This text has been stimulated by the following relatively recent realizations about Marx
(in reverse chronological order of discovery):
- The meaning of the term 'communism' as undertstood by Marx, Engels, and Lenin, i.e. a classless and state-less condition to which society would evolve after the 'withering away' of the nation-state which in turn would follow the dictatorship of the proletariat, a 'lesser evil' state required to suppress the bourgeois social order.
- The fact that 'communism' was already a word in use with a less well defined meaning at the time Marx was first exposed to it in the 1830s and 40s.
- The fact that unlike what some have stated, Marx was NOT simply a theoretician in contrast to Lenin. True he never had broad political power like Lenin, but he was heavily involved in political affairs from his twenties on and the defacto leader of socialists, as far as theory is concerned anyway, from the 1860s till his death in 1883. In particular he was heavily involved in the politics of Germany in the revolution of 1848.
- That Marx commented on the need for 'permanent revolution' more than 30 years before Trotsky formulated his "theory" of the same name.
I also note in passim, Rousseau
s Discourse on the Origins of Inequality, which I began to compose for the web for E2 and Wikipaedia, until I saw that it was already online²
My E2 instance contains earlier text
regarding the changes in the connotation of 'class' since the time of Marx and as used by orthodox Marxists. Here I'd like to articulate what I think is fundamentally wrong with the Marxist treatment of the concept (of inequality).
It is (as stated less fully before) that I believe that the organization of man, the social animal, into different groups based on intrinsic and other factors is an inevitable phenomenon which is only a bad thing as currently constituted in it's primitive and backward form as the basis and defining element of the bourgeois social order³.
This in turn brings us to the topic of competition which I also believe only acquires it's negative character from said basis.
The firm foundation of agreement with Marx/Marxism is that reason and rationality, i.e. scientific management of society are the inevitable goal to which history moves through an albeit non-monotonic progressive process. Scientific management means the democratic
determination of the allocation of common resources and the management of competetion between local, class, and other aggregates on a global basis.
I also agree that the broad masses of working people must by their own direct action seize power from the current ruling parasitic elites. In principal it would be possible for said elites to realize that a transformation of society to a rational basis would benefit them as well as every other member of global society¹, but this sort of wisdom has never been shown by power elites in the past, and it is 'utopian
' in the worst sense of the word to think they will do so now.
I further agree with the concept of the 'withering away' of the nation-state and of the existing class structures based as they are on the bourgeois mode of production. Indeed, with optimized global production, the very nature of the 'working class' will change radically.
As a matter of fact, while a rational, i.e. socialistic, transformation of human society would eliminate the parasite/prey relation of the classes and therefore eliminate the abysmal conditions of the prey classes, it should in fact result in greater
inequality than the bourgeois order. This is because the bourgeois order has an extreme leveling effect, reducing many talented people to lives where they are unable to fulfill their potential and elevating many unworthy people to leadership roles their personal capabilities don't justify. This 'crushing' and 'flattening' of
human society into 'haves', 'have-nots' and 'have-mores' is exacerbated and effected by the elimination of all potential production which doesn't produce profit/surplus value
In contrast, a social order which removed these restrictions would also free the liberated populations to differentiate on their natural and cultured bases and to reach production frontiers unimaginable in the current social context.
That is to say a social order which preserved the ability of individuals to their own natural
property rights (i.e. that which they earn
without cheat or usurpation of the commons) would so do. But I assume after the failure of the first wave of socialism that this is a given. It only awaits the formation of the second wave on the proper basis, which I have tried to argue here cannot be (for example) lead by anything calling itself an "Equality Party
" or for that matter one frozen in the shadow of figures long dead such as Trotsky
and Marx, and thus unable to respond to the dynamic challenges of the present and future.
To clarify further the nature of my concept of post-capitalist inequality ...
First, while I said there would be greater inequality, I did not mean in the terms in which such valuations are made in the current social order. To pursue the metaphor, I envision a global society of "haves", "have-mores", and "have-much-mores", with no "have-nots", and with the have mores and have much mores, having more strictly on the basis of what they bring to society, not what they are able to steal from it.
Secondly, with the fetishism of commodities and money dispelled, the forms of value which can be accumulated will explode beyond the primitive token money form to real values. For example.
longevity and other less essential projects of basic human being can be given reward forms only from society as a whole.
¹ Indeed, where they have attained their elite status thru their own labors, such a transformation would be of most
benefit to them.
² Go There
³ To be clear, I'm saying that the bad thing about the bourgeois order is that it is NOT based on such intrinsic factors, is not as constituted on the principle of accummulation of expropriated value in any way an expression of any intrinsic factor other than greed, rapaciousness, lack of moral principle, being born into a specific class, etc. The fact that some individuals DO excel based on their own achievement without expropriation is not a justification for the social order as a whole since even if the injustice is acceptable the limitation of overall production to such a backward
principle is not.