Kyambalesa, Henry, “A Critique of Socialism and Marxism” (October 2, 2019)
A Critique of Socialism and Marxism
31 Pages Posted: 16 Oct 2019 Last revised: 29 Oct 2019
Date Written: October 2, 2019
Essentially, the term “socialism” refers to an economic and political ideology attributed to Karl Marx, a German academic and philosopher, whose premise is for state ownership of non-human means or factors of production and distribution, and centralized planning and control of economic activities, particularly activities in key and strategic commercial and industrial sectors of a country’s economy.
The means or factors of production and distribution alluded to include land and the various forms of capital, such as raw materials, financial assets and institutions, manufacturing facilities, assembly plants, machinery and equipment, transportation facilities, service centers, and retail outlets.
In socialist countries, therefore, some elements of private ownership of the means or factors of production and distribution are permissible, particularly in non-strategic commercial and industrial sectors of a country’s economy.
“Socialism,” as envisioned by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, is encapsulated by the following Principle: “From each according to his [or her] ability to each according to his [or her] contribution.” A worker’s “ability” could be measured or determined in terms of his or her age, skills, experience, educational attainments, physical attributes, and the total number of hours worked.
With respect to a worker’s “contribution,” each and every worker in a socialist society would be expected to have access to benefits and compensation according to the level of difficulty of his or her job, the number of hours he or she would have worked, and any other measurable performance-related aspects of his or her work—generally similar to the calculation of compensation or rewards under capitalism.
“Marxism,” like “socialism,” refers to a political and economic ideology based on the writings of Karl Marx, whose premise is the creation of a communist state or the adoption of the ideology of “communism” by abandoning capitalism and establishing a socialist state as a transitory phase.
Communist ideology is encapsulated by the following Principle: “From each according to his [or her] ability to each according to his [or her] needs.” According to Karl Marx (1875), the establishment of a communist society would guarantee the generation of enough goods and services to meet the needs of each and every member of society.
In this regard, a worker’s “ability” could be measured or deter-mined in terms of his or her age, skills, experience, educational attainments, physical attributes, and the total number of hours worked, while his or her “needs” could include food, housing, clothing, healthcare, and transportation—no provision for “wants,” “luxuries” or anything else beyond what would be prescribed by the government.
In the remainder of this article, let us consider the following themes:
(a) Rigid and unrealistic stratification of society by Karl ‘Charles’ Marx and Friedrich ‘Frederick’ Engels;
(b) Agitation for the abolition of competition by Marx and Engels;
(c) Agitation for the abolition of free trade by Marx and Engels;
(d) Several problematic issues associated with socialism;
(e) Historical events which marked a rejection of socialism as an alternative to capitalism in improving humanity’s socioeconomic wellbeing;
(f) Socialism versus human nature;
(g) Examples of objections against Marxism;
(h) Misconceptions about China as being a robust and successful ‘socialist’ country;
(i) The apparent reasons for Marx and Engels’ crusade against capitalism;
(j) Creation of an enabling socioeconomic environment where capitalism can be more benign; and
(k) Advocacy for a social welfare state.