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MARXIST THEORY; A brief Introduction. Ted Trainer 3.2010 On approaching Marxis ! a pre"i inar# note.

Marx can be thought of as having offered two sets of ideas, the first of which we can accept if we wish to, without accepting the second. 1. Marx gave us a theory of society, i.e , an explanation of how society works, of how and why history has unfolded, and especially an account of the nature of capitalis . These are of great value for the task of describing what is going on in the world and for understanding the proble s and directions of our society today. 2. !ut Marx also regarded capitalis as extre ely unsatisfactory and he was very concerned with getting rid of it, via violent revolution and the establish ent of a co unist society. Marxis is therefore also about political goals and action. "bviously very few people in western society today accept this second set of ideas# ost see to think capitalis is desirable, ost do not want to see it destroyed and ost do not like the idea of revolution or co unis . The following notes are intended to show the value of the first of these sets of ideas. "ne can accept Marx$s concepts as being very useful for the purpose of understanding our society without accepting his conde nation of capitalis , his political values or his reco endations for political action. %n other words, if you do not agree with Marxist social ideals and i plications for action, don$t let this interfere with your evaluation of Marxist theory about how our society works. The econo ic sub$structure Marx argued that the econo ic situation, the for of the productive syste , is the ost i portant deter inant of all other aspects of the society, such as its social institutions and ideas, such as the syste of law, of orality and education. These are ele ents within the &superstructure& of society. 'ence Marx is said to be a & aterialist&. Marx rebelled against 'egel$s philosophy in which ideas were taken to be the i portant deter inants of history. Marx argued that do inant ideas are the result of aterial or econo ic conditions and he was therefore strongly opposed to refor ers who thought that ere change in ideas can change society. The ain types of society Marx distinguished were pri itive, slave, feudal and capitalist. %n a capitalist society capitalists own and control the productive resources (i.e., capital), workers own only their labour and work for capitalists, who then own the product and sell it at a profit.

The key to understanding a society at any point in history is to focus first on the ode of production. %n feudal society land was the crucial productive factor and the feudal lords owned and controlled it. %n capitalist society capital, achinery, ines, factories etc. are the key productive factors and these are owned and controlled by capitalists (...as distinct fro being owned by all e bers of society, which is the focal idea in varieties of socialis ). The %forces% of production and the %re"ations% of production. Marx saw the relation between these two factors as the of society existing and of social change. ain deter inant of the type

The *forces of production+ ay be loosely regarded as the type of productive technology the society has# e.g., slave labour, achine technology... The *relations of production+ refers to the social organisation of production# i.e., basically who owns the productive forces, or how they are controlled. ,or instance in a slave society asters force slaves to do the work, and in a feudal society serfs are obliged to work for the lord a certain nu ber of days each week. %n capitalist society capitalists own society$s productive resources and e ploy workers to operate these for a wage when capitalists think profits can be ade. -t first the relation between new forces of production and new relations of production is progressive or beneficial to society in general. Marx stressed the great increase in hu an welfare that econo ic growth under capitalis had brought. 'owever as ti e goes on the situation beco es less and less beneficial. The new social relations of production begin to hinder the full develop ent and application of the new forces of production. ,or exa ple in the late feudal era it was not in the interests of the lords to allow land to be sold or labourers to sell their labour freely to any e ployer. These practices were inhibited although they eventually beca e essential in the capitalist ode of production and therefore in the increase in production and benefits that capitalis brought. .i ilarly at present we are unable to apply powerful technology to doing useful things like designing longer/lasting goods, and feeding hungry people si ply because of the existing social relations of production. That is, the relations of production take a for in which control over the application of productive forces is in the hands of capitalists and it is not in their interests to do these socially beneficial things. This is a a0or contradiction in conte porary capitalist society. .uch contradictions have been intrinsic in all class societies and as each has developed its contradictions have beco e ore and ore glaring, to the point where they lead to revolutionary change. .o the relation between the forces and the social relations of production and the conse1uences this generates is the a0or dyna ic factor in history, the pri ary cause of social change. &"asses' and c"ass conf"ict.

The social relations of production involve different classes. The basic deter inant of one$s class is one$s relationship to the eans of production. ,or exa ple in late capitalist society the two basic classes re aining are the owners of the eans of production, i.e., capitalists, and those who own only their labour, i.e., the workers or proletariat. .o in any historical period do inant and subservient classes can be identified. %ne1uality in wealth and power was of funda ental oral concern to Marx. .o e groups co e to do inate others and to win for the selves a disproportionate share of the society2s wealth, power and privileges. The ulti ate goal Marxists ai at is a classless society, i.e., a society in which all en0oy ore or less e1ual wealth and power. Marx said history is basically about the struggle between classes for do inance. &The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles&. Marxists stress that social analysis should focus on class structure and relations. %n other words the ost i portant 1uestions to ask about a society are to do with what groups in society do inate or gain ost benefit fro the status 1uo, or whose interests does the situation or policy or proposal serve ost3 %n capitalist society the capitalist class benefits ost# i.e., those who own and control the eans of production receive a disproportionate share of wealth, power, privileges and status. There are other classes but as ti e goes on these are s1uee4ed into either the s all capitalist class or the large working class. 5ote that there is an i portant distinction between big business, which includes the transnational corporations and banks, and s all business. Many s all fir s and fa ily far s and shops are usually struggling, only providing their owners will low inco es. These people are not investing capital in order to ake profits fro enterprises in which they have no other stake, so they are not really part of the capitalist class. They are ore like peasants who own and work on their own far s. %t is also i portant to note that ost people own so e wealth, such as their house, but this is not capital. Most capital, i.e., factories, oney, is owned by very few people, perhaps as few as 26 of the world2s people. Histor# %t can be seen fro the foregoing that Marx put forward a theory of history, or a principle which he thought explained the dyna ic of history. The basic ele ent in this is the 'egelian idea of a &dialectical progression& whereby a) an original situation or idea or &thesis& exists, b) an &antithesis& develops in opposition to this, c) the two are resolved into a &synthesis$, which beco es the new thesis. %n any historical era, e.g., feudalis , the inherent contradictions or class conflicts (e.g., between the do inant landowning lords and the rising co ercial classes) co e to a head in so e sort of revolution and are resolved when a new social order stabilises (e.g., the early capitalist era).

'istory is therefore pri arily a function of aterial or econo ic conditions. ('ence the ter s &historical aterialis & and &dialectical aterialis &). The relation between the types of productive technology in use and the social relations or organisation and control of those for s of production is what has deter ined the nature of pri itive, slave, feudal and capitalist society, and what has oved society fro one to the other. Marx thought his theory of history was a a0or achieve ent and one of the two insights (along with his theory of value) which established Marxis as a science. ('owever any think this is 1uite istaken and that there are no inevitable laws of history.) 'owever, this repeating cycle will co e to an end. The thesis of capitalis and the antithesis of the proletariat will issue into a synthesis which will eventually see the achieve ent of a classless society. !ecause it has been the existence of class conflict which has generated change, in a classless society the dialectical process will have co e to an end. This does not ean there can be no further change or progress, e.g., in art or science, but it does see to ean that there will be no further political change. The capita"ist ode of production

The forces of production in capitalist society include the factory ethod (as distinct fro production by fa ily units within the ho e or by individual crafts en, as was the case in earlier ti es) and intensive achine technology. This ode re1uires large invest ents of capital to be ade in plant, ines, etc., and it involves the extensive use of science and technology in developing ore sophisticated processes. The ost i portant of the social relations of production in a capitalist society are, a) ownership and control of society$s productive resources are in the hands of a few who invest their capital or put their factories to production only if they think profit can be ade, and b) ost e bers of society have to sell their labour to capitalists, have to accept orders in the workplace, and have no say or stake in production other than their pay packets. Marxists also insist that only labour should be able to earn oney and that oney should not be able to earn oney. %n other words they do not think people who are rich should be able to receive an inco e as interest on their savings or invest ents, especially as this eans that the richer one is the ore inco e one gets without having to work7while rich people consu e goods ade by people who ust work for their inco e. (rofit )s need. 8onventional econo ic theory and practice are based on the assu ption that it is desirable for production and develop ent to be driven by profit. The theory is that only if capitalists produce what people de and will profits be axi ised, and therefore the ost efficient allocations be ade. 'owever Marxists and others e phasise that there can be and typically is a huge gulf between production for profit

and production to eet needs. 9rofits are axi ised by producing what relatively richer people want and can pay for. -s a result usually the urgent needs of poorer people, and the needs of the environ ent are seriously neglected. The "abour theor# of )a"ue . Marxists argue that the value of goods should be calculated in ter s of the a ount of labour that went into their production. 8onventional econo ics does not do this# it takes as value whatever will be paid in the arket place. (rofit and exp"oitation - funda ental Marxist the e is that capitalist profit aking constitutes exploitation of workers. :hen a capitalist sells so ething his worker ade and receives ore for the ite than he paid for the inputs including the workers2 wages he is taking a portion of the value that the worker created. The worker$s labour created the total value realised in the sale price but he only received a portion of this value, and he is therefore being exploited by the capitalist who controls the productive situation but does no work in the creation of the product. The argu ent is clearest in the case of shareholders who have nothing to do with the factory except invest their oney in it and who then receive an inco e without having to do any work for it. %n other words the capitalist$s profits are not to be confused with any wages he ight draw for his anagerial effort. "ften all anagers are paid a wage for their labour, while all those who provide the capital do not work yet receive an inco e which is so e proportion of the wealth created by the labour in the factory. The conventional counterargu ent is that it takes capital as well as labour to produce things and wages are the return to labour while profit is the return to capital. 9rofit is the incentive that persuades those who hold capital to put it into production, which benefits the rest of us. 'owever, the Marxist insists that it would be better to organise society in such a way that all people own and control the capital and no one gets an inco e without working for it. .i ilarly, to argue that profit is the capitalist$s reward for risking his capital is only to say that he takes the risk of losing it and then having to work for an inco e like the rest of us; The strongest argu ent for a profit/ otivated econo y in which fir s are privately owned ight be that unearned inco e is the best alternative to the heavy handed, bureaucratic, inefficient and dictatorial planning socialis inevitably involves. 'owever this is to overlook the possibility of a de ocratic, participatory socialis in which capital is not all owned or controlled by the state. <ocal cooperative groups could own and control basic factories, and any ight be privately owned but carefully regulated by society. 5evertheless one of the biggest proble s for socialis is how to set and ad0ust the huge nu ber of prices of goods on sale, if not via a arket. The contradictions in capita"is .

Marx argued that at first capitalis released great progressive develop ents, especially large increases in production and therefore in the aterial wealth of people in general. 'owever as ti e passed the forces of production and the social relations of production ca e increasingly into conflict, contradictions surfaced and the social relations of production began to thwart the full application of technology and productive potential to social needs. These internal contradictions will continue to increase in severity over ti e and ulti ately they will result in the destruction of the capitalist syste . The central conflicts built into the structure of capitalis concern the process whereby capitalists accu ulate profits. 8apitalists are involved in savage co petition with each other and therefore there is great pressure to develop ore efficient production and better technology. There is a tendency over ti e for capitalists to increase the percentage of their capital invest ent that goes into achinery (&fixed capital&) and to decrease the percentage put into buying labour. %n other words there is a tendency for what Marx called the &organic co position& of capital to change. 8onse1uently workers in general take ho e less pay and increasing &i iseration& of the proletariat acco panies the capitalist$s increasing accu ulation of wealth. 8onse1uently workers have less purchasing power and because they therefore cannot buy all the goods that the capitalists$ factories can produce there is a tendency for capitalists profits to fall in the long run. These two conse1uences of the essential contradiction built into the nature of capitalis will result in its eventual destruction. !oth the workers$ situation and the capitalist2s profits will deteriorate to the point where revolution will occur. 8ritics have said that in the one hundred years since Marx$s death there has been precisely the reverse of the predicted i iseration of the proletariat. Material living standards have risen enor ously. The ain counterargu ent is that this is only true within the few rich countries and has been at the expense of conditions in the Third :orld. .o e would argue that only since the id/1=>0s has capitalis ?. have actually fallen slightly for twenty years or ore, while the rich have beco e uch richer. The i portant idea here is that capitalis has built into its foundations forces and tendencies that will destroy it so e day. :ill its contradictions inevitably lead to collapse3 %n the 1==0s it was far fro self/destruction. %n fact any thought its triu ph over co unis with the fall of the ?..@ eant that it had been indisputably established as the only and final path for hu anity to follow. More recently it could be arued that financial crises and especially environ ental proble s represent the syste 2s inability to solve the accelerating proble s it generates.. Accu u"ation. Marxists stress that the factor which deter ines what happens in our society is the drive to accu ulate capital# i.e., the ceaseless 1uest to ake profits, which are then reinvested, to ake ore profit, in an endless spiral of capital accu ulation. This leads to innovation and change. :hy is there now a McAonalds in your street3 :hy has so uch anufacturing left -ustralia3 These changes have co e about because co peting fir s are always looking for ways of axi ising their profits.

5ote that capitalists have no choice here. They ust constantly seek ore profitable fields for invest ent, because they are co peting against each other and if they fall behind they will be killed off. %t is i portant not to focus criticis on capitalists# it is the capitalist syste that is the proble . 8apitalists are locked into deadly co petition. (Borten 1==C, explains how executives who do things like preserver forests will therefore not axi ise profits and will thus be targeted for hostile takeover by fir s who can see that greater profits can be ade there.) The prob"e of surp"us.

8apitalis is increasingly faced with the enor ous proble of finding profitable outlets for all the capital that is constantly accu ulating. This proble has led to any i portant pheno ena, such as takeover ania, speculation on exchange rates and on co odities, the 1=D> stock arket crash, and ore recently the %nfor ation Technology boo , the -sian eltdown and the lElobal ,inancial 8risis. The proble of surplus is the a0or factor that has led to globalisation, because globalisation involves re oving barriers blocking access to greater opportunities for profitable invest ent of the ver/accu ulating surplus. The socia" effects of capita"is ; a* a"ienation in +or,. Two so ewhat distinct strands can be distinguished in Marx$s writings. "ne is focused on econo ics, and involves the clai to have discovered the scientific laws of history, i.e., the way change and develop ent follows a dialectic pattern to do with productive relations, which will end with socialist revolution and the eventual e ergence of co unis . 'owever it was only in the Twentieth century that Marx$s writings on ore philosophical and social the es, such as alienation, were discovered. "ne of Marx$s ain criticis s of capitalis was that it involved &alienated& labour. :orkers in a capitalist society are typically obliged to perfor only a few li ited and routine operations, they rarely build the whole ite nor see the final product, work is often boring, workers have no say in what happens to the product because it is not their property, they do not own their tools, they have no say in the planning or organisation of work, they 0ust do what they are told, they ust work within strict rules, especially regarding ti e, under conditions of intense division of labour. They have little or no opportunity for exercise of initiative. Their only interest in the entire work process is the oney they get for working. (These conditions were ore characteristic of the factory in Marx2s ti e, but less evident in the odern office.) !y contrast the subsistence far er or &pri itive& tribes an can decide what he will work on at any o ent, at what pace he$ll work, how to do the 0ob, when to take a break. 'e can control and plan and vary the whole process, and he knows that the product of his work will be his to en0oy or use or exchange. Marx regarded satisfying work as being very i portant for a hu an$s e otional or spiritual welfare. 'u ans are so ehow inco plete or deprived of so ething i portant if they cannot engage in worthwhile and satisfying effort to produce things

for the selves and their co unities, and capitalis destroys any possibility of the sort of self/sufficient, self/controlled and intrinsically rewarding work Marx valued. The socia" effects of capita"is ; b* The destruction of co unit#.

Marx argued that capitalis tends to destroy al ost all non/econo ic or non/profit/ related values and replaces these with a ere &cash nexus&. %t akes the arket and therefore considerations of onetary profit and loss the sole criteria of value, action and exchange. ,or instance in feudal ti es, whether or not one would work for another or buy or sell so ething depended on any i portant oral and religious and traditional rules and values, not on the prospects for personal econo ic gain. The develop ent of capitalis tore ost of these considerations away and ade the sole criterion the 1uestion of econo ic advantage. 'ence it beca e acceptable to buy and sell labour and land. 8onte porary critics argue that the arket and the capitalist2s need for o bile workers has broken the strong e otional bonds individuals used to have to places, groups, people and traditions, and have contributed to a decline of co unity. The individual now typically exists as an unattached social ato in & ass society&, without strong e otional co it ents and social bonds. 'ence the incidence of anxiety, loneliness, individual and fa ily breakdown, suicide, cri e, alcoholis etc. -nother way of putting this criticis is that capitalis turns al ost all things into co odities for sale, especially labour. <abour, land and oney were not co odities for sale in feudal ti es. "ne can now talk of personalities, behaviour and education as co odities. .ales en sell their personalities and behaviours to e ployers who use these to get people to buy their products. The 1uality of a society depends pri arily on its non/ aterial and non/cash relations, so we should be concerned about the increasing co ercialisation. ,or a discussion of the need to &e bed& arket relations in social relations, that is to prevent considerations of onetary gain fro do inating a society, see especially Barl 9olanyi. (Aalton, 1=FD.) The state. Marxists argue that the state serves the do inant classes in society. The state is &the executive co ittee of the bourgeoisie&. %n capitalist society the state rules pri arily in the interest of the capitalist class. ,or exa ple the state takes as its top priority increasing econo ic (i.e., business) activity, when it is clear that this is now acco panied by a falling 1uality of life and by environ ental destruction. The state$s ost i portant characteristic is that is has the power to coerce e bers of society# e.g., to 0ail, fine or execute, and to ake war. Marx clai ed that the state will cease to exist when society beco es classless. 'e see s to have eant that the coercive apparatus, e.g., police and ar y, will not be necessary because these function pri arily to enforce rules which benefit the do inant classes, but there will still be a need for bureaucracy to look after organisation and planning. Ideo"og#; fa"se consciousness.

Ao inated and exploited classes typically do not understand their situation or their interests. They do not realise that the situation is un0ust. This is usually due to the acceptance of ideas which cast the status 1uo as being legiti ate# e.g., peasants ight believe that kings have a divine right to rule and that Eod ordains that the poor should accept their lot with good grace, or that a iserable life in this world is not very i portant or worth trying to change because the i portant thing is to prepare one$s soul for the next world. %n our era Marxists stress the role of the edia in reinforcing the do inant ideology, especially by not giving space to funda ental criticis s of capitalist society. %n any class society there will be a do inant ideology, which will be ade up of the ideas which it suits the do inant class for people to hold. The acceptance of these perspectives and values by the working class is also referred to as &bourgeois hege ony&. Marx thought that late in the history of capitalis workers will develop clearer awareness of their situation and their interests, i.e., class consciousness will e erge. :orkers will co e to see that the prevailing social relations of production are not in their interests. 'owever, even in Marx$s ti e there was considerable debate as to whether workers will develop sufficient class consciousness on their own, or whether this will only rise to a &trade union& entality, which look no further than winning gains within the capitalist syste , unless they are led towards revolution by a vanguard co unist party. <enin argued for the need for a secret and dedicated co unity party, to lead the workers. Re)o"ution. Marx thought that capitalis contains forces and processes which cannot help but increase its internal difficulties to the point where it inevitably collapses. Through the deteriorating align ent between the forces and the relations of production contradictions beco e ore glaring, there is polarisation into capitalists and proletarian classes, the i iseration of the proletariat increases, the class consciousness of the proletariat increases and revolution breaks out. Ma0or social change is not possible without revolution. !ourgeois revolutions overthrew feudal society, e.g., the ,rench @evolution. Marxists insist that do inant classes will not voluntarily give up power, wealth and privilege. Their control has to be taken away fro the , and this ight have to involve violence. The &inevitability& of revolution has been a atter of debate a ong Marxists since the failure of the 1DGD atte pted revolutions. .o e have argued that history needs a push. <enin especially thought that workers will not rise to revolutionary consciousness on their own and he argued for and developed a co unist party to lead the workers. Marx was in general opposed to a vanguard which ight operate as far beyond the workers as <enin$s party operated, although he did ake vague re arks about the party being an advanced and resolute section of the proletariat. @e e ber that he thought he had discovered the laws by which history

worked, where by capitalis destruction.

would auto atically

ove towards its own self/

Marxists have therefore been concerned with the proble of whether to work for a & ini u & progra , i.e., to assist capitalis to ove towards aturity and subse1uent self/destruction, or a & axi u & progra , i.e., to strive directly to engineer revolution. This issue was extre ely i portant in their late l=th 8entury discussion of whether @ussia could ove to revolution without having to go through a capitalist phase. %n the Third :orld so e Marxist groups have actually held back fro revolutionary activity because they did not think capitalis had atured sufficiently. 'owever, at the end of his life Marx see ed to think that a non/violent and non/ industrial path to socialis ight be possible, through develop ent of the traditional collective @ussian village. That is, it ight not be necessary to go through the long and arduous period of industrialisation and develop ent of a working class, increasing i iseration and eventual revolution. Many -narchists think it is possible to begin building a new, post/capitalist society now, without having to wait for or work for the destruction of capitalis . (This is called &prefiguring&# see 5otes on -narchis ). After the re)o"ution. Marx did not say uch about the for society would take after capitalis . Hventually a classless society would co e into existence, free of political conflicts, coercion, do ination and exploitation. % ediately after the revolution when the proletariat gained control there would have to be a period of &dictatorship of the proletariat& which would be necessary to re ove all ele ents of capitalis , especially the ideas and values aking up bourgeois ideology. %n this period of state socialis people would still be otivated to work by differential wages and there would have to be a strong state, in the hands of the worker$s party, which ran a planned econo y. 'owever, Marx thought that in ti e a collectivist society (co unis ) would e erge in which control and decision aking would be in the hands of the people as a whole. The coercive state would wither away, intense division of labour and specialisation would cease, the outlook and otivation of individuals would be collective and cooperative, and people would have uch greater opportunity to develop and fulfil their potential than they had under capitalis . Marx was opti istic about the capacity of hu ans to do these things, seeing greed, co petition and conflict as dispositions produced by class do ination. 9erhaps the best clue to the nature of co unist society is given by the state ent &,ro each according to his ability, to each according to his needs&. This eans that all would contribute as best they could, with those ore able doing ore, but all would be rewarded not according to their output, skill or status but in proportion to their needs. .o we would all do a reasonable day2s work although so e would be able to produce ore than others, but if one person who can$t do as uch as the rest has greater needs that person will receive ore. This is the way a good fa ily works.

%t is obviously a noble principle but could we organise large syste s, like a nation state this way3 -narchists think the chances of a society following this principle are best when societies are very s all, aking fa iliarity and cooperation on local tasks ore likely. (,or differences between Marx and the -narchists see 5otes on -narchis .)

&RITI&ISMS O- MARX.S THEORY. ,ollowing are criticis s that are co only ade.

/ Too uch e phasis is given to the econo ic factor in explaining social order and change. 8ulture see ed to be explained solely as derived fro the econo ic &substructure&. 'owever it has a degree of &autono y&# for exa ple it is difficult to explain the advent of gay liberation in ter s of productive or econo ic relations. / Hven if you get rid of capitalis you ight still have enor ous proble s of conflict and do ination in society. .tate bureaucracies as well as capitalists can do inate // ask the @ussians. / Marx2s theory of history is contradicted by the fact that industrialised countries have not oved closer to revolution. The recent revolutions have been in peasant societies, such as 8hina. 8apitalist societies see to have beco e ore secure fro threat of revolution throughout the 20th century. / Many would say there are no laws of history and that Marx was istaken in thinking he had discovered the laws of history, and in thinking that his theory was scientific. / -narchists say Marxists fail to grasp the unacceptable dangers in their readiness to take an authoritarian/centralist approach. Marxists are willing to use the authoritarian state to run society after the revolution and to be ruthless in this. This is extre ely dangerous# those in control can2t be trusted and are very likely to beco e an entrenched dictatorship. (H.g., .talinis .) / Many if not all -narchists would also re0ect Marx$s theory of how capitalis can or will be replaced, which involves confronting capitalis , class conflict, sei4ing the state and taking power fro the capitalist class, and destroying capitalis , a process which will probably involve violence. 'owever so e anarchists believe the change could co e via increasing awareness and disenchant ent, the building of alternative co unities based on anti/capitalist principles, and thus an increase in the nu bers who want to abandon capitalis 7especially given that its co ing difficulties will probably increasingly reveal its inability to provide for all. / Marx (and ost Marxists today) failed to take ecological sustainability into account. They are strong believers in industrial develop ent and &progress&, rising aterial &living standards& and econo ic growth. They think that capitalis is responsible for all proble s and that when it has been eli inated we can release the previously restricted power of industry and eli inate waste to enrich everyone. %n

other words, Marxis has no concept of *li its to growth+. -ffluence and econo ic growth are regarded as desirable and possible. *Aark green+ critics insist that a good, post/capitalist society cannot be a growth society, and it cannot have high per capita levels of resource consu ption. Eetting rid of capitalis is not enough# there is even bigger proble , set by the co it ent to industrialis , growth and affluence. Marx could not have lknown that a ti e would co e when we would run into a pro le of over/consu ption. ,ro the perspective of *The .i pler :ay& a high 1uality of life for all is achievable without high aterial &living standards& or uch odern technology, let alone industrialisation and %T etc. :e have no doubt that Marx was istaken about scarcity, the stinginess of nature and the i possibility of hu an e ancipation before technical advance delivered aterial abundance. 'is concept of develop ent was really the sa e as capitalist odernisation. That is capital is crucial for develop ent. 'e dis issed peasant ways and Marxists are not sy pathetic to the notion of &appropriate develop ent& conceived ainly in ter s of &subsistence$ and lowIinter ediate technology and cooperative ways focused on local econo ic self/ sufficiency...a Eandhian way. (.ee Third :orld Aevelop ent..) /%n other words advocates of The .i pler :ay clai Marx was 1uite istaken in thinking that socialis would not be possible without odern technology, industrialisation and aterial affluence. -chieving a good society does not re1uire elaborate technology nor abundance. %t depends on whether or not the right values are held. There have been societies, and there are societies today in which people live well with very hu ble aterial lifestyles and without odern technology. (.ee <adakh# 5otes on an %nspiring .ociety.) / Marxist ideas on how to change society are also strongly criticised by the -narchists. Marxists thought capitalis ust be fought and overthrown through violent revolution, because the capitalist class will never voluntary give up any of its privileges. There ust be leadership by a vanguard party prepared to be ruthless and to use violence, and which will rule in an authoritarian way after the revolution. Hventually when people have developed the right ideas and values the state can dissolve and there will be a co unist society. THE /A01E O- THE THEORY -OR 123ERTSTA23I24 THE 5OR03 TO3AY. Much of what is wrong with the world today is explicable in Marxist ter s, i.e., as conse1uences of allowing profit otivation to deter ine production and distribution, which is what happens when a few capitalists own all the capital The inevitable result is production of the ost profitable things, not the ost needed things. %n a world where there is enor ous ine1uality this eans invest ent goes into producing consu er goods and luxuries for people in rich countries, while the needs of billions of people are ore or less ignored. %t eans the rich few take ost of the available resources because they can pay ore for the ( i.e., it is ore profitable for capitalists to sell to the relatively rich), it eans that uch Third :orld productive capacity, especially land, goes into producing crops for export to rich countries when it should be producing food for hungry people.

%n other words, in a capitalist syste there is develop ent of the wrong things (develop ent in the interests of the rich) because what is done is that which is ost profitable. 8onventional develop ent theory says that in ti e this approach will result in &trickle down& of wealth to all. -fter C0 years of this approach it is clear that there is very little tendency for this to happen. (8onsiderable wealth has flowed to poorer people in the Third :orld in recent decades, but the poorest 1 billion see to have got poorer. .i ilarly, uch that is wrong in the richest countries is explicable in these sa e ter s. :e have great need for the production of any goods, such as cheap housing, but these things are not produced while there is excessive production of any luxuries and trivial ite s // because this is what axi ises return on private capital. :e have an econo y in which there is enor ous waste, especially via production of ite s that are not necessary, or that will not last, trinkets and luxuries. The global environ ent and resource proble s and the bad distribution of resources between rich and poor nations indicates that we should greatly reduce this production // but this is not possible because ours is a capitalist econo y. There would be a huge 0u p in une ploy ent and bankruptcy. %ndeed it is an econo y in which there is continual pressure to increase production and consu ption all the ti e because capitalists always want to increase their factories, their sales and their inco e. The last thing they want is to see reduced business turnover. ?ne ploy ent and auto ation are proble s in this econo y si ply because capital is privately owned. %f a better achine is invented the capitalist who owns the factory receives all the benefit, while the workers lose their 0obs. .o of course there is a proble . %n a socialist econo y the achine could be adopted without these effects. -ll would share in ore free ti e or cheaper goods. .i ilarly the only way a capitalist society can solve the une ploy ent proble is to find ore things for displaced workers to produce, when we already produce uch ore than we need. These pheno ena are well described by the Marxist ter &contradictions&. 8apitalist society inevitably involves huge contradictions because the forces of production clash with the relations of production. - good exa ple is the fact that the world could easily feed all people yet hundreds of illions are hungry while 1I3 of the world$s grain production is fed to ani als in rich countries. :e have the productive capacity (forces of production) to solve this proble but this is not done because it is not in the interests of those who control capital. They ake ore oney selling the grain for feedlot beef production (i.e., there are capitalist relations of production, a capitalist organisation of production). %n other words, if you allow society$s capital to be privately owned then you will inevitably run into this sort of contradiction because often what s ost profitable for capitalists to invest in is not what ost needs doing. (-n alternative econo y ight not necessarily eli inate all free enterprise or private capital, but it would involve control and onitoring of private enterprise to ensure that ost invest ent goes where it is ost needed. 1nderstanding 4"oba"isation

The develop ent of the world econo y in the last 20 years would see to further illustrate the value of the Marxist approach to analysing society. -round 1=>0 capitalists have experienced great difficulty finding profitable invest ent outlets for all the capital they are constantly accu ulating. This has fuelled the now huge push for globalisation# i.e., the ove towards a unified global econo y in which there is great freedo for arket forces, because this gives capitalists ore opportunities for profitable invest ent. (.ee the Elobalisation section, in "ur Hcono ic .yste .) The big corporations and banks have uch ore freedo than before to go where they wish and trade, invest and develop as they wish. 9reviously there were any laws and regulations restricting the entry of foreign investors, the capacity of corporations to trade and the right of financial institutions to lend and ove oney around. These were the rules govern ents set and protect their citi4ens, industries and ecosyste s. These any rules used to set standards corporations had to eet regarding labour conditions, health, environ ental i pacts, and hu an rights standards, and they enabled govern ents to get corporations to locate in disadvantaged areas etc. Elobalisation represents enor ous success on the part of the corporations and banks in having any of these regulations and restrictions to their freedo eli inated, in the na e of increasing the freedo of enterprise and trade. -ll govern ents have eagerly facilitated these processes, which does not surprise Marxists because they see the state as always ruling in the interests of capital. -bove all globalisation involves deregulation# i.e., govern ents re oving controls on what corporations can do and increasing the scope for arket forces to operate, freeing foreign invest ent, trade, labour arkets etc. fro controls by the state. Elobalisation also involves privatisation # i.e., govern ents transferring public enterprises to corporations, thereby increasing the a ount of business for corporations to do. %n the Third :orld the .tructural -d0ust ent 9rogra s the :orld !ank has i posed on indebted countries have been a0or forces for globalisation, because these progra s i pose conditions such as deregulating the econo y, increasing access for foreign investors, cutting state spending and increasing dependence on exportation of co odities. %n Marxist ter s globalisation can be seen as the situation to which capitalis inevitably leads, i.e., where the ceaseless drive to accu ulate ore and ore capital obliges capitalists to try to break down all re aining i pedi ents to invest ent, arkets, resources, cheap labour and profitable business opportunities. Elobalisation is about the being able to get into and take over arkets which they were previously kept out of by govern ent regulation, especially protection of local industries against cheap i ports. 'undreds of illions of poor people in the Third :orld have been further i poverished because transnational corporations are now able to co e in and take over the arkets and resources that used to be preserved for the benefit of locals. Elobalisation akes clear the great conflict of interest between between capitalists and the rest. Thus analysis in ter s of class is crucial. Elobalisation ust be analysed in ter s of winners and losers. There are very few winners, ostly the

corporate shareholders and people who shop in rich world super arkets. Thus the recent history of the world is pri arily explicable in ter s of this class conflict. The capitalist class has en0oyed triu phant success, it is rapidly beco ing richer and is dra atically restructuring the world in its interests. :orkers, unions and the <eft are very weak and large nu bers of people are being co pletely excluded and du ped, including the long ter une ployed, and one billion people in the ,ourth :orld. There is increasing polarisation and i iseration. Hxtre es of wealth and poverty are now accelerating in even the richest countries. Elobalisation and the neo/ liberal agenda are gutting society, destroying the conditions on which are crucial for cohesion, such as valuing the public good, concern for the under dog and for society, and concern for the environ ent. Aalton, E., (1=FD), -rchaic, 9ri itive and Modern Hcono ies# Hssays of Barl 9olanyi, Borten, A. 8., (1==C), :hen 8orporations @ule the :orld, :est 'artford, Bu arian 9ress.