This article was spurred by a video I watched promoting the ideas of Karl Marx. The YouTube channel, The School of Life, had a video that shifted the conversation of Marx’s ideas. This prompted me to counter this portrayal of Marx.
Capitalism is Very Unstable
Marx stated that capitalism is very unstable. This is an interesting claim. It seemed that it might be fitting to be made when he claimed it, but in 2018, we can see just how damaging socialism has been. I hate to play whataboutism, but it is important that we note that we saw the fall of a country move from a capitalistic economy to a socialistic economy; Venezuela. Capitalism is not without its problems, but capitalism is responsible for lifting more people out of poverty than any other system ever created by man. What do I have to cite for that claim? History.
While some capitalists may make claims similar to those Marx attributed to them like “depressions are rare and may never happen again,” I would venture to guess that most people, unless you work for the Federal Reserve, understand that we live in a business cycle that has a boom/bust teeter-totter effect to it. Most of the depressions and recessions have been predicted.
Some Marxists might argue that capitalism is unique in that it creates a crisis of abundance. This is just silly. The fact is still property rights. Just because I have ten bananas in a room with nine other people does not mean that everyone gets a banana. Marxists think that we can just give everyone everything they need—for free. Just because we have an abundance of extra houses on the market does not mean that people who do not have a house get one. Someone owns that house. They have money in it. That have put time, labor, and resources into it, and the Marxists think it is okay to simply steal it from them to give it to someone else, once again, no matter if the disparity is self-inflicted or not.
The Economy Only Needs a Few Workers
One of the craziest claims that I found Marx making was that only a few people need to work in an efficient economy. Only a select number of people would need to work in order to provide for the masses, and allow everyone else to pursue their dreams. How do they decide who works and who does not? Where is the actual incentive to work? This is simply based on an idealistic utopian view that a large mass of people will just want to work to provide for everyone else. This egalitarian thought leader seems to have left behind his “equal” ideals in order to entice the lazy into thinking that this way of central planning will work to their benefit if they just scream loud enough. Marx further perpetuates the idea that unemployment equals freedom, but why don’t you ask a homeless person how that “freedom” is working out for them?
Capitalism is Bad for Capitalists
Marx had a claim that marriage was considered bondage because it was centered around some kind of economic benefit. This would mean that individuals could not marry a person they love and instead they would have to marry for economic benefit. This was a survival tactic that even the poor would use to try to survive, but this was not limited to the poor. The rich would marry for the exact same reason. Land, armies, riches, etc were motivators for the richest of the rich to marry one another. However, this is not something that you will ever be able to get over. People marry and breed for a number of reasons. Some of the Alaskan natives began to marry off their women to the Russians in hopes of being able to have a “more intelligent” child and further their bloodlines. This was due to how technologically advanced the Russians seemed to be in comparison to the Alaskan natives. Alaskan native women also would marry the Russian men in hopes of not having to work as much as they had to in the village because they would be part of the Creole class.
The Marxist might say that material items or money has no objective value, rather they might claim that people value things that have no objective value. Still, I think that this is pretty narrow-minded as a basic understanding of economics demonstrates that people have preferences and ascribe value to items differently than others. How would any one know what I actually value and what I do not? I think that you can see a move away from socialist ideas in most countries that have implemented them. It is noticeable that people are valuing socialism less and less, which is a very capitalist approach. In the euro-states, we can see that places are moving away from socialist and communist ideas, despite maintaining a welfare state. However, it is becoming evident that change is even taking place there. Even some unfavorable countries, like China, are starting to find value in capitalist ideas.
Okay, so maybe capitalists are not inherently evil, but they teach us to be anxious, competitive, conformist, and politically complacent? I am sure that Stalin, Lenin, and Mao were all encouraging people to be individuals and to seek their full potential (I hope you caught my sarcasm there). The truth is that those socialist/communist dictators were interested in tearing down the individual. They sought to make everyone conform and be politically complacent. Our country votes on a new executive every four years with a term limit of two. This is not exactly the recipe for developing political complacency. I would argue that there is a need for other term limits along with other issues, but we are far from “politically complacent.” Furthermore, I think that a whole paper could be written on the benefits of competition, but for the sake of brevity, I will just list a few; higher quality, lower prices, more products, better offers, greater perks, and more.
Join me for the next article where we will dismantle more of the points laid out in this video.
This article represents the views of the author, and not those of Being Libertarian LLC.