I Guess Marx Was Right, Right?


Karl Marx (1818 – 1883) was a German philosopher, whose ideas played a significant role in what is known as the socialist movement. His theories about society, economics and politics, better known as Marxism, claim that all societies progress by means of a class struggle: a conflict between haves, the ownership class that controls the production of goods, and have-nots, a lower economic class that produces the labor force for the production of goods.

Was he right? You decide.

During his lifetime, Marx wrote The Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital, with some help from his friend and fellow socialist, Friedrich Engels.

He proved to be a brilliant student with a radical agenda, and believed society could be improved through the implementation of socialism. In this effort, he became prominent in the International Workingmen's Association, or IWA.

Marx continued his strong criticism of capitalism, which he believed to be a dictatorship run by the wealthy for their own benefit, to the detriment of the poor. He argued that tensions would arise between the two classes and ultimately bring down the capitalist form of government, resulting in a new socialist system. Socialism, he predicted, would be the dictatorship of the working class.
Finally, when the two classes imploded, there would be a classless society without need of a state, which he referred to as communism. In Marx’s view, the fastest way to arrive at this ultimate way of life was for the underprivileged workers to rise up and destroy capitalism, which would march in a new era of economic prosperity.

The revolutionary governments of the Soviet Union in the 1920s and People's Republic of China in the late 1940s resulted from Marxist philosophy. Many worldwide labor unions have also been influenced by Marxist ideas. 

There is little doubt that Marx remains one of the most influential figures in human history, and we can debate the soundness of his theories on an academic level for years to come. But was he right? Is it inevitable that the two socio-economic forces in the USA will produce enough conflict to bring down our capitalist society?

I would love to hear some well-reasoned opinions.




  1. I should probably write this comment in Word...but:
    An awful lot of poor and tired people flock legally and illegally to our shores to enjoy free enterprise. There's hope in capitalism. Many of our wealthy citizens did not start out that way. A lot of them are self made men and women who prospered from being entrepreneurial--their own efforts.

    Labor unions began initially in 1832 to protect children from being abused, used, for cheap labor. Then the Robber Barons come to mind. They got rich on the backs of the poor till income taxes were invented. There's a lot to this subject that this little space can't begin to handle.

    Today, we have a middle class that's getting smaller, "they" say. This is not good. The poor want to be middle class, the middle class wants to be upper crust. Being a wannabe keeps people on their toes and encourages innovations. Marx was wrong. Some condition in his childhood prompted his conflict with the rich--that's what his mother said in her book, The Trouble With Karl.

    1. Very good, Linda. I wish every American would say, "Marx was wrong." The problem is too many Americans never heard of him. They know about "haves" and "have nots," but have no idea what his theories were. If they did, we could solve our economic problems.

  2. Karl Marx and his kind have always scared the hell out of me. I remember a student aid in college trying to get me to be able to read this stuff without being so 'judgmental'. I'll keep my judgmental attitude when it comes to this; thank you very much!
    America is the only place where so many have made so much of themselves and yet we care for each other and help those who need it more than any other place on earth.
    I won't pretend to know everything about this. But I do know that socialism and even communism have never worked out all that well. Capitalism brings people up while this other stuff boils down to making everybody the least they can possibly get by on. At least that's how I see it.

    1. That is a pretty good assessment. After World War II, most Americans felt the same way.

  3. From where I'm standing, the lower middle class/working class is taking a beating. Wages are stagnating while costs continue to skyrocket. As a public school teacher with 26 years under my belt basic dental care and in state college tuition for my children have become unaffordable luxuries. Yeah, from where I'm standing, American capitalism ain't exactly working out so well. It does feel like I'm being squeezed out of the game, like the game is rigged.


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