Karl Max in Capitalis and government/politics

Karl Marx was a visionary. His thoughts on government are unique. Marxism or socialism is practiced around the world. These words often conjure thoughts of China or the Soviet Union. However elements of socialism have infiltrated capitalist countries as well. In a way Karl Marx’s ideas have shaped modern governments and politics.
Marx lived in the19th century. Monarchies and great empires were falling apart around him. As capitalism started replacing these governments Marx felt that it would only be time until capitalism folded as well (Marx 1999). Marx taught of a new way of thinking. He thought that when one class ruled over another class the system would fail. In Marx’s vision everyone would be equal. Work, food, government, and everything else should be shared equally. Those that were artistic would be artist. Politicians would be chosen for ability. The old and weak would be taken care of just like a strong worker. This Utopian society sounded good. On paper Marx’s ideas are well thought out and brilliant.
Communism, socialism, or Marxism is practiced in many countries. China, Vietnam, and other countries have a working socialist government. The problem with socialism is what Marx believed would happen in capitalism. Marx believed that capitalism would fail due to the class folding against itself (Marx 1999). Marx thought little of capitalism. He thought that “capitalism was at least transparent in its intentions” (Wheen 2001:71). Capitalism was not a classless society, it was a society that had classes made by money. Communism, on the other hand, was fated to the classes folding against itself.
Russia’s communist government collapsed in the 1990s. Marx predicted that a Russian Revolution would occur in the early 20th century (Avineri 1970:151). This prediction came true, Russia became the Soviet Union. Many factors led to the collapse of socialism in Russia. Stalin being placed in charge was one of them. Russian communist party members, especially those that held office, became the elite class. The working class soon was suffering from the excesses and incompetence of Russian leaders. The division in class doomed Russia communism.
Classes are the key to keeping a government stable. If one social class leans to one extreme (rich) to the other (poor), then a revolution is likely. Russia, France, the United States, and so forth all rebelled due to unfair conditions. Marx felt that capitalism would work the same way. What he did not take into account was recession, depression, and inflation hits all classes. The current economic recession has hit everyone from the White house on down. In a capitalist economy like America everyone feels the economy ups and downs. Class is in American society, but the ability to change one’s class is always there.
Capitalism in America works differently than what Marx thought. America’s democracy is capitalistic, but has a little socialism mixed in as well. Medicare, Medicaid, welfare, grants, and other public funding are socialist programs. In order to earn something by just being a member of society is part of socialism. All of America’s social programs do just that. America has a balance of the classes, social programs, and capitalism which does not create an extreme class system.
Capitalism was a relatively new concept when Marx came up with his Marxist plans. His opinions were based on a concept that had only been around since the 18th century. While his sentiments about classes were correct, Marx forgot the human element. Humans create the extremes between classes. Oppression is caused by few having all the power and money, while the others work to provide for the elite class. Marxism was not supposed to be that way, Stalin and other Russians created the class divide. Capitalism had the human factor as well. The depression created social programs. Marx’s ideas will impact any future government. Maybe his Utopian dream can become reality…with the right people. is HHH
Bibliography
Avineri, S. (1970). The Social and Political Thought of Karl Marx. New York: Cambridge
University Press.
Marx, K. (1999). Critique of the Gotha Program. Marx/Engels Selected Works. Vol. 3. Accessed
10 Dec. 10 from http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1875/gotha/index.htm
Wheen, F. (2001). Karl Marx: A life. New York: W. W. Norton &amp. Company.