The Assessment Of Marx’s Communism And Its Flaws
Karl Marx, in his composition Manifesto of the Communist Party, illustrates the downfall of capitalist society and provides evidence upon why communism is the optimal form of government. Marx claims that the association between social classes is dependent on the means of production. In the long run, the means of production leads to the formation of a tyrannical bourgeoisie and an oppressed proletariat. To eradicate the exploitation of social classes, Marx claims the solution to this abuse of power lies in a communist society. He introduces fundamental concepts within a communist society like the ideas of ending the inequality within social classes, enforcement of progressive taxation, and human emancipation. Marx believes that through the power of communism, individuals will be able to live in a society where they are allowed to live to their greatest potential. However, I believe that Marx feels the urgency and the need to overthrow capitalism, blinding him from seeing the flaws within his theory of communism.
In his work, Marx states “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles” (Manifesto of the Communist Party, I: 473). Throughout history, there has been a constant trend of “oppressor and oppressed”(Manifesto of the Communist Party, I: 474) relationships between social classes that are partly hidden; this partly hidden relationship ends when a revolution within society occurs. Marx illustrates how the bourgeoisie, the wealthy developed by the system of production and exchange, treats the proletariats, the working class, like “slaves” (Manifesto of the Communist Party, I: 479). The unfair treatment and difference in social classes fuel the idea of creating an end to the exploitation of the working class. To end this disparity, Marx declares that a revolution of the proletariats needs to occur; this revolution would overthrow the bourgeoise allowing the proletariats to own the means of production. The proletariats would abolish the hierarchy between the social classes, eradicating greed and the need to be better than others ultimately adopting communism ideals.
Marx’s goal is to create an ideal society where exploitation between social classes did not exist. When the proletariats overthrow the bourgeoise, he states that “the supremacy of the proletariat will cause them [bourgeouis] to vanish till faster. United action, of the leading civilized countries at least, is one of the first conditions for the emancipation of the proletariat” (Manifesto of the Communist Party, II: 488). Marx believes that a communist society will result in dictatorship upon oneself since everyone is getting everything equally allowing individuals to have ownership of their goods. Although communism will bring more equality to everyone from all social classes, I believe that Marx is forgetting about the fundamentals of human nature within his theory. If everyone lives within a society where no one is in charge and everyone has the same rights, then everyone would be in a state of war (Hobbes). All individuals under Hobbes’ theory is in a state of war and constant competition between one another if there is no sovereign controlling everyone’s rights. Although Marx does point out that communism will put an end to greed since there is no need for one to be jealous of another if there is an equal amount available for everyone, greed is a human characteristic that is inevitable. One of Marx’s flaws in his theory is that he does not take into consideration how much more dangerous society would be in a true state of nature where everyone is fighting with one another for power since greed is unavoidable.
To quickly eradicate the inequality between class structures and move towards the adoption of communism, Marx introduces the idea of “A heavy progressive or graduated income tax” (Manifesto of the Communist Party, II: 490). Progressive taxation is the form of paying taxes based on the amount of money an individual makes. According to Marx, progressive taxation is important because it allows for the funds to quickly spread between everyone, speeding up the process of eradicating the “oppressor and oppressed” (Manifesto of the Communist Party, I: 474) lifestyle. Progressive taxation steadies the flow of capital because wealthier individuals pay more taxes than individuals who are not as wealthy. Also, progressive taxation would limit the purchase of private property allowing the different social classes to maintain a good balance of power. The idea of progressive taxation is important to Marx’s theory because this form of taxation relieves the burden for individuals who do not have a stable income.
Marx believes that by paying fewer taxes, the lower class can use the money that they earned to pay for their basic needs; this process of taxation allows individuals to have an even-handed outcome to make the most out of one’s hard work. However, I believe that it is not a fair system for the individuals who work hard to make money because they would be the ones paying more money through the form of taxes. Individuals who do not work as hard are receiving benefits from the taxes that are being paid by the individuals who put in more effort. Marx wants to establish communism because he believes that it would create a more fair society for everyone; however, this form of taxation shows bias towards the wealthy and still puts one class at a disadvantage. Progressive taxation does have its positives, but because of the discrimination it puts on the individuals who work harder, it is hard for me to look over the flaws within a communist society.
According to Marx’s theory, communism is the best form of government to live under because of true human emancipation. Also, Marx believes that the idea of human emancipation is for the betterment of every individual who lives under communism. Human emancipation is the idea of liberation from the law and government and the alienation of all social classes. Marx believes that the idea of truly being free is human emancipation. True human emancipation is when there is no limitation between society and one’s background like religion and class. Marx states “In place of the old bourgeois society, with its classes and class antagonisms, we shall have an association, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all” (Manifesto of the Communist Party, II: 491). Marx is stating that society as a whole needs to abolish the limitations that are available to everyone as a whole. For example, the idea of practicing religion and the idea of dividing individuals based on social class and race should no longer exist within society. In his theory, Marx believes that society should follow interests as a whole state and not as just individuals. If all the restraints on society or gone, then individuals will not need to strive to fulfill independent needs. According to Marx’s theory and his goal of human emancipation, individuals will be able to reach their greatest potential with the unification of all social classes and the support individuals have for one another. When it comes to Marx’s views on human emancipation, I do agree that it is important to eradicate all limitations like race and class because those two factors are very controversial topics within society. Eliminating the idea of race and class will create more unification instead of division based on personal interests. However, I believe eradicating religion will bring a lot of controversies based on which religion someone practices. “Religious, moral, philosophical and juridical ideas have been modified in the course of historical development. But religion, morality, philosophy, political science, and law, constantly survived this change’ (Manifesto of the Communist Party, II: 489). An atheist believer would have no issue supporting Marx because an atheist has no belief in religion; however, other individuals from different religious backgrounds will disagree with Marx because religion is inevitable.
In my opinion, Karl Marx does highlight a lot of great points on why communism is the optimal form of government. However, it is difficult to foresee the flaws in his theory. I support the idea of creating a balance of equality between the wealthy and the poor, but some of the qualities that Marx discusses that make up communism had its flaws. It is difficult to agree with the idea that communism will be the final stage of history because communism is only possible if all the countries conform to this form of society. Marx believes that “The proletarian is without property…the same in England as in France, in America as in Germany, has stripped him of every trace of national character” (Manifesto of the Communist Party, II: 482). Everyone from all the different countries need to accept the ideals of communism for this theory to be successful, but I suspect the difficulty for everyone from all different countries to agree together. Someone is bound to disagree which will lead to major problems within this form of society. Also, the idea of eradicating inequality is not possible. Someone will always be at a disadvantage, and the disadvantaged will soon voice their opinions about the unfairness within the society that they live in, leading up to a social revolution and a change in government once again.
- Hobbes, Thomas, 1588-1679. Leviathan. Baltimore :Penguin Books, 1968.
- The Marx-Engels Reader. New York : Norton, 1978. Print.