Karl Marx Genius Of The Modern World
I think we need to discuss Marxism and be more specific about what you do or don't know about him. Because I think a lot of this is gut reaction to what we've been indoctrinated by our government to believe.
For the political ideology commonly associated with states governed by Communist parties, see Marxism–Leninism.
Marxism is a form of socioeconomic analysis that analyses class relations and societal conflict using a materialist interpretation of historical development and a dialectical view of social transformation. It originates from the mid-to-late 19th century works of German philosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.
Marxist methodology originally used a method of economic and sociopolitical inquiry known as historical materialism to analyze and critique the development of capitalism and the role of class struggle in systemic economic change. According to Marxist perspective, class conflict within capitalism arises due to intensifying contradictions between the highly productive mechanized and socialized production performed by the proletariat, and the private ownership and appropriation of the surplus product (profit) by a small minority of the population who are private owners called the bourgeoisie. The contradiction, between the forces and relations of production intensifies leading to crisis. The proletariat through the alienation of labor, social unrest between the two antagonistic classes will intensify, until it culminates in social revolution. The eventual long-term outcome of this revolution would be the establishment of socialism – a socioeconomic system based on social ownership of the means of production, distribution based on one's contribution, and production organized directly for use. As the productive forces and technology continued to advance, Marx hypothesized that socialism would eventually give way to a communist stage of social development, which would be a classless, stateless, humane society erected on common ownership and the principle of "From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs".
Marxism has since developed into different branches and schools of thought, and there is now no single definitive Marxist theory. Different Marxian schools place a greater emphasis on certain aspects of classical Marxism while de-emphasizing or rejecting other aspects, and sometimes combine Marxist analysis with non-Marxian concepts; as a result, they might reach contradictory conclusions from each other. Lately, however, there is movement toward the recognition that the main aspect of Marxism is philosophy of dialectical materialism and historicism, which should result in more agreement between different schools.
If I was asked to write an essay on the topic, "Karl Marx, Genius of the Modern World," I believe I would have to argue in the negative.
Nonetheless, there are positive aspects to the man. We have to see him as a product of his times and appreciate his concern for the lower social classes of his times. As most histories of the nineteenth century will tell us, life was tough for workers.
We must ask however, did his influence lead to better conditions for workers? I have a suspicion that it did - in a funny sort of way. The final revolution in Russia (under Lenin, advocating Marxism) scared the 'shit' out of the ruling classes of Europe and North America and the threat of revolution led to a series of reforms during the twentieth century, though it may be hard to isolate Marx's influence against the influences of other economists.
For anyone interested in understanding Marx's influence, rather than just shouting abuse, you could look at this selection of the "Ten most Famous Economists of all Time." Its from an UK university site:
Adam Smith is listed first and Karl Marx second, and John Maynard Keynes (deservedly, I think) is third. When it comes to the twentieth century generally, I think the selection would provoke a lot controversy. For example. the list leaves out any mention of the UK economist, John A. Hobson.
But whether one agrees with the listings or not, it helps us to understand that Marx was only one voice is a world that needed change. Our world likely continues to need change, not just from the viewpoint of poverty stricken third world people, but also from from the viewpoint of first world citizens as it seems that a greater percentage of wealth continues to be accumulated by a smaller and smaller group of wealth owners
If you want to understand the western world of the Marx;s time, you could try reading, Howard Zinn's, "A People's History of the United States." or perhaps this Sage (publishers of Academic Journals) web-page:
"The American Worker: The War Between Capital and Labour." (Web-Link: http://sageamericanhistory.net/gildedage/topics/capital_labor_immigration.html )
And reverting to Marx himself, in what seems to be a review of Jonathan Sperber's (Book) Karl Marx, (Published by Norton). The UK Guardian asks, Is Karl Marx still relevant ? in a 2013 issue.
The above post by Brokeback Watchtower is ridiculously long.
Is there a precedent for Marxism?
Can anyone give an example of a country - past or present - that has adopted Marxism and it really worked out well?
In Cuba it seems to "work" okayish. I've been there myself. Although people are poor (in our view) they don't seem to mind much, they have what they need. Capitalism does increase overall wealth though. But it also needs a lot of regulations and control, otherwise (big) companies optimize for themselves (monopoly abuse) or form a cartel. It's not black/white.
Cuba? Really? You're going to hold Cuba up as a shining example and just completely ignore their human rights abuses?
Oh wait. I forgot. You're in favor of communism. I should have known you wouldn't care about human rights.
The right of the individual to succeed and excel and be rewarded for his or her* work is paramount to my philosophy. When success is penalized by a society, that society is not one I want to be a part of and is one that I will fight against with every fiber of my being.
*(I said "his or her" because there are only two genders. REEEEEEEEEEEE)
Sorry for the long post I tried to edit it but was unsuccessful. But on the upside there is a lot to click on to make readers and posters more informed so that our discussion can be more factual and perhaps remove some prejudice from future comments.
America went through a period of McCarthyism in the 50s, where the Feds were cracking down on people who were or merely seen with some communist and were black listed. I think the government actions a bit overboard and more of an alarmist reaction to a ideology that was at odds with its capitalist ideology.
Some of that opposition remains in my generation the 1950s and the further away from the 50s one generation starts the less of this government propaganda effects them. Just sayin.
McCarthyism is the practice of making accusations of subversion or treason without proper regard for evidence. The term refers to U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy and has its origins in the period in the United States known as the Second Red Scare, lasting roughly from 1947 to 1956 and characterized by heightened political repression as well as a campaign spreading fear of influence on American institutions and of espionage by Soviet agents.
It originated with President Truman's Executive Order 9835 of March 21, 1947, which required that all federal civil service employees be screened for "loyalty." The order specified that one criterion to be used in determining that "reasonable grounds exist for belief that the person involved is disloyal" would be a finding of "membership in, affiliation with or sympathetic association" with any organization determined by the attorney general to be "totalitarian, Fascist, Communist or subversive" or advocating or approving the forceful denial of constitutional rights to other persons or seeking "to alter the form of Government of the United States by unconstitutional means."
— Robert J Goldstein 
McCarthyism soon took on a broader meaning, describing the excesses of similar efforts. The term is also now used more generally to describe reckless, unsubstantiated accusations, as well as demagogic attacks on the character or patriotism of political adversaries. During the McCarthy era, thousands of Americans were accused of being communists or communist sympathizers and became the subject of aggressive investigations and questioning before government or private-industry panels, committees and agencies. The primary targets of such suspicions were government employees, those in the entertainment industry, educators and union activists. Suspicions were often given credence despite inconclusive or questionable evidence, and the level of threat posed by a person's real or supposed leftist associations or beliefs was often greatly exaggerated. Many people suffered loss of employment or destruction of their careers; some even suffered imprisonment. Most of these punishments came about through trial verdicts later overturned, laws that were later declared unconstitutional, dismissals for reasons later declared illegal or actionable, or extra-legal procedures that would come into general disrepute.
Taylor Caldwell wrote an excellent article entitled The Middle Class Must Not Fail Or All Will Be Lost back in the 70s which mentions Karl Marx. A good commentary on it plus the article itself can be found on these two links below:
Broke - my condemnation of Marxism was not a "gut reaction". It was based on research of facts which I certainly don't get from my "government".
I would expect since you're British that you would have different back round then the us in the US toward Marxism. Please share some of your thoughts on what specifically you find troubling about it.
Brokeback: the troubling part is that the individual takes second place to the collective. Human Rights are first and foremost rights of the individual, not rights of a group.