Abandon All Fear

What nobody else seems to be saying…

[Credit Crunchies] Was Marx Right? Er, no.

Posted by BHudson on March 6, 2009

Of late, both Stephen King and Mark Steel have commented (in the Independent) about the rise in support for Marx’s theory and, specifically, the idea that the current economic problems prove him right. As far as I can tell, this is all based on the fact that Marx knew the business cycle (‘boom and bust’) was part of a capitalist system. In other words, the current ‘bust’ is supposed to support Marxist theory. But presumably, it also supports pretty much any economic theory of modern times equally well. The fact that Gordon Brown was wrong in declaring the end of ‘boom and bust’ doesn’t mean that Marx was right.

Confession time. I think Marx’s theory was right.

Was right, as in ‘might just have worked if society stayed as it was between 1890 and 1950’. Not any longer. Key to Marx’s ideas was his class theory. Broadly, he defined two classes:
Proletariat – serves to provide labour. Does not own the other means of production
Bourgeoisie – serves to own the means of production and employ the labour of the proletariat, hence exploiting them.
This model of defining the classes worked to a point. By the 1960s, or thereabouts, the industrial working class who defined the proletariat had become far smaller and less significant. Without its main player, Marx’s theory stopped working. Marx was knowledgable in history, and said himself that his theory would be discredited if it was shown by posterity to not work.

Agorism, however, theorises that there are three broad ‘classes’. The word ‘class’ is perhaps improper, as most people do not fit in one single category. Each act can be placed into one of three categories:
Entrepreneur (Good) – innovator, risk-taker, producer, the strength of a free market, victim of the state
Non-statist capitalist (Neutral) – holders of capital, not necessarily ideologically aware, “relatively drone-like non-innovators”.
Pro-statist capitalist (Bad) – “the main Evil in the political realm”, oppressor of the entrepreneur and non-statist classes.

‘Agorist Class Theory’, by Wally Conger covers in reasonable depth the reasons why the agorist theory is stronger.

Agorist Solutions for Marxist Problems (from ACT)

Marxist Problem: The revolutionary class appears to work against its
own interest; the proletariat support reactionary politicians.
Agorist Solution: The Counter-Economic class cannot work against its
interests as long as it is acting counter-economically. Those supporting
statists politically have internal psychological problems without doubt,
but as a class, these acts dampen the weakening of the State marginally.
(Someone who earns $60,000 tax-free and contributes up to $3000
politically is a net revolutionary by several thousand dollars, several
hundred percent!)

Marxist Problem: “Revolutionary” States keep “selling out” to
reaction.
Agorist Solution: There are no such states. Resistance to all states at all
times is supported.

Marxist Problem: Revolutionary parties often betray the victimized
class before taking power.
Agorist Solution: There are no such parties; resistance to all parties at
all times is supported.

Marxist Problem: Little objective relief can be accomplished by
reformist action. (Agorists agree!) Therefore, one must await the
revolution to destroy the system. Until then, revolutionary activities are
premature and “adventurist.” Still, the productive class remains victim-
ized until the class reaches consciousness as a whole.
Agorist Solution: Each individual may liberate himself immediately.
Incentives for supporting collective action are built in and grow as the
self-conscious counter-economy (agora) grows.

Marxist Problem: The class line blurs with time — against prediction.
Agorist Solution: Class lines sharpen with time — as predicted

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