Communism and Socialism are two words familiar to people throughout the world. The three volume 2200 page tome of Das Kapital, published in the late 1800’s, is the study of economic structure of capitalist society. The Modern Library English translation, Capital devotes 300 pages to excerpts which give a clear and concise picture of why and how Marx developed his Communist doctrine. Lectures on micro and macro economics, finance, investment, and cost accounting (including formulas and equations) combine to lay the groundwork for his theory, all technically correct and meticulously presented. It is a fact that “production creates surplus value, the laborer has nothing to sell but himself, there is a constant struggle of the classes, credit allows capitalists to grow, the stock market creates new and powerful levers of accumulation and monopolies, large companies put small companies out of business, and wealth increases the production of luxury items”. Interspersed with all this data are Marx’s disparaging remarks about free international trade, mass production, machinery, rules and regulations, credit, and taxation. Marx’s conclusion – mass production does nothing but exploit wage-earners enslaving them to the world market which leads to greed by the capitalists and a saturation of products and eventually results in crisis. It is amazing that as early as 1867 Marx recognized the flaws of capitalism and had insight of the ensuing consequences, but what I find absolutely absurd is Marx’s proposed solution to the problem. Communism!
Included in this Modern Library publication is the full script of The Communist Manifesto, Marx’s call to arms and the formation of the Communist League, written by Karl Marx and his comrade Friedrich Engels. The mission: wait for a national crisis and then all working class wage-earners should unite and overthrow the capitalist government, by force: violence and terrorism. Then enforce new rules and regulations: no more privately owned property, no more free trade, redistribution of wealth, abolish countries and nationalities, abolish all religion, and a total reconstruction of society by “change”. Marx’s famous slogan: “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs.” Of course the socialist branch of communism “the liberal middle class movement” will just do the same thing gradually, bit by bit, sapping the system of all its life blood in the name of equality, but Marx thought socialism was too slow…..too many compromises required at the onset.
It is laughable to think that if the worlds intelligent educated people can not perfect an ideal social/economical system that the working class, uneducated masses, and idle leeches of society can do any better. Marx never explains how that would work. He does not grieve the total loss of personal freedom. Nor does he mention the fact that greed is a human trait that will always exist, no matter who is in charge. There are currently 5 communist countries in the world: China, Cuba, Vietnam, Laos, and North Korea. 26 counties have tried Communism and failed. In addition there are currently 7 purely Socialist countries, and over 50 governments that embraced some form of socialism and failed. In the meantime much of Europe and the United States are leaning towards Socialist policies, and because if it, grappling with unsustainable debt and a needy self entitled population with irrational expectations. Marx even admits that the absence of large centralized capitalist production (including financial institutions and the stock market) would “create a system of production and a society moving within narrow and primitive bounds. To perpetuate it, would be to decree universal mediocrity.” Without the economic incentive all medical, technical, and scientific innovation would be stifled. I guess that was okay with Marx, as long as the wealth was redistributed equally.
Personally, I loathe everything about the communist doctrine but think Capital should be required reading for all students along with world cultures of all significant countries and a study of the government policies of the 5 remaining Communist countries. It is imperative to prevent universal mediocrity.
Rated 4 Stars. I use a rating scale of 1 to 5. Books rated 1, I seldom finish; books rated 2, I usually finish but would never recommend to anyone. 5 is the highest rating.