Saturday, June 21, 2008

Karl Marx on Economics 1818-1883


By Richard E. Noble

Karl Marx was not a positive step in the line of thinkers like Smith, Ricardo, Malthus, and Mill who were seeking positive solutions to what they saw around them. Marx said the system was corrupt, didn't work, and couldn't be fixed. He was an academic. He should have been a college professor. He was really a journalist, but his rhetoric was so inflammatory that he was put out of business wherever he went. Near the end of his life he stated that he was no Marxist. He really didn't seem to agree with anybody.
Engels, after Marx's death claimed that Marx's was not an Anarchist, but his own words in the Communist Manifesto state otherwise. He was in favor of revolution. He was in favor of the use of violence in that revolution. Although he predicted Communism as a natural evolution, he acknowledged the need of an interim totalitarian government of the wise and faithful to push things along until a condition where no state was necessary finally existed. I think truthfully, the man just liked to argue, and felt that he was intellectually superior to anyone else in the world. He got trapped in the political arguments of his day. That is always enough to drive anybody wacky. He wanted to be intelligent. He wanted to go down in history as a genius, like his idle Darwin, or like Isaac Newton or Hegel. If he had been alive in the Russian heyday or even today in Communist China, he would not like it. He would be writing his criticisms of the conditions in those societies and calling their leadership a bunch of swine and parasitic excreta. They would throw his ass out, or kill him. He would have to escape once again to Jolly old England or the United States where he could babble and research to his heart's content, and maybe even get onto Hardball once and awhile.
He wrote a 2000 page book he entitled "This Is Capitalism". In it he describes Capitalism, points out its flaws, and predicts its downfall. He is like the religious clerics of today who try to convince us that life on this planet is impossible. It couldn't have happened. But when you say that it obviously is, so it must have happened, they supply you with an even more preposterous explanation of how that came about. I think Karl was not as smart as he thought he was. He saw moral injustice in the world, and suggested more of the same, or twice as much as before as a solution. As Adam Smith so wisely pointed out ... virtue, unlike vice is not tempered by the pangs and limits of moral conscience...
It is interesting to note that Karl Marx never worked in a factory. His compadre, Engels, was the wealthy son of a rich factory owner. Engels ended up living in wealth, happiness, and comfort from the legacy of his Capitalistic, private property, and inherited birth right. If it were not for the insanely immoral conditions of so many of the poor and hard working of that day, Marx and Engels would have been but a ripple in a sea of the illogical, misdirected, dribble of every era and epoch.
Marx said that Malthus' theory was an insult to the integrity of Mankind. Marx’s mother is quoted as having said that she wished that her son had taken a greater interest in making Capitol, than in criticizing it. According to Engels, Marx discovered the historic significance of the “class struggle" and the "motion of Capitalism". I don't know about all of that, but he certainly discovered how to get people all pissed off.