idiggory, King of Bards wrote:
First of all, you were intentionally trying to confuse the issue in the first place. You quoted that passage in order to make a statment, then said that they THEN followed it with talk that they only wanted to abolish one type of property.
Yes. Because that's exactly what they said:
We Communists have been reproached with the desire of abolishing the right of personally acquiring property as the fruit of a man’s own labour, which property is alleged to be the groundwork of all personal freedom, activity and independence.
Hard-won, self-acquired, self-earned property! Do you mean the property of petty artisan and of the small peasant, a form of property that preceded the bourgeois form? There is no need to abolish that; the development of industry has to a great extent already destroyed it, and is still destroying it daily.
Or do you mean the modern bourgeois private property?
But does wage-labour create any property for the labourer? Not a bit. It creates capital, i.e., that kind of property which exploits wage-labour, and which cannot increase except upon condition of begetting a new supply of wage-labour for fresh exploitation. Property, in its present form, is based on the antagonism of capital and wage labour. Let us examine both sides of this antagonism.
What they're doing is countering the notion that the abolition of private property will hurt the working class by taking away from them the fruits of their labors. That's the "other type of property". The Marxist insist that that other type doesn't really exist and is just an illusion. The property they are taking is really not property at all, but "capital", which serves only the purpose of further enriching the Bourgeois.
What part of that was confusing to you? I understood it right off the bat. Do you need me to hold your hand and explain to you what each word means and how they all work together to form an idea?
False. The entire work is only discussing property as defined by Marx.
Not technically true. It "discusses" property as defined by others, and then discounts that definition. But I think we can (or should) all agree that whether we call the wages earned by workers above that which is needed for basic subsistence "property" or "capital", it's still darn useful to the workers and something that they do work to obtain. It's what gives them a standard of living above just subsistence. The whole argument by Marx is essentially throwing the baby out with the bathwater. He's so concerned that the exercise of the fruits of one's labors might financially benefit someone else that his solution is to make is so that no one has any money to buy anything. That's kinda stupid, isn't it?
There IS no other property for him, other than what he defines.
Yes. I get that. He's wrong. Or using a meaningless term. As I said, it doesn't matter what label you apply to it, there is absolutely value to the worker to gain wages above that needed for subsistence. And it's that extra wealth that communism attempts to eliminate. He's literally arguing that store owners are evil, so we should take all the money from the people so that they can't buy anything, so as to drive the store owners out of business. But doesn't that hurt the people even more? Yeah. It does.
You were intentionally trying to pretend that Communists were specifically anti property by common definition, but were trying to mask that with a discussion of a different type of property.
I don't care what label you use. Make one up if you get confused. Let's call the wages earned above that needed for subsistence "Bob". Does that help? Communism seeks to eliminate all Bob from society because Bob is used to make the owners of the means of production richer. Get it? You're obsessing on a word, but failing to see how it's used. What's strange is you get that Marx is using a specific definition for "property", but then getting so caught up in my counter use of the same word that you missed that I was still addressing exactly the use of the word Marx was using
Furthermore, you completely corrupt what Marx says for your own use. It's a bullsh*t move, and is frankly pathetic. If you are so sure you were right, you would present his case in the most generous version possible. That's a fundamental of logical debate--if you disprove the best possible version of their argument (preferably in a way that disproves all the worse versions as well), you effectively cripple an argument.
Ok. Then counter my statement. Argue to me, using quotes from the source, that Marx is not proposing that we seize all earnings of the workers beyond that needed for subsistence. Can you do that?
You're just repeating "you're wrong" over and over. How about you provide an alternative meaning instead? Wouldn't that be constructive?
But no, instead you default to your classic strawman argument.
If that's true, then prove it's a strawman. Tell us what Marx really meant with that section of the manifesto. Saying something is a strawman doesn't make it so. You need to show how the other guys interpretation is wrong, by providing an alternative (hopefully more accurate) version. If you can't do that, then isn't my interpretation correct by default?
At the very best, that's attacking the version of an argument taken in worst possible forms (those generally being the ones even the proponent wouldn't accept). At worst, like in this case, it's attacking something that isn't at all related to the intention or meaning of an argument.
I am exactly quoting the words written and explaining what they mean. If you have some other interpretation, by all means provide it. If you can't then stop insisting that mine is wrong.
The cornerstone of Marx is From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs. Marx isn't fundamentally opposed to income dispartiy. He's opposed to the idea of the powerful controlling the lives of those weaker than them, so that they can barely eat or sleep, and live only to work for the advancement of the wealthy.
Except that the means he wishes to use to prevent that control of the workers by the wealthy is to eliminate any means to acquire wealth and personal advancement. Income disparity in his eyes is what leads some to control others. Those with more gain more and become Bourgeois. Those with less lose what they have (and the ability to gain more) and become Proletariat. He posits this as a starting condition in the world around him.
His problem, as I've explained several times now, is that the real world did not cooperate and form itself according to how he thought it would. What actually happened is that the free market created a vibrant middle class. Instead of everyone being sucked to one side or the other, a whole range in between was created. He couldn't have known that this would happen, so I suppose he can be excused the extreme measures he proposed to deal with the problem.
But those who still espouse the same ideas today have no excuse. They should know better. But most just skip over the parts where he describes the natural condition and right to the solution parts. But even the best solution is wrong if the problem you're trying to solve isn't what you started out to fix.
The fundamental backbone of why Marx ever wrote the Manifesto in the first place is that he was disgusted that so many people were living in abject poverty, with absolutely no way out.
Except that he was wrong. Horribly, painfully, wrong. There were many people living in abject poverty. But there had been just as many living in that state prior to the rise of the free market and industrialization. He made the mistake of assuming that the same rules applied, but with different folks at the top. He applied Feudalistic economic principles (cause that's what he knew) to this new paradigm and concluded that the owners of production would simply become wealthier and more powerful and the workers would continue to be pooer and less powerful. Then he set out to imagine a way to solve this problem.
But, at the risk of repeating myself (again!), he was wrong. What happened is something he and his fellow socialists and communists did not consider. The rise of free markets and industrialization, while initially negative to the workers (we're talking about the first half of the 19th century here), resulted in significant increases in the standard of living for the working classes. Not just a little bit, but an astounding amount. The complaints that capital just made the owners richer were made irrelevant in the face of the fact that the desire by them to get richer required both that they pay their workers enough so that they could buy products in the free market *and* that the products thus sold become better and cheaper and more available over time
That's what Marx didn't see. He lived in a time when all of this was new enough that he could not accurately predict what would happen. He certainly could not have predicted something which had never happened in the history of mankind. Again, he can be forgiven for being so wrong. But those today who still spout his ideas really can't be. They are ignoring the conditions which Marx assumes and not realizing that they don't apply in the real world.
And deferring to the Soviet Union or modern China in any discussion about Communism is a fundamentally absurd move.
No. It's not. They are the outcome when ever a political movement attempt to apply the principles of communism. I think it's quite relevant to point this out. I even quoted the section of the manifesto where they talk about doing exactly what those countries did
. Now, Marx and Engels imagined that those controlling things would have some egalitarian motives and would only use that power and wealth for good. But what we've seen is that this doesn't seem to happen very often (or at all). Best of intentions and all of that.
Both were distinctly incompatible with the tenants of Marx, and no honest economist or political theorist considers them Marxist (or even Communist). This is true of both liberals and conservatives. Why? Because if you make a list of the fundamentals of the political and economic theories of Marxism, they are incompatible most, if not all, of them.
But they aren't incompatible to the methods. That's the point. We can assume that the Soviets weren't "true communists" because they didn't follow up their seizure of all property with the creation of a communist utopia. But that sure didn't stop them from convincing the people to rise up in a communist revolution by quoting Marx, then seizing all the property, and then turning into an oppressive authoritarian regime. It's a meaningless distinction to make. The workers taking part in a communist revolution can't possibly know what their leaders will do with all the power they give to them when the revolution is over. They wont know until after those leaders have all the power and control if they are "true communists" or not.
But so far, every single time it's been tried on even a semi-large scale, it's resulted in massive oppression of the workers. Ever. Single. Time. As I said earlier, the methods they propose are exactly like putting the chains around your own neck, handing the keys to someone else, and then hoping that he's not going to abuse that power. If someone came up to you promising that if you help them clean up some legal problems in Nigeria, they'll be able to get a big fortune out and then they'll share it with you, do you trust them to actually follow up on the promise? No. You don't. And you'd be an idiot to fall for it.
But that's exactly the sort of scam the communism is. It promises that if the workers sacrifice everything they have to help the leaders take control of the wealth and power, that those leaders will turn around and give them a wonderful life much better than what they had. Why would anyone fall for this? And what are the odds that those leaders really mean to do what they promise versus them being the equivalent of scam artists just using you to gain wealth and power for themselves?
It's a stupid ideology. It really is. I mean, even the outcome promised doesn't make any sense. They provide no explanation as to how the state control of all wealth will make things better for the people. None at all. They just declare that it is because it'll free everyone from the "Free Market". It's pretty circular. You must first assume that the free market produces a worse result than otherwise. But that clearly and demonstrably isn't the case, is it?