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Why has Marxism never worked?

Goshin

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Communism doesn't work because people are inherently greedy - never satisfied with what they already have, always wanting more. Capitalism provides an avenue for improving one's position and at least temporarily satisfying greed, Communism doesn't.


Thanks. I'd question, though, whether wanting to live under better conditions that the average Soviet-era factory worker was actually greed, or simply common sense. :)
 

WeAreReborn

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Communism doesn't work because people are inherently greedy - never satisfied with what they already have, always wanting more. Capitalism provides an avenue for improving one's position and at least temporarily satisfying greed, Communism doesn't.
Capitalism creates an extremely small avenue that is often an illusion. You think anyone can just rise up and become rich? Of course not. It is based off of luck mainly and then being able to exploit and destroy those in your way. That sounds extremely unhealthy. Plus there is a difference between self interest and selfishness. Selfishness is what Capitalism promotes and is not natural. Self interest is natural and Communism feeds that by giving everyone essentially everything they need and more to everyone. I don't know what else one could need,
 

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Whether Communism has worked or not is the wrong question. A better question would be "why has communism consistently devolved into the totalitarian states we read about." But when you say "Why has it not provided the standard of living on par with Capitalist Countries" is to me laughable as if most if not everyone living in a Capitalist country is the rich, house owning, privately succesful individual you or those you know may be.
 

Yossarian

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Why has Marxism never worked in Practice?

Tension between Utopia and Reality

In his various works, Marx gradually establishes a vision of a society that transcends the capitalist system that existed throughout his life. This was for the most part a utopian 'vision'; the reader of Marx will not that less attempt is made to detail the exact steps needed to progress towards this vision, or moreover, the likelihood of those steps succeeding. This is one of the reasons for the development of Marxist thought by other theorists such as Lenin, Trotsky, Mao &c. But the upshot of this was that all Marxist ideology was essentially utopian, and bore little relation to the realities of societies (such as the USSR) in which socialist Marxism was allegedly 'being built'. This gap between the utopian ideal and the reality was bridged by two basic means: firstly, under the banner of the 'construction of socialism', reality was forcibly accommodated to the requirements of ideology; secondly, this backward reality was mythologised or 'utopianised' in such a way as to present it as the process of the true realisation of the socialist idea (see e.g. USSR, China, Cambodia etc.). It could also be said that the urge to universalise the ideology and to extend it into every sphere of life, stems to a large degree from the need, understood consciously or not, to have the mythologised representation accepted as widely as possible as the true and actually prevailing reality.

What about Marx's break with utopianism in the Communist Manifesto, in which he claimed that his socialist vision was grounded in real trends of social development? This can be answered by saying that to a large extent, Marx's analysis was achieved by a systematic overstatement of prevailing economic and social conditions of the day; early capitalism was 'utopianised' (in that Marx sought to portray his conception of the utopianised bourgeois society) in order to transcend his own socialist utopianism. At its very birth, Marxism took over and reworked the utopian impulse and transposed it from the future vision to the lived capitalist reality (which, in the end, developed very differently to how Marx had envisaged), an idea which was not consonant with actually existing social conditions nor the expectations of those people who were themselves expected to take part in the social reengineering he proposed. Meanwhile, Marx's pure socialist utopian vision remained an unachievable endpoint in socialist socieities, and is commonly invoked by those who claim that hitherto 'socialist' societies did not represent Marx's true vision; as Roger Scruton noted cogently in his recent book The Uses of Pessimism:

The ideal remains forever on the horizon of our experience, unsullied and untried in its entirety, casting judgement on all that is actual, like a sun that cannot be looked at but which creates a dark side to everything on which it shines.

Human Malleability and Perfectability

From the beginning, a core and fateful element of Marxism was its extraordinary belief in the malleability of both social institutions and the human personality. Here, the ideology's characteristic one-sidedness blended with a dubious legacy of the Enlightenment. Marx's linear dialectic of social development was interpreted by later theorists in such a way as to privilege social forms (i.e. the structures of society), amounting to a denial of the continuities of history and civilisation, and their replacement by a series of sudden, sharp 'upheavals'. Social relations, usually interpreted in shallow, oversimplified class terms, have been viewed as all-determining, which is a theoretical position that also underpinned the utopian socialist endeavour. In addition, Marxist thought was fundamentally underpinned by an Enlightenment belief as humans as essentially perfectable; in this respect, Rousseau has been as influential as Marx. In countries such as the USSR, this brew undoubtedly contributed to an instrumentalist view of the individual. It was as if an enlightened aristocracy of 'architects' viewed the mass of citizens as mere 'bees' in the hive of collectivist society, or perhaps more accurately, little screws in the rational, machine-like structure of society. The practical upshot of Marxist ideology was therefore that humans were reduced to individually-insignificant bearers of labour power.

Economics and the Enlightenment

Marx was, perhaps, responsible for the 'original sin' which has blighted all forms of socialism since. Subsequent theorists followed Marx in his belief that commodity production was a notion alien to 'true' socialism, and this non-market conception of socialist ideology became an integral component of the world's most notable Communist societies. But why did this understanding of socialism come to predominate as it did? My belief is that it was fundamentally due to Marx's unswerving commitment to Enlightenment rationalism, therefore making the free market (in Marx's mind) the ultimate expression of spontaneous forces beyond human control. To have economic life shaped by the blind forces of nature was considered by Marx to be incompatible with humankind's attainment of the true realm of freedom. Just as nature was to be conquered by human endeavour, so were the natural forces within society destined to be conquered.

Marxist Societies in Historical Context and the Search for a 'Reasonable' Marxism

It is almost universally accepted that Stalinism and similar theories, while purporting to be Marxist, were a corruption of the Marxist ideal. This in itself does not disprove Marxist theory, however; indeed, the Marxist will likely say that the theory is still capable of producing the intended outcome, provided that is not perverted by power-seeking, or inadequate economic development, or international conflict, or whatever. But consider another case, where the failure of the 'Marxist' society lies not in totalitarian terror, but pervasive squalor and stagnation (Brezhnevite Russia comes to mind). If we picture 'Marxism' as a big circle, we can see that two slices of this circle have been removed as not applicable to the actual Marxist ideal. One slice is that of socialism perverted by Stalinist terror, and the other is that of Brezhnevite corruption and ineffectiveness.

Now that these two forms of Marxism in practice are disregarded, we can see that is is not Marxism per se that promises utopia, it is what differentiates 'good' socialism from the failures of Marxism previously mentioned. It is no longer Marxist tenets such as the socialisation of property which represent the ideal (as socialisation of property also occurred in Stalinist/Khmer Rouge-type regimes that were Marxist failures), but is the special and unidentified characteristics of the 'good' Marxism which separate it from the failures. The power to create utopia has really shifted from the Marxist idea to some unidentified variable, X (or Y or Z), which characterises a successful Marxist society, and whose identity and characteristics are themselves in doubt. So there is a possible society which is devoid of private property and has additional unspecified characteristics x, y and z...and it is 'good'.

The upshot of all this is that it is quite obvious that all hitherto-existing Marxist societies have been devoid of x, y and z, and moreover, nobody has any clue what those variables might be. The idea that a successful Marxist society might be constructed on the back of x, y and z is, for me, too incredulous to take seriously. There may be some order which is desirable, but actually finding out what x, y and z are is evidently so difficult that it strains one's belief that the right outcome might occur at all.

Those are the reasons, in my mind, why Marxism has never worked.
 
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peas_and_corn

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You misunderstand my response. A true Capitalistic economy (which does not exist anywhere on this planet at the moment) will not have government as a component.
It is possible to have true capitalism and a government as the same time. We came very close to that at our founding, but we have strayed badly.

The point of my comment which I did not state very well is that there are lots of Non marxist economies that are not capitalistic either. I was responding to a comment that Fascism is
a form of capitalism, which it is not. It is a bastardized for of socialism.
This is off topic, but it is the direction our economy seems to be turning toward these last couple of years.

You're thinking of laissez-faire capitalism.
 

Goshin

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Capitalism creates an extremely small avenue that is often an illusion. You think anyone can just rise up and become rich? Of course not. It is based off of luck mainly and then being able to exploit and destroy those in your way. That sounds extremely unhealthy. Plus there is a difference between self interest and selfishness. Selfishness is what Capitalism promotes and is not natural. Self interest is natural and Communism feeds that by giving everyone essentially everything they need and more to everyone. I don't know what else one could need,


Again, tell that to a Soviet-era factory worker, who was barely able to keep from freezing to death in the winter. I recall a quote by one such: "It is all a pretence. We pretend we work, and they pretend they pay us."
 

Deuce

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It's like hardcore libertarianism. Sounds good on paper, but utterly fails to account for human nature. Disastrous in practice.

It could work, in some alternate universe where everyone was a happy, hardworking fairytale smiley person and nobody was greedy, lazy, or incompetent. Of course, in such a universe you probably wouldn't need the framework of government in the first place because everyone would get along fine and take care of eachother with or without government.

Plus, there'd be unicorns.
 

zimmer

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About the fact that the American constituion is based off how the Iroquois Confederation lead their own society? Or are we going to ignore the fact that their society is advanced so you can say ignorant and racists ideals? Yes calling an indegnous people savages is racist.
Hobbes, Montesquieu, Locke. Yes, the Founders looked to the Iroquois for the answer to the greatest good for the greatest number:roll:.

Russia didn't have an economy before the Soviet Union and due to the government they were raised up to a Second world country, and could have been first world without all the hostility from America, with one of the strongest armies while maintaining good living standards for everyone. Capitalism can make a country first world but the majority of the population shall be trapped in poverty unlike what happened in the USSR.
Hostility of the US? If they had The Bomb post WWII and we didn't, you'd be speaking Russian and wiping your ass with last week's Pravda in the community outhouse.

So to quote the President who was not only racist but extremely anti-Communist, despite having never read Marx or Engels, about the USSR and expect to have good insight is foolish. Also you know how well Trickle Down economics worked...
Oi vey... you're running out of race cards.
Yeah... Trickle Down worked and works great. Capitalism is responsible for the great advancements. You know why a pencil costs a few cents, and the materials come from all over the country or world? Because government isn't involved in the process.


Your lack of knowledge about Russia is evident. The majority of the land is not suitable for farming.
Wrong again.

Thus in physical extent the cropland resource of the Soviet Union closely approximates that of North America.
Russia & USA Land Quality

The majority of the food came from the Ukraine and when the famine hit Ukraine a lot were starving. But that was a natural occuring event and it was a tragedy. But I didn't see America go to send food or any sort of economic help, people are people so why did they decide not to? Anyways the rest of the years everyone had enough to eat unlike the super power America.
A second example of politicized science... Trofim Denisovich Lysenko was a self-promoting peasant who, it was said, “solved the problem of fertilizing the fields without fertilizers and minerals.” In 1928 he claimed to have invented a procedure called vernalization, by which seeds were moistened and chilled to enhance the later growth of crops.

...Carried on a wave of state-sponsored enthusiasm, his rise was rapid. By 1937, he was a member of the Supreme Soviet.

The result was famines that killed millions, and purges that sent hundreds of dissenting Soviet scientists to the gulags or the firing squads...Lysenkoism ended in the 1960s, but Russian biology still has not entirely recovered from that era.
Michael Crichton « The Global Warming Hoax
Isn't Communism great?

The US did send wheat.


Your clear lack of knowledge about Socialism is showing. Our press does not cover real Socialist issues. You probably think the healthcare bill is socialist don't you? Please read what Socialism is about. It is about the people not the ruling elite, that is all.
Well, Milton Friedman called the pre-ObamaKare system in the US Communist. And, well... I guess that's not socialist...ROTFLOL.

We have a socialist-communist system of distributing medical care. Instead of letting people hire their own physicians and pay them, no one pays his or her own medical bills. Instead, there's a third party payment system. It is a communist system and it has a communist result.
Hillsdale College - Imprimis Issue


You clearly were never a Socialist otherwise you would actually realize how stupid your statemnets about it is. Socialism is the road to hell? LOL! The left is about people, the right is about profit or government at any cost. Now which one could more destructive? The press? The press is owned by corporations. Every news outlet is a business owned by big business. Big business wants no regulation and they want every chance to destroy and exploit the people to make more green paper. That is the opposite of Socialism. People over profit!
I was one, lived in many of their countries, and still spend a lot of time in them. They still show the scars... physical, and in the populous.

Communism is evil, and virtually all socialism perpetrated by government is ridiculous.

Let me leave you with a few laughs at the expense of the Commi's:

.
 
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zimmer

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WeAreReborn,

It is projected by 2019 that Russia may become the world’s largest wheat exporter and Russian, Ukranian and Kazakhstan (RUK) wheat exports collectively may double the United States wheat exports according to the June 2010 issue of Amber Waves.
Former Soviet Union May Become the Largest Wheat Exporter – Farm CPA Today!

Why the massive increase in production when they couldn't grow enough to take care of their own during the glorious Commi years???

When they had to purchase grain from us? Here's a short history:

Grain Embargo
plus
...the U.S. apparently did not realize when it made the deal how deeply the Soviets were hurting. ...Russia started buying wheat with a gusto that took away the breath of the most hardened commodities trader.

Read more: TRADE: Campaign Fodder - TIME


.
 
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Paschendale

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Why the massive increase in production when they couldn't grow enough to take care of their own during the glorious Commi years???

Maybe it has something to do with not spending all their time and money making weapons to fight us... That was kinda the whole point of the cold war. Keep spending and spending and spending and whoever runs out of money first loses. And we had a whole lot more to start out with.
 

zimmer

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Maybe it has something to do with not spending all their time and money making weapons to fight us
1. It wasn't only that they spent about 30% of their GDP on weapons... using technology stolen from the west. The system was corrupted from the top to bottom. As they saying goes, the fish rots from the head down.

That was kinda the whole point of the cold war.
2. The USSR wanted us crushed as Khrushchev noted. They got to South America, Asia, Africa and Europe. (Some would even say they got to North America; Pierre Trudeau was a Commi lover.) That was the whole point of the Cold War. They wanted to be the deciders.

Keep spending and spending and spending and whoever runs out of money first loses.
3. Well, not exactly.

Go read history. Even republicans like Nixon said we just had to get along with them. It was Reagan that smashed that mould, and introduced a new line of thinking. He stated clearly what they were, an Evil Empire, to the utter shock of the journOlists back then. He said they would be thrown on the ash heap of history.

All the pin heads said Reagan was a dangerous idiot, Well, he decided to escalate the arms race and it proved to be the right call. He broke their backs, and made our journOlists and pin heads look mightily dumb.

... And we had a whole lot more to start out with.
4. Yeah... Capitalism creates wealth and fosters ingenuity. Socialism doesn't. With all the pin heads out there, it took one guy to apply common sense, and he did it with hostile resistance from the pin heads. He knew the force of good free people and Capitalism are in this world. Too bad the current occupant of the White House doesn't.

.
 

VF500

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Capitalism creates an extremely small avenue that is often an illusion. You think anyone can just rise up and become rich? Of course not. It is based off of luck mainly and then being able to exploit and destroy those in your way. That sounds extremely unhealthy. Plus there is a difference between self interest and selfishness. Selfishness is what Capitalism promotes and is not natural. Self interest is natural and Communism feeds that by giving everyone essentially everything they need and more to everyone. I don't know what else one could need,

You think anyone can just rise up and become rich?

Oh my heavens no!! Why you'd have some initiative to be an entrepreneur like Bill Gates, who started out in his garage, to do something like that. I mean, that's totally unobtainable. :lamo Wake the f_ _k up.

Here's what communism feeds: indolence, sloth, laziness, a craving to have everything done for you, curling up in a ball and sucking your thumb. It penalizes initiative and a desire to get ahead in life. Are you going to bust your ass so a bunch of lamos can sit around on their's. I don't think so.
 
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Goshin said:
Again, tell that to a Soviet-era factory worker, who was barely able to keep from freezing to death in the winter. I recall a quote by one such: "It is all a pretence. We pretend we work, and they pretend they pay us."

Yes, because the Soviet Union was definitely a classless, stateless society. Awesome argument you have there. Now respond by saying "that's what happens when you try to put it into practice. It's good on paper and all, but blah blah blah human nature..."
 

zimmer

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Yes, because the Soviet Union was definitely a classless, stateless society.

No, the USSR and its satellites had their "more equal than others" sector. Politicians, athletes, kosmonauts, select artists, actors, non-genius genius farmers etc... if you licked the balls of the ruling elite, they would make you more equal.

Otherwise, yes... they were all pretty equally miserable. They were equal in that dissenters of the ruling elite found themselves in far away places being re-educated, or permanently removed from society. If your child gave a smart answer in school, the KGB could come knocking; yes they were equal in that respect.

Trofim Denisovich Lysenko was a self-promoting peasant who, it was said, “solved the problem of fertilizing the fields without fertilizers and minerals.”

Lysenko’s methods never faced a rigorous test...Josef Stalin was drawn to Lamarckian ideas...Lysenko...became the darling of a Soviet media that was on the lookout for stories about clever peasants who had developed revolutionary procedures.

Lysenko was portrayed as a genius, and he milked his celebrity for all it was worth. He was especially skillful at denouncing this opponents...Carried on a wave of state-sponsored enthusiasm, his rise was rapid. By 1937, he was a member of the Supreme Soviet.

By then, Lysenko and his theories dominated Russian biology. The result was famines that killed millions, and purges that sent hundreds of dissenting Soviet scientists to the gulags or the firing squads...

State of Fear
Michael Crichton
Michael Crichton « The Global Warming Hoax

All equal until you become useful to or question the state. And the society was so perverted people were spying on each other and ratting to the KGB.

A stateless society too!!!!!!!!! ROTFLOL. Stateless in that it was a society without a centralized government organization having the supreme power to make and enforce rules?????????

They ruled with an iron fist. They made sure the drones were in line and not a threat to the supreme state. If you were, you were taken out... to the gulag for re-education as noted above, or permanent removal. It's why they put up walls and didn't let people travel except perhaps to other Commi states.

.
 
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TurtleDude

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The main reason why marxism doesn't work is that those who use that idiotic philosophy to gain power and wealth don't want to really work either. Its a scam to convince the weakminded to give a few greedy elites all sorts of power in the name of "fairness"
 

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from Turtle

The main reason why marxism doesn't work is that those who use that idiotic philosophy to gain power and wealth don't want to really work either.

Your knowledge of the people behind what you oppose so strongly is terribly weak - in fact appears to be non-existent. Read up and Lenin and you will find that even his most critical detractors admitted he was a legendary workhorse who rarely rested and was constantly in motion even in exile.

It would be really helpful and a great boon to actual intellectual discourse if you based your pronouncements on something other than your own ideological bias.
 
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