On the contrary, socialism was forced on poor, so-called Third World countries.And those revolutions unwittingly condemned the masses to systemic poverty and political dictatorship.In the wake of communism’s collapse, traditional Marxism, which so many mainstream economists criticized relentlessly for decades, is now seriously questioned by a growing number of disillusioned radicals and former Marxists.
In practice, socialism absolutely failed to create the nonalienated, self-managed, and fully planned society.
It failed to emancipate the masses and instead crushed them with statism, domination, and the terrifying abuse of state power.
Karl Marx was one of the greatest revolutionaries of the nineteenth century.
He initiated the historical dimension to an understanding of society, culture and economics.
The people of Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Romania, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Albania, and the USSR rejected Marxist ideology and entered a remarkable transition toward private and the market-exchange system, one that is still occurring.
Which aspects of Marxism created such a powerful revolutionary force? The answers lie in some general characteristics of Marxism—its economics, social theory, and overall vision.He called his theory “scientific socialism” to clearly distinguish his approach from that of other socialists (Henri de Saint-Simon and Charles Fourier, for instance), who seemed more content to dream about some future ideal society without comprehending how existing society really worked (see Marx’s scientific socialism combined his economics and philosophy—including his theory of value and the concept of alienation—to demonstrate that throughout the course of human history, a profound struggle has developed between the “haves” and the “have-nots.” Specifically, Marx claimed that capitalism has ruptured into a war between two classes: the bourgeoisie (the capitalist class that owns the means of production) and the proletariat (the working class, which is at the mercy of the capitalists).Marx claimed that he had discovered the laws of history, laws that expose the contradictions of capitalism and the necessity of the class struggle.Nor has a reserve army of the unemployed developed.We do have bouts with the business cycle, but more and more economists believe that significant recessions and depressions may be more the unintended result of state intervention (through Socialist revolutions, to be sure, have occurred throughout the world, but never where Marx’s theory had predicted—in the most advanced capitalist countries.Also, thought Marx, the anarchic, unplanned nature of a complex market economy is prone to economic crises as supplies and demands become mismatched, causing huge swings in business activity and, ultimately, severe economic depressions.The more advanced the capitalist economy becomes, Marx argued, the greater these contradictions and conflicts.The more capitalism creates wealth, the more it sows the seeds of its own destruction.Ultimately, the proletariat will realize that it has the collective power to overthrow the few remaining capitalists and, with them, the whole system.Here is the greatest problem with Marx’s theory of alienation: even with the latest developments in computer technology, we cannot create a comprehensively planned system that puts an end to scarcity and uncertainty.But for Marxists to speak of alienation under capitalism, they must assume that a successfully planned world is possible.