Essay On Communism Vs Capitalism

It is a picture in which many pieces are missing and other so vague as to be practically undecipherable.

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Notwithstanding Marx's own practice and contrary to his implicit warning, in what follows I have tried to reconstruct Marx's vision of communism from his writings of 1844, the year in which he set down the broad lines of his analysis, to the end of his life.

Assembling these varied comments the communist society falls into place like the picture on a puzzle.

It is in this sense that Marx declares, "we do not anticipate the world dogmatically, but rather wish to find the new world through the criticism of the old." Like the projections Marx made of the future of capitalism itself, however, what he foresaw for communism is no more than highly probable.

Marx, whose excessive optimism is often mistaken for crude determinism, would not deny that some for of barbarism is another alternative, but a socialist victory—either through revolution or at the polls—is considered far more likely.

There corresponds to this also a political transition period in which the state can be nothing but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat." The overall character of this period is supplied by Marx's statement that "What we have to deal with here is a communist society, not as it has developed on its own foundations, but on the contrary, just as it emerges from capitalist society: which is thus in every respect still stamped with the birthmarks of the old society from whose womb it emerges." This first stage is the necessary gestation period for full communism: is it as time when the people who have destroyed capitalism are engaged in the task of total reconstruction.

Essay On Communism Vs Capitalism

As a way of life and organization it has traits in common with both capitalism and full communism and Marx never indicates how long this may take—the first stage gives way gradually almost imperceptibly to the second.The plan changed, in part because Marx never concluded his work on political economy proper, and what Engels in a letter to Marx refers to as "the famous 'positive,' what you 'really' want" was never written.This incident does point up, however, that Marx's objection to discussing communist society was more of a strategic than of a principled sort.Whether describing communism can help raise proletarian class consciousness is a more difficult question.There is no doubt in my mind that getting works to understand their exploitation as a fundamental and necessary fact of the capitalist system, the avowed aim of most of Marx's writings is the "high road" to class consciousness.Marx's communist society is in the anomalous position of being, at one and the same time, the most famous of utopias and among the least known.And, while no one disputes the importance of Marx's vision of communism to Marxism, the vision itself remains clouded and unclear.The conditions of this movement result from premises now in existence." Yet, as even casual readers of Marx know, descriptions of the future society are scattered throughout Marx's writings.Moreover, judging from an 1851 outline of what was to become Capital, Marx intended to present his views on communism in a systematic manner in the final volume.Despite some serious temptations, I have not gone beyond Marx's actual words in piecing together the components of the communist society. On occasion, however, when all the evidence points to a particular conclusion, I am not averse to stating it.It is this effort to reconstruct Marx's vision of the future open to the same criticism that kept Marx from presenting his own views on this subject in a more organized manner? No one today is likely to confuse Marxism, even with the addition of an explicit conception of communism, with other socialist schools whose very names are difficult to recall.


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