[Marxism] Marx and our times
d.koechlin at wanadoo.fr
Mon Aug 13 22:42:41 MDT 2012
Regarding the "advances in economics" since Marx's time, well there
haven't been any so to speak.
Marx basicaly showed that what we, 21st century wage-earners regard as
"economic science" is simply justfication for the supremacy of those who
own the means of production vs. the rest of the world. Beyond said
justification, economics as a so-called "science" is non-existent.
Serious analyses of the Capitalist system of Capital accumulation end
up, whether Keynesian or paid-for-by-Billionairs-moneatrists, showing
serious contradictions, the like of which aqnybody with any sense is
more or less aware of. Competition forces down the profits of firms,
investment in labour-saving machinery is okay until it proves too
costly, too many people are unemployed and this affects consumption,
money cannot be profitably invested into production in "the Western
Marx's "dialectical method" is as relevant as ever, however one chooses
to interpret it (and it can be interpreted in very different ways).
Dialectics means that everything is connected, no single explanation can
account for everything, and that examining one layer and then another in
a hierachical fashion and then putting all the layers back together will
provide a fuller understanding of the "whole" and the relationship
between each part. But paradoxically, MArx's opponents themselves are
now using the Dialetics, without even realising it's origin.
So advances in Economics have merely meant more up-to-date desciptions
of the world-wide process of exploitation as society evolved since 1885.
Automation of the production process has advanced dramatically, the
production process and labour utilization have changed, the economy has
become more "globalized"... Big Deal...
But the Capitalist mode of production thrives on the obstacles it
creates and has to overcome, so that it is far more "self-correcting"
than feodalism. IT continually revolutionizes "the basis" (ie. science
and technology), which probably represents the ultimate barrier to its
If bio-engineering can replace every single organ with an artificial one
and extend our human lifespan indefinitely.
If nanotechnology can create microscopic, molecular-scale "fogglets"
that can receive and collectively share and analyse information and
automatically configure themselves to any shape, form or density
whatsoever (thus enabling complete control over the biological
environment, nutritious food being produced by nanotechnology, foglets
as air molecules pushing a person from one place to the next faster than
a car, foglets in a person's clothes adopting any shape or form desired
enabling each individual to adopt the external identity he/she chooses,
IF the current human-brain mapping projects result in the possibility of
completely "emulating' a person's brain's neural activity down to the
molecular level (10 to the power of 23 bits) so that the state of each
single synapse, neuron and, beyond, on a cellular level, each protein
molecule is reproduced on a main-fraim computer (i.e. complete
"uploading" of a person's individuality and personality at time t). Once
a brain has been completely "emulated" on a computer, all kinds of
science fiction fantasies become possible (uploading, dowloading to any
format, copying, erasing...)
These are some of the possibilities current biotech and nanotech
research are opening up for mankind. But automation also represents the
ultimate barrier against which Capitalism as a mode of production is
rapidly advancing towards. And this barrier is already showing signs of
being too stupendous for Capitalism to overcome.
A society in which every person has unlimited free energy and robots
doing his/her productive and socially-required reproductive work is by
defintion a Communist society, one which has reached what for Marx was
the ultimate goal : the abolition of labour itself. By the abolition of
Labour, Marx meant the aboltion of the NECESSITY TO WORK, the external
compunction, which is the foundation of exploitation and private
property, as Humans hate externaly determined labour and will do
anything to get other humans to perform such labour in their stead (thus
according to Marx, creating private property and exploitation).
Actually, Marx did not envision the abolition of labour itself (the
ultimate goal of communism) as arising from automation but rather from
abundance leading to "each producer becoming an artist" and adopting the
"artistic" outlook of production not for itself but as a means, that is
finding enjoyment and satisfaction in the creative process and not in
the end-result (bread and pasta).
But Marx could little forsee the incredible power that natural science
(the near-absolute knowledge of the biological and physical world) would
unleash : knowledge of the atom, neutron, electron, quark, DNA,
mitochondria, Adenosin-base, protein, neuron, ...
God-like powers translated into potential human empowerement will at one
point or another on the human devlopment timeline render the present
area of exploitation obsolete. And against this future enormous
devlopment of the productive forces, down to the molecular, nay atomic
level, wage-earning for the many and control of the means of production
for the few (Capitalism) will wither away (in 100, 200, 300, 3000 years
But the God-like powers alluded to, which are rapidly bcoming more and
more obvious (medical research can now isolate single molecules and
modify them, "molecularly plastify" an entire mouse's brain so that it
remains absolutley intact from the time of death through hundeds of
years, sequence the genome of a neanderthal, geneticaly modify not only
the DNA but the RNA and proteins of any organism) must lead to
Capitalism becoming more and more anemic and unprofitable. "They", the
upper-class, might be able to prevent such God-like powers from
benefiting the rest of humanity for a short while, but history shows
that major revolutions in the mode of production are unstoppable once
they become known.
So the present mode of production (early 21st century Capitalism) is
rapidly developping the conditions of its own overcoming, which will not
happen without intense social turmoil and revolutions in the coming
hundred to five hundred years. The possibility of immortality will be a
first wake up call, when a few privildged individuals will be able to
harness progress to live up to 200 years. Cheap Artificial Intelligence
enabling robots to pick tomatoes and iron clothes for a fraction of the
cost of a human labourer will be another. Finally, the intimate
manipulation of nature's molecules and atoms through nanobots will mean
complete control of us humans over our external environment, which is
what our five-hundred-year-old dabbling into natural sciences was all
about in the first place.
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