[Marxism] Marx and our times

dan 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 
world", etc.

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 
accumulation process.

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, 
etc. etc.)
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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