Karl Marx's Philosophies on Communist Manifesto, Dialectic Materialism and Labor Theory of Value

Topics: Marxism, Karl Marx, Capitalism Pages: 31 (12474 words) Published: January 9, 2011
Karl Marx’s Philosophies on Communist Manifesto, Dialectic Materialism and Labor Theory of Value


"The philosophers have only interpreted the world,
in various ways: the point, however, is to change it." 
~ Karl Marx

One hundred years after his death. Marx is an enormous presence among us. On purely quantitative criteria, judged by the number of his self-avowed followers, he exerts a greater influence than any of the religious founders or any other political figures. It is not difficult to justify a continuous interest in his writings. He presented huge sets of ideologies that revolutionized and directed the economic stand and thoughts of the world.

The career of Karl Marx (1818-1883)—an economist, but also a philosopher, sociologist, prophet, and revolutionist—is proof of the importance of eco nomic ideas. His writing inspired generations of economic thinkers, and in his name entire societies were transformed. Beginning in the 1990s, however, many of the societies began to abandon Marxian ideology and to experiment with a transition to "capitalism." Many, though not all, of these transitions remain rocky and marked with turmoil; others of these societies are searching for a middle way. It remains important for us, therefore, to examine the ideas of such a singularly influential man as Karl Marx.

His famous works include three significant theories that shaped a world period’s economy, that many spectators of the time eventually pondered the on the economic systems as how Marx did. These three theories will be discussed in this paper one by one; Dialectical Materialism, The Communist Manifesto and the Labor Theory of Value. -------------------------------------------------

The Economic Philosopher: Karl Marx

Marx was first and foremost a philosopher who felt that his job was not merely to interpret and analyze society but also to promote the changes in society that he considered desirable. As a partisan advocate of change, he does not differ from Smith, Ricardo, or J. S. Mill. In contrast to the classical economists, however, Marx advocated a fundamental revolution in the society and economy, not small, marginal changes. Because Marx is popularly associated with the economic systems of socialism and communism, people often assume that he wrote about these systems. Nothing could be further from the truth. Marx studied what he called capitalism—his major work is titled Das Kapital, or Capital. In all the vast literature produced by Marx and his collaborator, Friedrich Engels (1820-1895), there is little reference to how a socialist or communist economy is to be organized, other than a short list of items characterizing the nature of communism that appeared in The Communist Manifesto (1848).

Marx's economic theory is an application of his theory of history to the capitalist economy. He wanted to lay bare the laws of the dynamics of capitalism. Whereas other classical economists focused on the static equilibrium of the economy, Marx focused on the dynamic process of change. Paul M. Sweezy, an important American Marxist economist, has suggested that Marxian economics is the economics of capitalism and that capitalist economics is the economics of socialism. In other words, Marxian economics helps one to understand the forces underlying the market, whereas the standard classical analysis is useful in organizing and operating a socialist economy.

The late Oskar Lange, a Marxist who taught in the United States and later returned to his native Poland to become an economic planner, reiterated that view. He contended that Marxian and orthodox economic analysis should be looked upon as complementary rather than mutually exclusive. Whereas an understanding of the everyday operation of the market can be achieved by using orthodox neoclassical theory, an understanding of the evolutionary development of capitalism, Lange said, is possible only within the Marxian framework.

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