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Found this link on this page from a long time ago.

Not sure if it's meant to be relevant to this page, or why I put it here. (Or if someone else did.) But leaving it anyway. In case it triggers interesting thinking.

Nothing else on this page, until I brought the following QuoraAnswer in.

Quora Answer : Is it true that Marx's communist society is just capitalism without exploitation? If it is, why?

Sep 23


BUT ...

It's important to understand that Marx's "anti-capitalism" is not a desire to "undo" or "reverse" capitalism. It's not a simplistic "negation" of capitalism. Or a "regret" that capitalism ever came about.

Marx is simultaneously a fierce critic of capitalism AND an admirer and fan of capitalism.

He definitely thinks that capitalism is an improvement on what came before it. And that it was a necessary thing historically. He just thinks it also comes with a bunch of new problems and we now have to solve those by going forward, beyond capitalism, to something even better.

Now part of that view is that he sees capitalism comes together with / brings about the industrial revolution. And Marx thinks that the industrial revolution is a good thing. More machines and technology improving productivity is a good thing.

And he wouldn't want to avoid / undo that.

So it's completely wrong to say that, for Marx, communist society is just "capitalism without exploitation". That would be a meaningless / nonsensical idea for Marx. Because he thinks that exploitation is unavoidable under capitalism. How could it be possible to have one lot of people owning factories that another lot of people work in, without the owners inevitably exploiting the workers?

But having said that, for Marx and his followers, a communist society would still have a strong resemblance to a capitalist society. There'd still be factories, and mass production of goods and commodities. Possibly even "shops" (or near equivalents thereof) where consumers could get their "stuff".

There are other critiques of capitalism from environmentalist, or post-human or anarcho-primitivist, perspectives that oppose industrialism and mass consumption. These have become more prominent on the left in recent years, as we've started to understand more about how precarious nature is and the risk to the environment. But these are not Marxist criticisms and not part of his model.

Marx said very little about "communism". He didn't define or lay out a recipes for it. But we can say pretty clearly that he was not advocating going back to a "primitive communism". And he was definitely NOT thinking about the kinds of stereotypes of totalitarian societies that are used to scare people in the West. Where everyone has to wear the same uniform clothes, and are forced to do nothing but work, without leisure or consumption.

That wasn't his idea of communism at all. And he would definitely have disowned and opposed any totalitarian society which claimed that it was doing that in his name.

So while Marx's notion of communism is not any version of "capitalism without exploitation", it's not implausible that he imagined it as a kind of "modern consumer society but without capitalism or exploitation". (And not much advertising or positional branded goods etc.) But it would be a society with hi-tech factories, high productivity, lots of quality goods available for consumption and workers with plenty of time and opportunity for leisure and hobbies etc.

Quora Answer : Did Marx see anything positive in capitalism? How do Marxist-Leninists and social democrats differ in their application of socialist ideology?

Apr 19, 2020


Marx thought Capitalism was phenomenally productive. And a great improvement over what came before it.

Marx didn't want to undo capitalism. He wanted to go beyond it to something even better that would have the good parts (which he largely believed to be the technological innovations and increased productivity from automation) but with extra freedom for workers, through them not having to depend on, and be exploited by, capitalist owners of factories.

Main difference between the Marxists and the social-democrats is that social democrats believe you can put capitalism to work in a constrained way. Basically, as long as you wrap it in certain constraints from the government, and tax it to get resources for social projects, you can leave the ownership structure of private corporations intact.

Marxists tend to be more sceptical of this. They believe that trying to keep the ownership structure of private corporations is dangerous. Eventually capital will break out of its chains and try to overthrow the state and all the mechanisms that protect people from capital's excesses, and that direct some of the benefits of capitalist productivity for social welfare. Instead capitalists will funnel all that wealth into their own pockets.

Exactly as we do see in contemporary society, the influence of wealthy corporate lobbying has made much government constraint on capital effectively meaningless. Inequality is spiralling out of control, so a handful of super-wealthy owners now control more wealth than the rest of society in total, and are continually finding strategies to increase their own share, while leaving workers' lives more precarious and impoverished than ever.

The Marxist thinks that social democracy is not sustainable. Unless you fundamentally reform the ownership model, and put productive capital like factories under the control of workers, then any social democratic "truce" between owners and workers will inevitably collapse.

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