Tuesday, March 23, 2010

An Historical Approach to Marxism; Rightly So

Generally I dislike exclamation points in all writing, but in “Marx and Austrian Class Analysis” I kind of loved the sense of drama it created as it leapt from one thrilling conclusion to the next. I am not being sarcastic here; Mr. Hoppe gave Marxism a very sound thrashing, and basically upended the entire foundation on which the ideals of Marxism are built. A job well done indeed. Yet, one thought that kept slipping into my head as I read this essay was, “why does this matter?”. I don't mean to sound like a disinterested adolescent, but rather I find it interesting that myself, as well as the majority of my generation generally view Marxism as dead. In fact, my initial feeling is that Marxism is deader than dead, it is dead like those early American utopian colonies that failed just as spectacularly, and now only contain an historical significance. And so far as historical significance goes, Marxism was only successful as an opposition to the free market, and since the free market is perhaps the most successful 'idea' of the past 500 years, Marxism had a pretty good run. Marxism was a failure, as oppositional movements inevitably are, while the free market moved inexorably forward. So I enjoy the historical approach that Hoppe uses in his essay, it places communism in the right context, a peculiarity of the past that holds some very valuable lessons, yet in itself, an idea whose time has long since past. So the next time a student says, “why does this matter” during the discussion on Marxism, the Economics professor should swell with pride and kindly delegate the question to a history professor.

That said, i'm still a little shocked that Marx and Engels managed to completely miss the entire concept of risk and reward, that 'future goods will only exchange with present goods at a discount'.

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