Was Marx Right? By Andrew Schatkin - Vigyaa

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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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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.

There has occurred and developed in the United States and many Western countries a parallel understanding and view of Christmas and Easter. Christmas has been co-opted by the commercial business sector with the object of making money. Christmas in its secular interpretation is concerned with children, laughing, and joyful exchange of gifts and a general atmosphere of love and happiness. This Christmas has been widely adopted by many faiths and many of the carols we hear have no connection with Christ. This general Christmas of good-will also involves Christmas trees and decorations and it is possible that these have pagan origins.

But there is a second Christmas, which is the real Christmas – this is celebrated by a thinner and thinner minority in our society. This minority concerns itself with the birth of Christ and God revealing himself in human form. It is a joy and wonder that God took on humanity and entered human history. The true meaning of Christmas is not the glitter and noise but the act of God in taking human form to bring about salvation and eternal life. The real purpose of Christmas and Christ is the repair of our broken natures, and, if you will, our sinful natures. The secular Christmas, we must recognize, has no truth and serves to mislead people from the true Christmas. The true Christmas is Christ offering to humanity new life and the conquest of death. The Christmas which is based on commerce and money certainly has little truth. Perhaps the reason the world does not recognize the Christian Christmas is because it does not recognize the problem and its solution in Christ. Christmas is God’s way of providing a way out from sin and death. It is certainly not the Christmas that has taken over our world.

I would also like to talk about the two Easters. The secular or commercial Easter has come to dominate the entire celebration and holiday. It involves sometimes the Easter bunny and sometimes an Easter egg-hunt. Once again, the festival has been co-opted by the business and commercial sector and that takeover is misleading to the real meaning of Easter and its significance. Easter completely and solely is concerned with the risen Christ and his conquest of death. It certainly has nothing to do with the things I just mentioned. Easter is the resurrection and the offer by Christ to share in his eternal life and love. In fact, it has come to the point when both in the commercial Christmas and commercial Easter, Jesus is left out of the picture. I have to say that I am in somewhat disagreement with these business takeovers of what are essentially religious festivals and events. A child which comes to think of Christmas as trees, decorations, and gifts is being misled and misinformed. The Easter bunny has little connection with the offer of eternal life and love in the risen Christ. I have no objection to these secular interpretations of these events, but I for one do not choose to agree with them or be convinced by them. I do not think the government or secular society is obligated to observe these religious festivals but it is my position that the true nature of these events should be made clear. In short, the commercial interpretation of these religious festivals is a lie. 

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