Thursday, August 12, 2010

Communism in America

I found the Communist Manifesto to be quite thought provoking and it also made me eager to read Das Kapital to learn more about Marx's economic theories. I agree that many workers today are still exploited as "wage laborers", including ones with PhDs and MDs. Certainly the problem has been greatly rectified since 1848, but I thought it would be worth seeing what Communist ideas Marx had that have been implemented in America.

What Marx wanted to see:

1. Progressive income tax. We have this in America, however some people do not think it is nearly "progessive" enough for the super rich. We also tax inhertances, which retards the growth of a wealthy ruling classs. 

2. Free education. We have publicly supported schools for K-12 and state sponsored universities. However a free college education is unrealistic, even in "socialist" Europe.

3. A national bank. We have this and the Federal Reserve regulates the short-term interest rate which means there is quite a bit of governmental control over our economy (especially lending).

4. Labor unions. We did cultivate many of these over the last 150 years. Although they are not nearly as powerful as in years past, they still retain their influence and protect workers rights.

5.  Public Ownership of Business.  The goverments currently owns many "companies" such as the post office, mortgage companies (Freddie Mac, Fanny Mae) and we own 60% of General Motors following our bailout of that company.

Marx saw history as a grand and natural transition from old ideas to new ones. It was a mix of Hegel's inevetable march of time and a twist of social Darwinism. The final outcome would be a great class struggle with Communism emerging dominant. He probably did not predict that we would instead incorportate many of his ideas in our capitalist governments.

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