Monday, February 20, 2017
Karl Marx’s Misconceptions About Man and Markets
I have a new article on the website of the Future of Freedom Foundation on, “Economic Ideas: Karl Marx’s Misconceptions About Man and Markets.”
One of Karl Marx’s greatest appeals for many over the last 150 years has been the idea of remaking man into something better than how we find him, in a new society of socialism and communism that revolution and the “right side of history” will give us.
At the core of this vision and hope is the accusation that individualism, self-interest and a social system based on private property alienates man from himself, from others, and from the world around him. Why? Because under capitalism man is not “free.” But what is freedom for Marx?
It turns out that man is a slave to his circumstances whenever he has to do something he dislikes or does not want to do. If you are cutting down a tree for the pure joy of the physical exercise or if you are sharing the evening with others for the shear pleasure of discussing Marxian philosophy, then you are free. You are free to do only the things you like as an end in itself.
But if you have to cut down the tree because if you do not you will not have the means to build a cabin for shelter, or if you associate with others for some mutual production activity because if you do not you will have no food to eat or clothes to wear, then you are not free; you are a slave of doing things as a means to an end, rather than a playful pure act of pleasure and happiness.
In addition, the free man no longer thinks or acts, Marx’s insists, in terms of his own self-interested wants and desires. The “new man” of post-capitalist society will be singularly other-oriented, a true altruist focusing on the good and betterment of the collectivist society that supersedes the “oppression” of profit-pursuing money making of the capitalist system.
Marx conjures up an alternative universe totally disconnected from reality; indeed, his entire critique of man, markets and societal morality is a flight from reality. The human, individual “self” with his own mind, his own purposes, dreams, goals and potentials will be washed away within the amorphous and imaginary societal collective.
Marx’s vision of man and the society of the future is not a liberation of mankind, but a nightmarish destruction of real, flesh and blood, thinking and acting individual human beings within a totalitarian system of mind and body control by the “people’s state” to come.
at 10:27:00 AM