Most influential theory of mankind

Karl Marx’s. Picture: https://commons.wikimedia.org

THE FIJI TIMES – OPINIONSakul Kundra – 3 October, 2020, 11:48 pm

Dr Sakul Kundra is an assistant professor in history at the Fiji National University. The views expressed are his own and not of this newspaper. Email – dr.sakulkundra@gmail.com

Two of Fiji’s political party leaders have commenced to hear the challenge caused by COVID-19 resulting in a recession. This may certainly include the economic problems faced by Fijians under this unprecedented crisis.

This year economic recession and recovery policies by varied governments will be a burning issue for all upcoming elections such as the  US Presidential Elections in November and New Zealand General Elections scheduled in October.

Fiji’s 2022 election is not far, and political parties are lining up their front bearers to make groundwork for contesting come the elections. Economic issues are connected with the public so it becomes a major locomotive to influence the masses.

History revealed the power dynamics and economic objectives that have been the issues of contestation between superpowers during the Cold War (US Vs USSR) or in contemporary world.

This is a clash of ideologies between capitalism and communism that has been a highly debated issue.

In this context, Marxism ideology need to be recapitulated to understand economic prospective of past, present and future events. Marxism ideology is one of the most influential in history.

This ideology has never faded away, but returns with every economic crisis.

Therefore, with every economic crisis there are brainstorms made to know its relevance in the 21st Century, whose basic thoughts are highlighted for our audience.

Karl Marx’s Marxism

This social theory is developed by Karl Marx in collaboration with Friedrich Engels.

Their works have inspired creation of many communist regimes of the 20th Century such as China, Korea, Vietnam etc. This has been a revolutionary theory and is associated with communism that advocate class — leading to a society in which real estates and properties are publicly owned not private.

Here competition between the communist and the capitalist countries is explained clearly and one which was prevalent during the Cold War.

Marxism gives importance to economy and economic forces as a factor for social change in history, and believes that this will continue until it has reached its culmination in communism.

Marxism ideology is explained in their Communist Manifesto (1848) that stated every historical period has a prevailing mode of economic production, as in simple words, economy shapes the political and cultural aspects of the society.

As per Marxism, there are four basic modes of production (refer to varied ways that human beings collectively produce the means of subsistence in order to survive and enhance social being) that includes asiatic, slavery/ancient, feudalism and capitalism, and the highest stage of Marxism will be achieved through communism.

The four historical periods of Marx are  feudalism (social system), capitalism (production for profit), socialism (social ownership) and communism (Society’s main goal is the workers’ paradise).

Marx believes the final stage will evolve in socialism where workers would take over the control of production, that would lead to communism and form classless society.

There was conflict between the rich and poor; king versus the subjects; masters versus the slaves; nobility versus serfs; bourgeoisie verses proletariat class. This struggle ends with communism where all the properties and the economy will be owned by all people.

Thus reflecting the Marxist ideals of free education for all in state-run schools, abolition of land ownership and rents; state owned means of communication and transportation. Marxism gave the concept of historical materialism based on principle of dialectic and materialism.

When the human became more self-aware by achieving knowledge; so Marxist dialectic explains struggle between the ruling class of society (thesis) vs the lower class (antithesis) that generates a radical change in the new society (synthesis).

Marxism: ‘religion is the

opium of the people’

Material principle of Marxism give no space to religion implications. As per Marx, religion is human’s attempt to ease their misery in life caused by exploitation.

Thus economic forces are the major force that lead to change in history through class conflict. Economic exploitation in any aspect is opposed by the lower classes.

Marx believes that ‘the base shapes the superstructure’, as ‘base’ includes relation of production (Bourgeoisie exploits the Proletariat) and means of production (all means of production control by Bourgeoisie) that shapes superstructure that includes education, family, mass media, religion and politics. Both are interconnected.

Is communism relevant in 21st Century?

Although, Marxism inspired socialist states the USSR collapsed in 1991 because it failed to adopt certain new innovations in its economy.

After the 2008 economic crisis, economists have looked into other models to achieve sustainability and balance growth. There were a number of problems such as unemployment and concentration of wealth in the hands of few and sudden instability of capitalism.

As per scholars, capitalism has seeds of its own destruction, as class struggle between capitalist and workers will build a new society that will end exploitation of one nation by another or one person by another.

Marx gave 10 prediction for 21st Century, ‘ the concentration and centralisation of capital; the instability of capitalism and cyclical crises; class struggle; the industrial reserve army; the negative role of financial capital; the creation of false needs; globalisation; the suicidal tendency of capitalism; the revolutionary potential of the working class’ (Gómez, 16/5/2018).

Marxism is the most influential theory of mankind that cannot be phased out, it has been criticised, altered and rediscovered. The economic-political struggle has been explained by Marxism theory and its legacy will prevail and will be revisited with every future economic and political crisis.

Dr Sakul Kundra is an assistant professor in history at the Fiji National University. The views expressed are his own and not of this newspaper. Email – dr.sakulkundra@gmail.com

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here