The financial crisis and recession are forcing many to reconsider their views on the current economic, political and social system. Is there really no alternative to them? But in this capacity, Marxism is inevitably not considered.
The common man considers the teaching to be authoritarian, calling for violence. Professional economists consider Marx's conclusions to be incorrect, they accuse him of delusions.
But few have actually read the works of the scientist, or at least excerpts from his thoughts. The writer debunks several myths about the teachings of this famous figure.
Marxism is outdated. It seems that thoughts from 150 years ago simply cannot be applied to the modern world. But after all, such claims can be attributed to Darwin and his theory. Meanwhile, modern biologists do not dispute it. Eagleton believes that while the details of the teachings have changed fundamentally, his basic ideas are even more relevant than ever.
In practice, Marxism leads to tyranny. There is a myth that blames Marxism for the appearance of Stalin and Mao. It must be remembered that Marx only talked about the capitalist system, saying practically nothing about its alternative future. And even more so, he said nothing about the implementation of such ideas, about the need for tyranny. You can't blame Einstein with his work on mass and energy for the appearance of the atomic bomb.
Marxism does not give people freedom and individuality. Of all the accusations attributed to doctrine, this one is the most unjust. The entire teaching of Marx is based on freeing the human personality from the shackles of wage slavery. The philosopher believed that people have the right to the full realization of their creative potential. Marx saw in equality more opportunities for self-realization, and not an option for creating faceless clones.
Marxism is a utopia that ignores humanity. Marx hated abstract utopias and had no illusions about the emergence of a harmonious communist society without disagreements and conflicts. It is strange that he is accused of both class conflicts and an overly idealized society.
Marxism boils down to economics. In fact, Marx was a multifaceted thinker, he was not an economist in the first place. However, this figure believed in fundamental economic relations. Marxism is a teaching about the laws of development of nature and society and about the construction of a new model of mankind.
Marxism is a materialistic teaching that liberates from morality, religion and spirituality. Marx was a modern thinker and his attitude to these issues was exactly the same as that of a rational person at that time or today.
Marxism is obsessed with the obsolete concept of "classes." Most people today are middle class, so the teaching of class conflict seems out of date. Some data on the state of affairs in the modern world are very revealing. Americans are now becoming wealthy through finance and real estate. In terms of types of financial wealth, 38 percent of households own a private business, 60 percent have financial securities, and 62 percent have business capital. The top 10 percent of people own 80 to 90 percent of all stocks, bonds, funds, 75 percent of non-residential real estate. Taking into account the financial situation, it can be said that the top of the 10 percent owns all of America. In other countries, stratification is even more significant.
Marxism calls for violence. Marxism is associated with violent revolution, but Eagleton argues that the author of the theory was simply a sober realist. Marx was not opposed to reforms as such. He was simply skeptical that the elites would peacefully and voluntarily surrender their power. Even if Marxism is not separated from violence against a few people, the normal functioning of the capitalist state and modern society is based on daily violence.
Marxism stands for an authoritarian powerful state. Marxism is credited with the phrase "dictatorship of the proletariat", which links this teaching with Stalin, Mao, or Saddam Hussein. In fact, Eagleton argues that Marx was an implacable opponent of a powerful state or despots at its head. The phrase itself was coined by Marx's political opponent, August Blank. Thus, he formulated the rule of power of ordinary people. Marx believed that the state should not regulate the life of individuals, but become an organ subject to society.
Marxism today is simply an alternative approach, unrelated to the existing ones. There are many alternative doctrines today: feminism, postmodernism, post-positivism, eco-movements, gay rights, ethnic politicians, animal rights, anti-globalism. And all this is considered a new teaching. In some cases, as with postmodernism, it is an alternative to Darwinism. But the antiglobalists and peace fighters just draw inspiration and are based on Marxism.
Marxism has failed in its predictions. It is argued that Marx predicted the demise of capitalism and failed completely. But it is worth looking at those who created this myth today. In November 2008, the Queen of England visited the Mecca of most economists, the London School of Economics. Elizabeth asked about the reasons for the economic downturn and who could have foreseen it. In response, she received a pitiful three pages of accusations of denial of the collective imagination of many bright people. Taking into account all existing modern scientific methods and means, gurus did not understand what was happening in front of them and what should be expected in the future. Marx accurately predicted global social disruptions in the future. The philosopher expressed his claims to political propaganda in the "Manifesto", in "Capital" he demonstrated a deep analysis of the existing system. In his various writings, Marx argued that the system itself will not change, a strong political organization is needed to move forward. You can blame him for wishful thinking. It is easier to say "Workers of all countries unite" than to do. Perhaps Marx underestimated the ability of capitalism to survive and come up with ingenious ways to engage the population. One crisis replaces another, which we are witnessing today.
Marxism predicted the impoverishment of the masses. Critics of the doctrine claim that real wages in developed countries have increased over the past hundred years, which contradicts Marx's predictions. In fact, his thoughts were distorted. The scientist believed that wages can grow, while workers will receive a smaller part of the product produced. And even with the growth of labor productivity and improvement of living standards, the exploiters will receive more and more profits. Marx believed that trade unions could only achieve certain limited improvements through their reforms. High unemployment rates make it possible to hire workers with higher output rates or lower wages. Over the past 25 years, even in the prosperous United States, real wages have dropped significantly. Is this not what the philosopher and economist predicted?