Ran into this comment by a communist on Commentary and thought I'd share the exchange.
orsobubu| 7.18.10 @ 7:16PM
You never studied Marx if you can say this. Marxism is the opposite than idealism. You confuse dialectical (historical) materialism with leftist idealism. For Marx, men can change history only when material conditions permit, and only by violence/revolution. Just as realists (Machiavelli, Kissinger) do, only by the opposite field than capitalistic bourgeoise: the worker classes. About automation: mathematically, it can only works under communism. If you can't understand this by math, you didn't study The Capital by Karl Marx. Under capitalistic condition, full automation brings to economical disaster because you can't extract the surplus value from labour via workers' exploitation: look at automotive factories nowadays. let's study Marx and Lenin at least half an hour a day. Workers of the world, unite!
1. Marx's Labor Theory of Value (adapted from Ricardo) has been proven incorrect. For more on this see Schumpeter's "Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy."
2. Historical Materialism begs the question of human agency (how socialists come to have consciousness that is "authentic"); and begs the question of how classes arose to begin with. Marxism is a self-stultifying ideology that renders life meaningless. The struggle for domination in mankind is obviously due to human nature, and not materialist forces. For more on why socialist systems always lead to oppression, see Michels' "Iron Law of Oligarchy."
3. Marx's theory of historical determinism, i.e. the "inevitable triumph of socialism," is obviously flawed. Socialism lasting any considerable period of time in a polity has developed due to Marxist-Leninist radicals ushering in bloody putsches in economically backwards states. This is the opposite of what Marx predicted.
4. Marx claims that the "Iron Law of Wages" leads inexorably to a decline in standard of living among the proletariat tending towards subsistence living. Yet in the most advanced capitalist states, standard of living increased ever upwards. (This is actually the primary impetus for the shift to cultural marxism). The counter-argument that this was due to labor unions is obviously false in the U.S.; labor unions only redistribute wealth, they do not increase productivity.
5. Equality of means has not been improved in any socialist state of any kind in world history. Every single socialist state has been led by an elite cadre of the relatively wealthy and a miserable underclass far underfoot. I defy you to name one counterfactual.
6. The fraud of socialism was perhaps best summed up by Margaret Thatcher, who in a speech to the socialist opposition, demonstrated the absurdity of its position. Later gesticulating with her fingers to illustrate it visually, she showed that "(Socialists) would rather the poor be poorer, provided the rich were less rich." [See: "Margaret Thatcher on Socialism" on YouTube.]
7. Socialism is only a critique of capitalism and not a self-sufficient economic system. It advises how to redistribute wealth, but not how to create it. Socialists are unable to persuasively answer the "then what?" question of what happens when capitalism is destroyed/collapses. Apparently, eternal prosperity ensues, but the causal linkage is not adequately explained.
8. Socialism is not consistent with human nature. Human beings are not innately altruists, because as a species, mankind is driven by the desire to procreate and all that seminal act entails. Man has been a hunter, a producer, a thinker, but never a redistributer. The implication of modeling an economic system merely on redistribution for the contrived ethic of "equality" is no less than the destruction of civilization itself. And this is by design. Marx set out to foment world revolution prior to developing the philosophical system that justified it.