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Is marxism a thing of the past?

Karl Marx was a philosopher who later vested his interests in economics, politics and journalism. He believed in the notion that philosophers needed to interpret ideas instead of just giving them out.

Photo by Maximilian Scheffler on Unsplash

Marx’s words and actions have often made him addressed as a revolutionary activist instead of a philosopher. Living his life as an exile, and traveling through Europe made him realize the importance of money and criticize the then-budding system of capitalism. He very correctly predicted the influence capitalism would have on society. His ideas surrounding income inequalities between the rich and poor are much relevant in today’s times.

Marxism was nothing but a dogma developed by Karl’s writings. To a much greater extent, this doctrine was even shaped by a close ally of Marx called, Friedrich Engels. This mixture of philosophical anthropology i.e. the study of humankind, history, and an economic and political program was what Marxism ideas were originally. This idea had grown much popular during the Russian Revolution and did spread to other parts of the world as well. The greatest example has to be of China, which moved from socialism to capitalism and now follows communism. Very much of the country’s political revolutions were inspired by Karl Marx’s idea of Marxism.

When Karl Marx was writing his masterpieces, industrialization had been in its nascent stages with a new class of system emerging out of it referred to as ‘capitalism’. This led to the rise of a new class of people called out as the ‘proletariats’ i.e. the working-class people. He critiqued that capitalism would lead to workers believing in the ideology that leisure is bad and work is good. He even predicted that in contemporary capitalist society the rich would be getting richer and the poor poorer with time. His predictions also included a very observable trend of the 21st century i.e. boom and bust economies along with globalization. He predicted that very few firms having the power in their hands would lead to scarcity and resource deficiency.

Capitalists according to him enjoyed a privileged position and were able to exploit the workers according to their wants and needs. Innovations that were promised out of these societal structures would very soon lose their essence and profit-making would be the sole pursuit. He believed that people were free and had the ability to transform the world. This was even perceived when he died. His tombstone now in London has his saying written all over it that says, ‘Workers of all Lands Unite’. Even though Marx supported this idea of public property being owned by all and education free for all, he liked to differentiate his ideas from other socialists. His ideas differed because he combined concepts of economics and philosophy to understand human struggles.

Communism laid down its foundations on the ideas of Marxism but was repackaged into a system where there was a stateless world and all were equal. But the lifespan of communism couldn’t last that long. Even though much of his predictions were right there were some things that he couldn’t get right. Factors like how capitalism created cheaper products so that they were affordable by all or how people living in absolute poverty has been reducing over the years due to capitalism. One cannot completely disregard Karl Marx’s role in determining the definitions of capitalism and monopolies back in the 18th century itself when they were just starting out to exist. But the modern-day ideas of Marxism are tinted with a lot of political agendas that fail to bring out Marx’s original ideology of a political and economic system. People also say that Marx himself wouldn’t have been a supporter of what Marxism depicts today or the solutions that it suggests.



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