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    What Is Marxism?

    Plenty of people have opinions on Marxism, and the label is thrown around an awful lot. Unfortunately, most of the people talking about Marxism have never actually studied it or even read Marx, they are just going off of what they are told by their preferred media mouthpieces. Those media mouthpieces themselves have likely never read Marx, they just throw his name and ideology around and slap it onto anything they want people to oppose. Red baiting never went away with McCarthyism, it just became more widespread.

    So, what is Marxism?

    Marxism is a socio-political philosophy that maintains the idea that society is effectively divided into multiple classes, the primary two being the laborer and the capitalist they labor for. In Marxism, the wealthy capitalist class exploits the labor of the labor class by limiting the laborer's share of their own labor to maximize the wealthy capitalist's profits. There are two main theories that form the foundation of Marxism: The Theory of Distribution and the Labor Theory of Value.

    The Theory of Distribution:


    The Theory of Distribution exists in multiple ideologies, including socialism and capitalism. In Marxism, the Theory of Distribution is as follows:

    From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.
    - Critique of the Gotha Program, Karl Marx, 1875 free link

    Now, this has most commonly been misinterpreted (either through ignorance or maliciousness on the part of Marx's detractors) to mean that those who labor will have the product of their labor taken from them to give to those in need. But that's not actually how Marx explains it in his Critique of the Gotha Program. What this theory of distribution actually means is essentially that all laborers in a given society labor for the good of the community, and from that community production they receive the exact amount they contributed. Before the laborer's portion is allocated, deductions are made for community services such as hospitals, schools, and a social welfare system for those unable to work. Marx explains it in the Critique such:

    Accordingly, the individual producer receives back from society after the deductions have been made exactly what he gives to it. What he has given to it is his individual quantum of labor. For example, the social working day consists of the sum of the individual hours of work; the individual labor time of the individual producer is the part of the social working day contributed by him, his share in it. He receives a certificate from society that he has furnished such-and-such an amount of labor (after deducting his labor for the common funds); and with this certificate, he draws from the social stock of means of consumption as much as the same amount of labor cost. The same amount of labor which he has given to society in one form, he receives back in another.

    Labor Theory of Value:


    Now, on to the Labor Theory of Value (LTV). The LTV is a theory that argues goods and services are valued based on the labor it took to produce them. To Marx, this meant that a laborer should be compensated for their labor based on the value of their production. To use a simple example not intended to be representative of actual implementation based on current economics, say you have a cobbler making a pair of shoes for, I don't know, Nike. Nike pays their cobbler minimum wage, which would be $7.25 an hour. The shoes the cobbler produces sell for $100, however. The cobbler would have to work approximately 14 hours on that one pair of shoes in order to receive the full value of his labor. If the cobbler finishes the pair of shoes in five hours and they are still a well-designed pair of shoes that sell for $100, the cobbler is only receiving $14.50 out of the value of their labor, which is 14.5% of the value. To Marx, this indicates the laborer is being exploited by the wealthy capitalist class, because the cobbler produced the value but only received 14.5% of that value, while the bosses performed almost no labor and received 85.5%.

    Conclusion:

    Whether or not you agree with Marx is your choice, and there's nothing wrong with disagreeing with his theories. I disagree with some of the things he proposed. We must strive to ground our opposition in reality, however, and at least try to stay informed about the issues we support or oppose. I can't promise you won't become a Communist by reading Marx ( ), but I can promise it will not cause you any harm
    "Those who produce should have, but we know that those who produce the most that is, those who work hardest, and at the most difficult and most menial tasks, have the least."
    - Eugene V. Debs (1855-1926), five-time Socialist Party candidate for U.S. President

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    Capitalism is not an ideology. It was never planned. State control of (or working for) capitalism is an ideology and is centrally planned. Marxism is an ideology and is centrally planned.

    Economically, Marxism is merely a simple variation on capitalism. Private ownership of capital is transferred, forcefully by the dictatorship of the proletariat, to the workers. Simple as that. Somehow that is supposed to lead to greater productivity and a communist utopia, how and what Marx failed to describe.
    Edmund Burke: "In vain you tell me that Artificial Government is good, but that I fall out only with the Abuse. The Thing! the Thing itself is the Abuse!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris View Post
    Capitalism is not an ideology. It was never planned. State control of (or working for) capitalism is an ideology and is centrally planned. Marxism is an ideology and is centrally planned.

    Economically, Marxism is merely a simple variation on capitalism. Private ownership of capital is transferred, forcefully by the dictatorship of the proletariat, to the workers. Simple as that. Somehow that is supposed to lead to greater productivity and a communist utopia, how and what Marx failed to describe.
    Eight minutes is definitely enough time to read the post, the links provided, and offer a thoughtful response.

    Nitpicking aside, the last sentence is demonstrably untrue, the how and what is described in Marx's works. The two that I linked to are a good start. marxists.org has pretty much all of his works for free reading.
    "Those who produce should have, but we know that those who produce the most that is, those who work hardest, and at the most difficult and most menial tasks, have the least."
    - Eugene V. Debs (1855-1926), five-time Socialist Party candidate for U.S. President

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    Marxism has lead to millions of deaths and will continue to lead to millions more. That's enough for me to say the only good communist is a dead communist.
    Political tags - such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth - are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nathanbforrest45 View Post
    Marxism has lead to millions of deaths and will continue to lead to millions more. That's enough for me to say the only good communist is a dead communist.
    Inspiring.
    "Those who produce should have, but we know that those who produce the most that is, those who work hardest, and at the most difficult and most menial tasks, have the least."
    - Eugene V. Debs (1855-1926), five-time Socialist Party candidate for U.S. President

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    Quote Originally Posted by Green Arrow View Post
    Inspiring.
    Thank you. The truth always is.
    Political tags - such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth - are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.
    Robert A. Heinlein

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    Quote Originally Posted by nathanbforrest45 View Post
    Marxism has lead to millions of deaths and will continue to lead to millions more. That's enough for me to say the only good communist is a dead communist.
    Oops! You got TRIGGERED! By that deadly "M" word!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Green Arrow View Post
    Plenty of people have opinions on Marxism, and the label is thrown around an awful lot. Unfortunately, most of the people talking about Marxism have never actually studied it or even read Marx, they are just going off of what they are told by their preferred media mouthpieces. Those media mouthpieces themselves have likely never read Marx, they just throw his name and ideology around and slap it onto anything they want people to oppose. Red baiting never went away with McCarthyism, it just became more widespread.

    So, what is Marxism?

    Marxism is a socio-political philosophy that maintains the idea that society is effectively divided into multiple classes, the primary two being the laborer and the capitalist they labor for. In Marxism, the wealthy capitalist class exploits the labor of the labor class by limiting the laborer's share of their own labor to maximize the wealthy capitalist's profits. There are two main theories that form the foundation of Marxism: The Theory of Distribution and the Labor Theory of Value.

    The Theory of Distribution:


    The Theory of Distribution exists in multiple ideologies, including socialism and capitalism. In Marxism, the Theory of Distribution is as follows:


    - Critique of the Gotha Program, Karl Marx, 1875 free link

    Now, this has most commonly been misinterpreted (either through ignorance or maliciousness on the part of Marx's detractors) to mean that those who labor will have the product of their labor taken from them to give to those in need. But that's not actually how Marx explains it in his Critique of the Gotha Program. What this theory of distribution actually means is essentially that all laborers in a given society labor for the good of the community, and from that community production they receive the exact amount they contributed. Before the laborer's portion is allocated, deductions are made for community services such as hospitals, schools, and a social welfare system for those unable to work. Marx explains it in the Critique such:



    Labor Theory of Value:


    Now, on to the Labor Theory of Value (LTV). The LTV is a theory that argues goods and services are valued based on the labor it took to produce them. To Marx, this meant that a laborer should be compensated for their labor based on the value of their production. To use a simple example not intended to be representative of actual implementation based on current economics, say you have a cobbler making a pair of shoes for, I don't know, Nike. Nike pays their cobbler minimum wage, which would be $7.25 an hour. The shoes the cobbler produces sell for $100, however. The cobbler would have to work approximately 14 hours on that one pair of shoes in order to receive the full value of his labor. If the cobbler finishes the pair of shoes in five hours and they are still a well-designed pair of shoes that sell for $100, the cobbler is only receiving $14.50 out of the value of their labor, which is 14.5% of the value. To Marx, this indicates the laborer is being exploited by the wealthy capitalist class, because the cobbler produced the value but only received 14.5% of that value, while the bosses performed almost no labor and received 85.5%.

    Conclusion:

    Whether or not you agree with Marx is your choice, and there's nothing wrong with disagreeing with his theories. I disagree with some of the things he proposed. We must strive to ground our opposition in reality, however, and at least try to stay informed about the issues we support or oppose. I can't promise you won't become a Communist by reading Marx ( ), but I can promise it will not cause you any harm
    What do you find interesting and/valid about Marxism?

    As for Nathan's sentiments, you have to admit that the application of Marxist theory has been problematic to say the least.
    Whoever criticizes capitalism, while approving immigration, whose working class is its first victim, had better shut up. Whoever criticizes immigration, while remaining silent about capitalism, should do the same.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris View Post
    Capitalism is not an ideology. It was never planned. State control of (or working for) capitalism is an ideology and is centrally planned. Marxism is an ideology and is centrally planned.

    Economically, Marxism is merely a simple variation on capitalism. Private ownership of capital is transferred, forcefully by the dictatorship of the proletariat, to the workers. Simple as that. Somehow that is supposed to lead to greater productivity and a communist utopia, how and what Marx failed to describe.
    By "State control" I'm sure you mean regulations: a very Randian mindset. Capitalism fits into economic theory through market dynamics and controls on your end of said market. We have seen over and over again that laissez -faire as a practice in capitalism just dos not work and that those without wind up footing the bill through ruin and starvation, hence Marxism. Capitalism consistently eats too much and throws the banana peels into it's own path by allowing the greedy and the crooks to run amok.
    Last edited by jet57; 06-30-2020 at 12:54 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister D View Post
    What do you find interesting and/valid about Marxism?
    I find pretty much all of it interesting. As to what I agree with, I agree with him about the LTV and the fact that workers have long been exploited by their employers and that created the drastic imbalance in wealth that is present in our society. The solution he creates in his Critique of the Gotha Program​ is pretty sound, in my opinion.
    As for Nathan's sentiments, you have to admit that the application of Marxist theory has been problematic to say the least.
    Sure, as with anything I've seen good examples and bad. The bad usually relies on state force, which wasn't really something Marx advocated.
    "Those who produce should have, but we know that those who produce the most that is, those who work hardest, and at the most difficult and most menial tasks, have the least."
    - Eugene V. Debs (1855-1926), five-time Socialist Party candidate for U.S. President

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