Karl Marx (May 5, 1818 – March 14, 1883) was a German philosopher who is best known for his contributions to modern Communist theory, as outlined in The Communist Manifesto, cowritten by Friedrich Engels in 1848.
Labour Theory of Value
10 Planks of the Communist Manifesto
1. "Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes."
2. "A heavy progressive or graduated income tax."
3. "Abolition of all rights of inheritance."
4. "Confiscation of the property of emigrants and rebels."
5. "Centralization of credit in the hands of the state . . . ."
6. "Centralization of the means of communications and transport in the hands of the state."
7. "Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the state . . . ."
8. "Equal obligation to work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture."
9. "Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of distinction between town and country."
10. "Free education of all children in public schools. Abolition of child factory labor in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production."
According to Marx, everybody is forced––by the material productive forces––to think in such a way that the result shows his class interests.You think in the way in which your “interests” force you to think; you think according to your class “interests.” Your “interests” are something independent of your mind and your ideas. Your “interests” exist in the world apart from your ideas. Consequently, the production of your ideas is not truth. Before the appearance of Karl Marx, the notion of truth had no meaning for the whole historical period.What the thinking of the people produced in the past was always “ideology,” not truth. According to Marx, ideology was a doctrine thought out by members of a class.These doctrines were necessarily not truths, but merely the expressions of the interests of the class concerned. There is no universal logic. Every class has its own logic. But, of course, the logic of the proletariat is already the true logic of the future. (These people were offended when the racists took over the same ideas, claiming that the various races have different logics but the logic of the Aryans is the true logic.)
Marx believed the "material productive forces" determine the production relations, that is, the type of ownership and property which exists in the world. And the production relations determine the superstructure. In one of his books [Misère de la philosophie—The Poverty of Philosophy], written in French in 1847, Marx said “the hand mill produces feudalism––the steam mill produces capitalism.”
These forces, throughout history, have a constant tendency to develop. As they do so, they compel changes in the relations of production, i.e., the economic and social system existing in a particular society. At one time, e.g., feudalism was best adapted to develop the forces of production. When it ceased to be the most efficient system, capitalism replaced it, breaking what Marx called the "fetters" on production imposed by the manorial economy of feudalism. In turn, at the dictate of the forces of production, capitalism will be replaced by socialism, a system Marx anticipated would be enormously more productive than its predecessor.
Mises in Theory and History posed a simple query that proved lethal to the alleged "science of historical materialism." As just explained, growth of the forces of production is supposed to explain all else of importance. But what determines this very growth? As Mises often reminds us, only individuals act: classes, "forces of production," "relations of production," etc., are in themselves but abstractions. Apart from the action of human beings, they are void and powerless. Like Hegel's Geist (Spirit), Marx's forces of production are a self-developing phenomenon governing human will. Marx never bothers to explain how such forces, in themselves the effects of human action, can exclusively determine all important human action.
Once one has grasped the point that it is individuals, not the forces of production, who act, the entire Marxist scheme of historical evolution falls by the wayside. If human beings create by their acts the forces of production, rather than the forces determining these acts, then nothing is inevitable about the transition from one economic system to another. Such changes will take place as persons act to create them, no more and no less. If one objects that there are laws determining human action, perhaps the objector would be good enough to produce them for inspection. That the results of what persons create may not be to their liking is another matter.
Marx and Engels failed to see that tools and machines are themselves products of the operation of the human mind. Even if their sophisticated attempts to describe all spiritual and intellectual phenomena, which they call superstructural, as produced by the material productive forces had been successful, they would only have traced these phenomena back to something which in itself is a spiritual and intellectual phenomenon. Their reasoning moves in a circle. Their alleged materialism is in fact no materialism at all. It provides merely a verbal solution of the problems involved.
He didn’t realize that the material factors of production, i.e., the tools and machines, are actually products of the human mind. He said these tools and machines, the material productive forces, inevitably bring about the coming of socialism. His theory has been called “dialectical materialism,”
- Böhm-Bawerk, Eugen von (2007). Karl Marx and the Close of His System. Auburn: Ludwig von Mises Institute. ISBN 978-1-61016-008-7. http://mises.org/document/996/Karl-Marx-and-the-Close-of-His-System.
- Henderson, David R., ed (2007). "Karl Marx (1818-1883)". The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics. Indianapolis, Indiana: Liberty Fund. pp. 563-564. ISBN 978-0-86597-665-8. OCLC 123350134. http://www.econlib.org/library/Enc/bios/Marx.html.
- Hazlitt, Henry (1986). "The Legacy of Karl Marx". The Freeman 36 (3): 96-101. http://www.fee.org/the_freeman/detail/the-legacy-of-karl-marx.
- Maltsev, Yuri N., ed (1993). Requiem for Marx. Auburn: Ludwig von Mises Institute. ISBN 0-945466-13-7. OCLC 29825540. http://mises.org/document/3579/Requiem-for-Marx.
- Rothbard, Murray N. (1990). "Karl Marx: Communist as Religious Eschatologist". The Review of Austrian Economics 4: 123-179. doi:10.1007/BF02426366. http://mises.org/journals/rae/pdf/rae4_1_5.pdf.
- Karl Marx at Wikipedia
- Marxists Internet Archive
- "Karl Marx as Religious Eschatologist" by Murray N. Rothbard, Friday, October 09, 2009