by Imran Barlas
“According to the materialist conception of history, the ultimately determining element in history is the production and reproduction of real life. Other than this neither Marx nor I have ever asserted. Hence if somebody twists this into saying that the economic element is the only determining one, he transforms that proposition into a meaningless, abstract, senseless phrase.” — Engels
To derive a more accurate conclusion of whether the economic and philosophical theories of Marx can work or not, it would be beneficial to:
- Study the economic theories themselves
We spend the entirety of our school, college, university years learning about capitalism. We cannot rely on a simple booklet which was never intended to form the basis of economic/philosophical theory anyway. On the contrary, we study in depth about subjects to arrive at truly accurate analyses about how the world works.
After all, something is clearly wrong with how the world works today. Today, we are in what is being termed as the Great Recession. Had the major capitalist economies not regulated or intervened through the state, it would have been quite likely that we would have entered a Depression. And that would have been even more disastrous.
Why is it then that despite having Ivy League graduates at the helm of businesses, top professionals from the highest ranking universities regarded as some of the smartest people in the world, that the interlinked economies were quite helpless in preventing the crisis? The answer is that the crisis is systemic. No matter how smart one is or how moral one is, the nature of the system is such that recessions and depressions, i.e. perpetual failures will continue to result due to the irreconcilable antagonism between labor and capital.
The effects on people of a recession are obvious. Hundreds of thousands are thrown out of their jobs. Those workers that remain begin to see reductions in their wages so that the owners/shareholders may continue to stay rich! The ‘symbiotic’ relationship between capitalists and workers that is so often claimed in university text books ends without a second thought. Resource based wars start brewing for the retention of profitability and economic vitality. And so on.