Ask a Marxist?
If you have any questions about Marxism? Shoot. Or if you want to discuss some aspect of it. It is good to be knowledgeable so at least your criticisms have validity.
@chekovchameleon, But this idea of vitality versus difficulty would be more refering to the industry as a whole, the everyday worker who has a difficult job in a non-vital industry would not be punished for these political factors. Rather it would more be in reference to the top end and bottom line of that industry and how much they would need to contribute to the sustaining of the “Needs” section of society.
But there are a whole bunch of factors that every day people can not begin to approach or understand about the logic of this proposal, and so would not support it or resist it, they would leave it to better minds to figure if it is best or not.
There are factors like entreprenurialism: New business’ and industries are formed by people who have the ideas and funding, but they also need the incentive of the investment as being worth their time and effort, it needs to be practical, sustainable and most of all profitable for them, otherwise they would not bother to inovate society.
Another factor is the expansion of an existing business or industry: The Owners, or CEOs, need to build finances to establish the growth. A mining company, for example, needs to pump $billions into just finding practically exploitable resources, not to mention setting up shop.
So all these factors, and likely more that I have missed, would be obstacles for a system like this to iron out.
( @martijn) “What prevents the awakening of class consciousness?”
I’d say it’s not so much an intellectual lack as a distraction factor. People think every day, and most do it quite well, it just depends on what they are thinking about. Daily concerns range from “how will I survive today/provide for my family?” to “how can I get ahead financially?” to “what’s on Youtube?” etc.
Distraction from achieving levels of conscious awareness have always existed, considering the phenomenal amounts of distractions available now, more than ever, I’m suprised people are as aware that they are.
It should not be underestimated that Marx’s theory, in his time, was important and remarkable. Marx began with the problem of human emancipation and found a solution in the proletariat to that problem. The solution is communism because the laborer is paid according to what his labor power is worth, not according to the value he will produce during the workday. So the capitalist can compel the worker to work longer than he needs to work to produce a value equivalent to the value embodied in his wages. The more objects the worker produces, the fewer he can possess and the more he falls under the domination of his product, of capital. The worker has come to view work, productive activity, as an activity alien to him, not part of his nature. The work is external to the worker. Even in his animal activities(eating, drinking…) the worker feels himself human, whereas in his human activity labor or man is reduced to an animal.
Here, the solution, Marx found, is remarkable. Communism, far from being a class doctrine is simply the theory and practice of human emancipation. Communism is the positive abolition of private property, of human self alienation, and thus the real appropriation of human nature by and for man. So it is the return of man to himself as a social, human being and the conscious return which assimilates all the wealth of previous development.
@chekovchameleon, I know, I was asking the poster (and you, I guess) how YOU acquired your knowledge. Were you in a class? Did you have a discussion group? Do you use an online resource?
I am always a fan of not just reading philosophy straight; I almost always misunderstand something if I just read the book by myself without discussing anything.
@trek79, Marx actually studied Adam Smith in depth. In fact his critique’s come from his study of Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations, as well his observations. The fact of the matter is capitalism has existed for 300 years, and it has not objectively improved, given that amount of time, I would say Marx hit the nail on the head.
@trek79, When you have a society that produces on the basis of human need, you factor in every conceivable component of human need. If you have to few doctors, and they are working extreme hours, you acquire or train more doctors. Not to mention you would align your means of production to reduce the total number of doctors needed (through technology).
@trek79, After every democratic determination of need, what would occur is an alignment of the means of production to produce the determined need. The means of production stay aligned, so after every determination of need, the means of production re-align with the previous improvements still in place. What this does is constantly increase the productive efficiency and the productive capacity, which means over time more and more needs and requirements are fulfilled with the same or less amount of labor. Theoretically this could occur until you have a fully automated economic grid that is mostly automated, and produce as much as is required, this stage of productive alignment is know as super abundance.
@martijn, In communism everything is collectively owned. So anything that would jeopardize the property of the collective would probably not be allowed. Further incentive to keep everything as pristine as possible.
I’ve heard of Zizek, haven’t had the time to study him though. Can you recommend any books?
Anything that keeps the truth of class structure from the working class, and anything that disrupts the cohesion of the working class is deemed as stifling class consciousness. For instance Chauvinism (women make up a large percentage of the working class), racism, any ideology that stratifies the working class, etc. As a matter of fact, two organization have historically fought for women’s rights, that is Feminists and Marxists.
@martijn, There is no private property in a communistic system. Everything is owned by the state. Accommodation is provided for the individual according to his needs. Private property creates dependency of the working classes on the Bourgeoisie. The commons also would be owned by the state. By the state it is meant the people, not specifically the government.
@ijesuschrist, No there has never been a truly modern communist society, as any interaction with the market, means that you are producing for market pressure and not for human need. I say modern because our original state as humans was communist. Communism/Socialism cannot exist in one country for reasons stated above, those who have attempted it became deformed workers states.
@imhotep, Zizek can be a great addition to your knowledge, especially since he focuses on modern media/culture and tries to revive Hegelian and Marxist theories in our modern post modern mileu. He uses very interesting psycho-analytical theories, especially those of Jacques Lacan, to analyse how capitalistic ideology still functions today. I can highly recommend Less Than Nothing, tough read, but worth the time. But if you want to get a taste of him first, just youtube him and take any popular talk. After that, take his lectures at european graduate school (also on youtube).
What will happen when all material needs of a society are fulfilled?
What will people do with their free time?
What will happen with Art?
Will people work depending on their ability or depending on what they like/choose?
What do you think about birth control? Will there be any in a communist society?
What will happen with drugs, will there be any control?
What will happen with traveling? Will people be able to travel outside the communist society/country?
I know that’s tons of questions, sorry about that, Id just love to hear the answers from a Marxist, anyways you can answer in a short way.
By the way have you read Einstein article; why socialism? It’s a great read, here’s the link if you haven’t: http://monthlyreview.org/2009/05/01/why-socialism
Great topic by the way!
@imhotep, With Doctors, we have no shortage of people trying to become one, the thing is there is a standard set, just like Lawyers, you have to pass the bar, to establish a level of quality expectation, the only way your idea would work is to lower the standards that are VITAL in the medical profession, this can only result in more error and shoddy health care.
Who decides what is NEED? If you ask me happiness is a vital need, this is attained in many ways and most of them are kicked out in your Spartan design. You are only setting things up for misery in the people, control, too few choices for enjoyment and happiness.
This system is very ideal and honourable in intention, but it is completely unrealistic and impractical.