Our Economic Culture, Marx Time by Gray
Text with quoted sources
The advent of Communism in Russia that culminated in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics; (USSR) 1917-1989’ fits within a historical period that began with the collaborative work of two friends. The setting is framed within the growing frenetic activity of the rapaciously expanding; industrial revolution. Rapacious; as in our use of Asian poor in cheap labour ghettos today and the exploitation of workers particularly of the poorer classes, in that earlier historic period. It was also the beginning of the ever increasing exploitative polluting misuse of our planetary environment as we now experience it.
In the previous labour-intensive economy, agricultural and industrial production methods were replaced by a capital-intensive continuum of inventions, of time and labour-saving devices and machines. Paradoxically, automation technology must better the economic-imperative of low-wage production costs. Till then the exploitation of vast numbers of workers forced to labour intensively for long hours in appalling conditions is still an economic requirement for a number of industries.
However, one capital-intensive success is Australia's competitively priced export farm produce, due to expertly utilised technology with minimal labour costs. Thus is created that conflict of interests between the worker and capital.
The shared effort of Karl Marx 1818-1883 and his friend Friedrich Engels produced the famous “Communist Manifesto, a propaganda pamphlet”, in 1848. The end of the second chapter states; “Political power, properly so called, is merely the organised power of one class for oppressing the other”. 1:
Engels was a “German born industrialist whose family partly owned a textile business in Manchester, . . .” 2: He introduced Marx to economics in the 1840’s, later supporting him financially. In 1844 he published a newspaper article, Outlines of a Critique of Political Economy, it analysed capitalism as an economic system based on private property and class conflict and criticised the contradictions of liberal economics, leading to the association with Marx”. 2:
A contemporary of and influenced by Charles Darwin 1809-1882; Friedrich Engels 1820-1895 “believed that social development followed evolutionary principals. . . . he helped to establish the International Workingman’s Association.
Karl Marx, son of a Jewish lawyer, studied at Bonn and Berlin but took up history, Hegelian Philosophy and Materialism. His major work, Das Kapital (1867) was expanded by a second part being added after Marx death. 3: A sociologist, a philosopher, an author, Marx had an extensive education in economics and considered himself primarily an economist and a writer of journalistic articles on the subject. “The number one theme of ‘Capital,' is that the essences of capitalism is above all the pursuit of profit”.
In his last work, Stalin wrote that the "fundamental law of capitalism is profit”. While the fundamental law of socialism was the satisfaction of the needs of the masses and the raising of their cultural level . . .”
Neither Marx nor Engels, ever asked the fundamental question, “why the pursuit of profit-growth was ESSENTIAL to economic success?” At that time an imaginary conversation between two businessmen may well have taken place that could have gone something like this!
“Look here old boy; the pair are definitely anti-establishment and a danger to all we stand for; all the industrial advances bringing those opportunities for profit that we’ve achieved through Capital could be in jeopardy.”
“Oh, my good fellow; I do understand your concern but ‘after all is said and done’ they are both very well educated and come from good family backgrounds.
As well, they both come from a race noted for their business acumen.
Here; where’s that bloody cognac we ordered ages ago, Why, I'd like to know, am I paying a King's Ransom for membership of this exclusive club, only to be treated as lower-class?
Ahem, oh yes, I’m one for ‘letting sleeping dogs lie’ on this one, give that pair a chance to realise the great benefits of the system and in the end to hopefully ‘champion the cause’ of profit, so to speak; can you see it from my stand-point.”
“Well yes I can, I rather expect you, to have faith in the obligations of class but personally I’m for ‘nipping this sort of thing in the bud’. I admit that separately they are relatively harmless but as a duo they could well constitute a threat to the world of business and finance. “Ah ha, here’s the cognac you ordered; hmm, wonderful nose.
Er well, I admit the one with interests in the Manchester mill, is in a rather weak position; he’s ‘hunting with the hounds’ and at the same time ‘running with the underdog’ to mix metaphors. However, this Marx fellow is a genuine radical, a do-gooder, a visionary, out to save the worker and the environment from exploitation by Capitalism. And the other chap is financially supporting him.
I know I’ve been rattling on but some of his published articles that I’ve read attack the growth-in-profit motive; for heaven’s sake. That's enough to give one stomach ulcers but worse, the frightening thing is, his thesis is quite plausible and this fellow’s had a solid grounding in economics, I tell you.
So since you've high ranking member in our fair city’s Chamber of Commerce I strongly urge that you inform your members of this threat to all of us with business profits to protect.”
“Well old-chap; I’ll let you in on a confidence; I’ve actually been keeping a weather eye on this development within our ranks.
So I’ve been to the Old Lady of Thread-needle Street and spoken with some bankers at the top of the money-tree system and they assure me that the proposals this Marx fellow puts forward can never work within our profit-driven financial-system and be assured; these bank-chaps know their subject inside out.
So, may all your fears be allayed; business will continue to profit and our wonderful financial-system; God bless it, will prevail ‘from here to eternity’ since it is self-perpetuating you know. ‘May the Good Lord make us truly thankful’ for that. Now old friend, I have a meeting to attend; see you in Church on Sunday; good for the public image, what!!. I've pushed the buzzer for James; to escort you out.”
Bibliography: 1: The Communist Manifesto 1848 Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. The Penguin Dictionary of Sociology, by Nicholas Abercrombie, Stephen Hill and Bryan S. Turner.
Published by the Penguin Group 1984
Penguin Books Ltd, 27 Wrights Lane, London w8 5TZ, England
2:Main Currents in Sociological Thought 1, by Raymond Aron
Published in Great Britain by Weidenfeld and Nicolson
Published in Pelican Books in 1968.
3:Revised Edition: Chambers Biographical Dictionary. W&R Chambers Ltd. Annandale St. Edinburgh. 1984.