Historical Notes: Cursing the Carbuncles

  • Share
  • Read Later

(2 of 2)

The Real Husk. The Communists' confusion over Marx began when the Lenins and Mao Tse-tungs started stretching his maxims to fit largely agrarian societies. Then, too, Marx became archaic when it became evident that 1) England, Germany and the other advanced industrial nations had avoided revolution; 2) capitalism, partly in response to Marx's ideas, had showed itself vital enough to change with the times into something that Marx would hardly have recognized; and 3) workers in the West were increasingly sharing in the fruits of capitalist prosperity. Not until recently did Europe's Communists realize that the real husk that must be cracked is that of or thodox Marxist economics. Many economists consider Marx's surplus-value-of-labor theory the biggest single mischief-maker in Russian economic history. By focusing attention almost entirely on labor, Marx convinced the Communists that they could ignore capital and interest; they thus grossly mismanaged their scarce investment capital. Now the Communist nations in Eu rope are embarked on vast experiments with profits, market pricing, bonuses and other incentives. Marx has, if anything, become something of an embarrassment. Last week the only Marxists who took much public note of Das Kapital's anniversary were the East Germans—perhaps because Marx was a German. East German Party Boss Walter Ulbricht spoke at a symposium on Marx to explain why his regime has adopted the use of profits. He argued that profits are something different when they "increase social wealth" and go to a government that owns the means of production rather than to a few capitalists. But no matter how they squirm, the Communists cannot rid themselves entirely of the carbuncles inherent in the Marxian preachings that they have elevated to gospel.

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. Next Page