burn them at the stake as occurred well in the l9th century. But we still employ the death penalty rather than incarcerate many criminals, which costs much but does offer the chance for rehabilitation and change for that person.

On the other hand, there has been little progress in literature. For example, poetry, once a popular art form is not the province of specialized academics. We have no Dantes, Miltons, Virgils, Keats’s, Shelleys, or Victor Hugos. We produce massive glass structures but cannot produce a Gothic cathedral dedicated to the glory of God. In short, we produce cars, pedestrian malls, and buildings of massive ugliness and monstrosity, but very few beautiful things.

With progress comes decline. What we gain in one sense, we lose in another. We can only say that we are still moral and ethical barbarians and employ technology to kill and maim and employ medicine to treat the maimed and crippled. We may eliminate distance, do things faster, and live longer, but we still on a continuous and intense basis inflict pain and suffering on our fellow human beings. Having done so, we remain largely indifferent to the pain and suffering we may have inflicted.

Whether real progress has occurred and has happened at all remains a question.

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