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Why Marxism is wrong (Dialectical Materialism and the theory of Surplus Value)

It is, admittedly, unusual to have a proper Marxist as the Shadow Chancellor standing for election.  However, as we now have one I think it is right to explain the basic problems with Marxism.

There are two key components of Marxist theory: Dialectical Materialism and the theory of Surplus Value.

Dialectical Materialism analyses progress into the concept of there being a Thesis, an Antithesis and consequentially a Synthesis.   The idea is that the conflict between the thesis and antithesis results in the synthesis.

This is essentially an overly simplistic model of society which really does not create any intellectual value.  It encourages the concept of conflict which may be emotionally attractive to some people, but in fact is not normally mass conflict that creates progress. Challenges from competition and the desire to improve things is the main driver for progress. That happens best without mass conflict.

The second part is the theory of Surplus Value
Using the quotation from wikipedia: "According to Marx's theory, surplus value is equal to the new value created by workers in excess of their own labor-cost, which is appropriated by the capitalist as profit when products are sold."
The problem is that this model makes a number of assumptions that fail in the real world. I will happily give examples if anyone asks me to, but the theory in itself is so absurd that I really should not need to. If you want some examples post a comment asking for examples.

Marxist Threat
The threat of Marxism and the risk to ordinary people is that it is used to justify the idea that the state should control all economic activity. Obviously the state has a role in regulating economic activity and there are functions that have to be managed by the state (police, armed forces etc). However, politicians are not that good at running things. Hence state run economies fail the ordinary citizen. A more Liberal Democratic form of system which allows people to establish business is better. People pay taxes, but they don't have everything taken by the state. This is why the Liberal Democratic countries are the ones that people have wanted to go to. When there was the Iron Curtain people wanted to escape communism.

My personal view, which I think is a Liberal view, is that if people want to live in a communist country they should go to one and then they can make each others lives a misery whilst they leave us to get on with our lives.


Anonymous said…
Challenges from competition unfortunately result in a desire to improve things only really to the effect that the improvement creates personal profit . Not always "improving" the world or society

So many examples . Health care and public transport being 2
John Hemming said…
So is health care or transport today worse than it was say 50 years ago?

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