A CRITIQUE OF MARX’S “DAS KAPITAL”
[This is the background to my series critiquing Karl Marx’s magnum opus, “Das Kapital”. The series will be published using both this standard “Medium Story” format and the “Series” format available only to those who use the Medium app on either the iPhone or Android.
I was a teenager when I first read Karl Marx’s “Das Kapital” (this was the English translation of course). Then a sophomore in the University, I had been introduced to Marxism by a couple of older students who were fellow activists in the Students Union.
These older colleagues were Marxist, passionate about humanity, and determined to bring about much needed economic/political change in the corrupt Nigerian system. Most of them also belonged to groups that were all-together called “the left” by students, and I found myself very much at home among them.
For those of us on the “left” the European and North American notion of a difference between liberals and conservatives was a farce. Both groups belonged to a class determined to perpetuate the capitalist scourge.
Unlike Marxists, both liberals and conservatives were either not aware of the struggle between the working class and their capitalist oppressors, or they supported the predominance of the latter over the former. There was no middle ground. You were either a revolutionary member of the left, or a reactionary member of the bourgeoisie, oppressive, “Moneybag” class.
I left the University in November 2012, and I moved from Nigeria to the United States a few months later in March 2013.
Prior to leaving the University, I had begun to have doubts about the validity of Marx’s arguments. However, at this time, I didn’t have the proper framework for evaluating what I began to intuit were weaknesses in the Marxian socioeconomic theory.
The last two years or so have been dedicated to rereading books on Marxism and exposing myself to ideas contained in books that, a few years ago, I would have derided as the propaganda of the capitalist elites.
The results have been life-changing. I now realize that in my desire to help create a better world for all people, I must not subscribe to well-meaning ideologies that are fundamentally flawed and capable of bringing about disastrous consequences. I have come to realize that one’s goal — in my case, prosperity and peace for all mankind — must be evaluated principally in terms of one’s means for achieving it.
In other words, it is not sufficient to subscribe to socialism simply because I identify with its goal of bringing about justice and equity. It is important to evaluate both the logical consistencies of the arguments provided in its favor, and whether as a means, it is indeed capable of bringing about the goals it promises.
I am confident that many of Marx’s arguments against capitalism — and by extension in favor of the NECESSARY “progression” of society towards socialism — are logically invalid. Even more, I am confident that, as a socioeconomic tool, the socialism conceptualized within the Marxian system is insufficient to bring about the goals it professes — in fact, it would bring about the opposite of these goals.
However, my primary concern in this series is to discuss the logical inconsistencies in the theories that underlie Marxism. A later series will discuss the practical implications of the system.
Below is the link to the essay that discusses the first part of the critique proper: