Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Marxism: A Historical Mistake

            Marxism has always appealed to the emotional. With so much poverty all around, one gets concerned and a sense of guilt overpowers the rationale. Marxism/socialism appears to be a plausible remedy with its promise of bringing in equality and eradicating poverty. But can a socialistic system of governance achieve that? With all experience of history, we can be sure that socialistic system will never succeed. But an indoctrinated Marxist will never accept this reality. Marxists are blind to the time tested principles of economic theory. You need to create wealth before you can distribute it.

            Wealth cannot be created either by labour or by capital in a vacuum.  You need ideas and enterprise to create wealth. When labour and capital collaborate to organise as a firm, a wealth creating machine is established. For this wealth creating machine to sustain, you need continuous fuel of ideas. Then comes the question of sharing of the wealth so created. We do not have a better and efficient method of wealth sharing than the market mechanism with many checks and balances. The market has not been created by a capitalist. Market is a natural phenomenon which has evolved on its own and is an essential component of an economic model.  The market mechanism fails only when the competition is inadequate. That’s where the state has a role- to ensure adequate competition. If sufficient competition is not there, the state must regulate the market.  That is the only limited role, the state should have. Unfortunately, Marxists want the state to capture the whole spectrum of economic activities. That’s where the flaw lies. The state might be capable of arranging labour and capital but it cannot be expected to be enterprising nor can it be capable of sustaining the wealth creating machine by providing continuous supply of ideas.

            Marxists are obsessed with equality. But equality can never be achieved because it is not natural. Look around you, can you find equality anywhere? No, because no eco-system with equality can be sustained for long. A rich forest would have big trees, small trees, creepers, bushes and grasses intertwined  in a symbiotic system. You need species of every kind. In a well developed economy you will have rich as well as working classes.

            We should not target equality but equal opportunity. We should strive to establish an eco system where a bright young man from a poor family with a wonderful idea would find no difficulty in arranging capital to fund his idea. A child born in a poor family has more opportunities of crossing the class barrier in a capitalist system than anywhere else.

            Marxists would think that in a capitalist economy the rich would always keep getting richer. Fortunately this does not happen. Coming generations of a rich industrialist need not be smart enough to keep supplying the wealth creating machine with fuel of ideas. That’s how corporations die and new businesses evolve.

            To me, Marxism is a historical mistake.  It is a totalitarian ideology- a Marxist is always right and everybody must agree with him or else he must die. That’s how millions of lives have been lost. I am not sure if the loss of so many lives has helped in achieving equality or justice for a few. Worst oppression has been inflicted by the communists in the name of eradicating oppression. 

            With its inherent flaws and a body of historical evidence of its failure to create a peaceful and prosperous society, I am surprised how Communism/Marxism has been able to attract so many bright individuals and intellectuals to its fold. So many promising lives have been wasted chasing pipe dreams of socialistic egalitarian society without realizing that an egalitarian society can never be established through Marxist means. When the means are wrong ends can never be right.  Death and destruction can never lead to peace and harmony. 

©Sunil Bajpai

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