Saturday, 27 February 2010

Four Errors of Marxism.

There are (at least) four major errors in the political, economic and historical doctrine of Marxism.

The first error is identified by Ludwig Von Mises in Chapter Three of Human Action.

Ad Hominem is essential to Marxism. Don't believe in the triumph of socialism?

Well, then you must be a bourgeois ;-)

The second error concerns the analysis of classes.

Society stubbornly refuses to resolve itself neatly into bourgeoisie and proletariat.

Marx himself wrote this in a letter to Karl Kautsky dated September 12th 1882:

"You ask me what the English workers think about colonial policy. Well, exactly the same as they think about politics in general: the same as the bourgeoisie think. There is no workers' party here, you see, there are only Conservatives and Liberal-Radicals, and the workers gaily share the feast of England's monopoly of the world market and the colonies."

The third error is a failure to distinguish between cost and value. Adam Smith and Ricardo also slipped up on this question and advocated the Labour Theory of Value.

The fourth error is Marx's theory of the economic cycle. According to Marxists, the private appropriation of profit impoverishes consumers to such an extent that a "Crisis of Overproduction" results. This article in "Proletarian" outlines the orthodox marxist position on the business cycle.

The real cause of malinvestment is outlined by the Austrian School of Economics.


Roger Thornhill said...

Funny, as I am reading Ricardo right now and coming up against such NO NO NO moments.

I do wonder if the flaws of LVT come fom such and taking some Ricadian statements out of context.

sound money man said...

@Roger: Yes, I think you're onto something there.

I agree with the wikipedia page on Classical Marxism that Marx took the Labour Theory of Value from Smith and Ricardo and tacked his own "surplus value" theory on to it.

The Marxist belief that the private appropriation of profit is wrong inevitably leads to the idea that private property itself is wrong.

Followers of Mikhail Bakunin disagree with Marxists about the role of the state but share the communist hostility to private property.