Western Civilization Class

Flaws In Karl Marx’s Views

Among the many erroneous views and beliefs of Karl Marx there are two which I will discuss. Marx believed in the labor theory of value which states that the value of an object is based on the number of labor hours spent on producing it. He thought that when exchanges are made the goods or services involved in the exchange are of equal value. They are of equal value, says Marx, because the same amount of hours have been spent on producing them. The flaw in this view is that we do not place equal value on things made with the same amount of labor hours. If we valued everything equally why then would we engage in trade? The reason we trade is because we value something else more than what we are willing to trade for it. When I buy food I place greater value on the food than on my money. The farmer on the other hand values the money more than the food. So, the reason we decide to trade is because we want something else more than what we already have.

Marx thought that the economy would be planned under socialism. He also said that the state would wither away, leaving only the individuals. There are two objections to this view. First, the workers would supposedly be allowed to choose what work they would do and would also be able to move from one job to the next throughout the day. This would make planning the economy difficult, if not impossible.  The other problem would be that without a state, who was expected to plan the economy. If it was to be the public, how would one get all of them to agree on one plan.

The reality of the matter is that workers under communism did not have personal autonomy, and the state did not wither away. In fact, the state grew to an oppressive and totalitarian regime. The state told the workers where to work, how to work, and when to work. The state had to constantly revise its ten year, five year, and one year plans, never succeeding in any of them.

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