III. Marx on Socialism/Communism
A. The Communist Manifesto, 1848
We have seen above that the first step in
the revolution by the working class is to raise the proletariat to the
position of ruling class to win the battle of democracy.
These measures will, of course, be different in different countries.
Nevertheless, in most advanced countries, the following will be pretty generally applicable.
1. Abolition of property in land and application of all rents of land to public purposes.
2. A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.
3. Abolition of all rights of inheritance.
4. Confiscation of the property of all emigrants and rebels.
5. Centralization of credit in the banks of the state, by means of a national bank with state capital and an exclusive monopoly.
6. Centralization of the means of communication and transport in the hands of the state.
7. Extension of factories and instruments of production owned by the state; the bringing into cultivation of waste lands, and the improvement of the soil generally in accordance with a common plan.
8. Equal obligation of all to work. Establishment of industrial armies, especially for agriculture.
9. Combination of agriculture with manufacturing industries; gradual abolition of all the distinction between town and country by a more equable distribution of the populace over the country.
10.Free education for all children in public schools. Abolition of children's factory labor in its present form. Combination of education with industrial production, etc.
When, in the course of development, class distinctions have disappeared, and all production has been concentrated in the hands of a vast association of the whole nation, the public power will lose its political character.
B. Marx, Critique of the Gotha
What we have to deal with here is a
communist society, not as it has developed on its own foundations, but, on
the contrary, just as it emerges from capitalist society; which is thus in
every respect, economically, morally, and intellectually, still stamped
with the birthmarks of the old society from whose womb it emerges.
Accordingly, the individual producer receives back from society -- after
the deductions have been made -- exactly what he gives to it. . . He
receives a certificate from society that he has furnished such-and-such an
amount of labor . . .; and with this certificate, he draws from the social
stock of means of consumption as much as the same amount of labor cost.
The same amount of labor which he has given to society in one form, he
receives back in another. . .
The question then arises: What
transformation will the state undergo in communist society? In other
words, what social functions will remain in existence there that are
analogous to present state functions? . . .
Modern industry, which has taught us to convert the movement of molecules, something more or less universally feasible, into the movement of masses for technical purposes, has thereby to a considerable extent freed production from restrictions of locality. Water-power was local; steam-power is free. While water-power is necessarily rural, steam-power is by no means necessarily urban. It is capitalist utilisation which concentrates it mainly in the towns and changes factory villages into factory towns. But in so doing it at the same time undermines the conditions under which it operates. The first requirement of the steam-engine, and a main requirement of almost all branches of production in modern industry, is relatively pure water. But the factory town transforms all water into stinking manure. However much therefore urban concentration is a basic condition of capitalist production, each individual industrial capitalist is constantly striving to get away from the large towns necessarily created by this production, and to transfer his plant to the countryside. This process can be studied in detail in the textile industry districts of Lancashire and Yorkshire; modern capitalist industry is constantly bringing new large towns into being there by constant flight from the towns into the country. The situation is similar in the metal-working districts where, in part, other causes produce the same effects.
Once more, only the abolition of the capitalist character of modern industry can bring us out of this new vicious circle, can resolve this contradiction in modern industry, which is constantly reproducing itself. Only a society which makes it possible for its productive forces to dovetail harmoniously into each other on the basis of one single vast plan can allow industry to be distributed over the whole country in the way best adapted to its own development, and to the maintenance and development of the other elements of production.
IV. Criticisms of Marx
A. The "Great Contradiction"
Böhm-Bawerk, Geschichte und Kritik der Kapitalzinstheorieen, 1884
Either products do actually exchange in the long run in proportion to the labour attaching to them—in which case an equalisation of the gains of capital is impossible; or there is an equalisation of the gains of capital—in which case it is impossible that products should continue to exchange in proportion to the labour attaching to them.
(Marx, Capital, Volume 3, 1894
Böhm-Bawerk, Karl Marx and the Close of His System, 1896
In what relation does this doctrine of the third volume stand to the celebrated law of value of the first volume? Does it contain the solution of the seeming contradiction looked for with so much anxiety? . . .
In the first volume it was maintained, with the greatest emphasis, that all value is based on labour and labour alone, and that values of commodities were in proportion to the working time necessary for their production. . . . And now in the third volume we are told briefly and drily that what, according to the teaching of the first volume must be, is not and never can be; that individual commodities do and must exchange with each other in a proportion different from that of the labour incorporated in them, and this not accidentally and temporarily, but of necessity and permanently.
I cannot help myself; I see here no explanation and reconciliation of a contradiction, but the bare contradiction itself. Marx's third volume contradicts the first.