Karl Marx Portrait is Public Domain
Marxism For Fun and Profit
"No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the greater part of its members are poor and miserable. It is but equity besides, that they who feed, [clothe -- RJG] and lodge the whole body of the people, should have such a share of the produce of their own labor as to be themselves tolerably well fed, [clothed -- RJG] and lodged." Adam Smith , The Wealth of Nations , Book I, Chapter 8. [Changes of words to their modern spellings, and amplifications of quotes or archaic usages are in brackets, with my initials, RJG (Richard James Girard). The spelling conventions of British authors, translators, and editors are retained in all quotes.]
"Finally, there came a time when everything that men had considered as inalienable became an object of exchange, of traffic and could be alienated. This is the time when the very things which till then had been communicated, but never exchanged; given, but never sold; acquired, but never bought--virtue, love, conviction, knowledge, conscience, etc.--when everything, in short, passed into commerce. It is the time of general corruption , of universal venality, or, to speak in terms of political economy [economics, RJG], the time when everything, moral or physical, having become a marketable value, is brought to the market to be assessed at its truest value." -- Karl Marx , The Poverty of Philosophy , p. 16
I first used the philosophy and economics of Karl Marx in an article that I wrote, " Socialist Graces ," and published on OpEdNews on October 10, 2008. For that article, I asked people to answer which of the fifteen quotations belonged to someone who professed a socialist philosophy--including George Bernard Shaw, Karl Marx and Mikhail Bakunin--and which belonged to a non-socialist. I did this to show how many so-called "socialist" ideas belonged to mainstream thinkers, and how often "socialists" espoused mainstream ideas.
That article led me to a deeper study of Karl Marx. I believe I now understand why his economic and political philosophy is still considered viable in many parts of the World today. Marx in his writings made an accurate description of the destructive effects of "free market" capitalism around the world: from the industrial workers of Europe and America, to the native peoples of Asia and Africa.
Here are the essential aspects of Marx's philosophical and economic ideas:
History must be viewed as a continuing struggle between the classes;
The system of capitalism creates unremitting alienation of human beings from one another, and from those things that make our lives' worth living--family, friends, art, literature, philosophy, politics, song, dance, the playing of sports, and every other activity that makes one human--all to be replaced by the acquisition of wealth for itself;
That as Abraham Lincoln stated in his First Annual Message to Congress in 1861, "Labor is the superior of Capital, and comes first;"
That the inherent destructiveness to the human psyche caused by the alienation of workers from life in general and their work in particular is an intrinsic part of the free market capitalist system--it is in fact a necessary part of the exploitation of workers by capitalists;
That the so-called "representative democracies" are nothing more than tools of the corrupt capitalist economic system, a placebo to keep the workers from rising against their oppressors;
That the representative democracies would one day be replaced by a "dictatorship of the proletariat," a true democratic and egalitarian system in which the workers--both male and female--who were effected by a given condition in the World, would decide among themselves, by consensus, what would be done at their place of work and within their local community on all local political issues;
That larger versions of this self-same consensus would be used at higher levels to make the decisions on broader issues involving diverse groups beyond the local community, that at both the local and higher levels the guiding principle would be "Each according to his ability, each according to his needs;