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Adam I. Gerard
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Why I Oppose Marxism

There are few Marxists left in academia. But the historical influence of Marxism lingers on.

Note: I am certainly not opposed to debating, learning about, or discussing Marxism in academia (or anywhere else) but think there are serious flaws with accepting it as a guiding truth.

Philosophical objections to Marxism

Many arguments have been leveled against Marxism in Economics. Here, I'll focus on a few philosophical objections. Some known, some new.

Materialism

Marx believed that Hegel was wrong for several reasons but foremost among these criticisms were:

  1. That Hegel was not a metaphysical materialist; and
  2. That Hegel failed to grasp that economics was the primary driver of world events (and not the evolution of consciousness through the unfolding of the dialectic - the clash of opposing views) because of 1.
  3. That Marxist socialism was a science since it could be grounded in materialist metaphysics and was subject to the same kinds of predictable regularities as other materialist sciences (like physics and chemistry).

But, metaphysical materialism is false. It’s patently undermined by current science.

Ontological Economic Calculus

The (epistemic) Economic Calculation Problem reprised:

The economic calculus problem implies that no small group of (skilled) humans can correctly price all economic goods (no matter how well-skilled they are).

  1. Marxism is characterized by command-style economies run by technocratic bureaucrats.
  2. Because the Soviet Central Committee failed to correctly price, quantify, and produce consumer goods, the Soviet economy collapsed.

A second, parallel, objection is that individual, atomic, economic transactions cannot be effectively coordinated through artificial pricing schemes controlled by centralized organizations (e.g. - a collective or aggregate).

This is justified on the basis of appealing to results like Arrow's Theorem whose implications for economic pricing calculations (as well as public policy) reveal that no single centralized decision can effectively align with mass preference (whether in markets or law).

This argument is ontological (whereas the famous argument above is epistemic).

The Labor Theory of Value is Wrong

  1. If Marxism is true, then the Labor Theory of Value is true.
  2. But, the Labor Theory of Value isn't true.
  3. Therefore, Marxism isn't true either.

The Labor Theory of Value is the doctrine that the economic value of a good or service is primarily dependent on raw labor inputs.

But the Labor Theory of Value is false.

15 minutes of work can be worth $1,000,000 and 15 hours of work can be worth $150. This is an empirical fact (when we observe the world before we subjugate it to our theories) and inherent to the concept of value (which allows for greater freedom than a simple association between resources and money).

Marxism Does Not Have a Monopoly On Economic Fairness

A commitment to a fair economy where people are treated with equality is not something that Marxism, as an ideology, has a monopoly on.

Any economic system can be brought into greater or worse levels of equality or fairness.

Marxist countries experienced staggering economic inequality, genocide, mass starvation, and social collapse. In just 25 years, globalization, through its vessel, capitalism, lifted almost a billion people out of extreme poverty.

Venture Capital firms and Casinos led to the creation of the first Universal Basic Incomes in America. Not socialist republics.

Empirical Observations

Empirical argument:

  1. Marxist societies (and their offspring) have had the worst conditions for most workers. The Gulag, death camps, forced collectivization, etc.
  2. Marxism consistently failed to bring about its predicted global revolution (the always impending but never materializing revolution of the proletariat) and mostly collapsed by the end of the 20th century.

Marxist Scholars Are Unqualified

Most Marxist academics have never once worked in a factory or lived with the poor. While they decry capitalism, they do so without having much affinity with the actual working class.

Less an ad hominem and more a critique about claims to special knowledge (e.g. - claims to have discovered a novel economic science) despite having little in the way of raw empirical data or experience to support such claims (and nearly a century of data showing otherwise).

Capitalism certainly has its own flaws (which I think are firmly routed in how money is engineered rather than archaic ideological debates) but is the more preferable of the two.

Resources

  1. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/socialism/
  2. https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/marx/

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