The Problem For Those Who Have Never Read Marx

The problem for those who have never read Marx, or at least never had it explained to them, is they seem to think the political system we get is based upon ideas, & that the word ‘communism’ simply represents a bad idea, even if by that they mean ‘good’ idea in theory, but results in a ‘bad’ reality.

This is still the unscientific approach to history held by even the utopian socialists of Marx’s day that he corrected.
He famously said, “Men make their own history, but they do not do it just as they please, they do not make it under circumstances chosen by themselves”.
There are material forces driving history.
These are essentially economic – the productive forces shape the productive relations.
In otherwords, feudalism gives us landlords & peasants, & capitalism gives us capitalists & wage-workers.
Furthermore, our understanding of society – our political consciousness – is shaped by the material reality: “It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness.”
So a scientific analysis of human history begs the question as to whether capitalism is the ‘end of history’?
Can capitalism exist forever, or does it have a direction that will result in new productive relations?
This is why Marx spent most of his life trying to understand the economics of capitalism & wrote a book with the subtitle ‘A Critique of Political Economy’.
In this book he showed that capitalism’s competitive drive for profit actually undermines its profitability – something even acknowledged by the classical economists of his time, & also by Keynes.
That the drive for ever more capital intensity, whilst providing super-profits for the first adopters, actually reduces the profit rate for the capitalist class as a whole.
The competitive drive for replacing wage-labour with new technology means ever greater capital-intensity & so drives out the value producing labour that is the source of all profits.
This means ever greater inequality, as we see today, so that even as a few get richer & richer with the centralisation & concentration of capital, the capitalist class as a whole see a fall in the rate of profit.
More & more is spent of simply replacing depreciating technology, & less & less is available for profits, & importantly wages.
The class struggle becomes sharper & sharper, as despite the obvious mass inequality, attacks on workers wages, pensions, conditions attempt to restore falling profit rates.
The obvious unfairness & injustice becomes all to evident.
Today they even have the central banks print them money to record profits.
For half a century now they have been reliant upon ever greater debt to record such profits.
This debt is essentially future labour time that will never be realised.
Since 2008, & now with the pandemic, this debt has reached record levels.
When the latest asset price bubble pops, that is the chain of credit breaks, the fictitious profits will turn negative & the capitalist system will be called into question.
When workers cannot feed their children or keep a roof over their heads they look for an alternative out of material necessity.
That is the basis of revolution: the end of the private ownership of the economy, & the beginning of a new mode of production where the people have social/common ownership of the economy.

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