Many of you have asked us for a video explaining
what communism is all about so… here you have it!
If you have been following this channel, you know we’re not exactly on the communist
side of the spectrum… But before having an opinion about something,
it’s important to be informed about it. Plus, at the end of this video, we’ll share
some takeaways from Marx that might surprise you.
The internet is full of trolls who either praise Marx, or hate him, without ever having
read him. That´s why people end up believing a lot of wrong stereotypes about communism.
Before we start, I will say that this is a summary of Karl Marx’s and Friedrich Engels
ideas only! We’ve only got 10 minutes, so it’s going to be impossible to cover the
authors who came after or the Soviet Union. With that out of the way, let’s get started! The first thing we need to know, and that
will be a surprise to many of you, is that Marx is a materialist thinker.
That means he thinks the main driver of historical and social change is material goods. The foundation
of Marxism is to determine which goods have more value than others. But be warned. We
are talking about value here, not the market price, (this can be influenced by other things
like taxes or monopolies…). TITLE: THE THEORY OF VALUE
For Marx, the value of a good is measured by the work needed to manufacture it.
An example!: How much is this chair worth? It would be the sum of the carpenter´s working
hours, who had to put all the things together, but also those from the lumberjack, who who
chopped down the tree, the blacksmith who made the nails, and on, and on… In summary
it’s all the work from all the people who is been involved in the production process
to make this chair. Don´t forget this: it´s very important to
understand the concept of the capitalist exploitation. (This has nothing to do with the workers conditions
or their wages.) Imagine an assembly line in a car factory
where there are 100 workers. Under Marx the wealth generated here is the sum of all these
100 people work, right? But, these people only get a share of the value they create.
The rest is profit for the factory´s owner. This means, if they work 8 hours a day, they
might only get for themselves the result of the first 3 or 4 hours work. The other part
(the one that the businessman receives) is what we call the SURPLUS VALUE.
“The surplus value is, therefore, the exact expression of the exploitation degree of the
working force by the capital, or the worker by the capitalist”
(Das Kapital, Vol. I). So you might be wondering: How is it possible
that the owner can exploit the workers so easily? Why don’t the workers get the whole
value they generate? The answer: They can´t because they need
the tools to turn the raw materials into a useful thing; a factory, a workshop, whatever…
This is what, in economic jargon is called MEANS OF PRODUCTION or CAPITAL MEANS. This
is why the one who owns these is called a CAPITALIST.
Despite what some people think, Marx has no issue if you wanna own a fancy car or a mobile
phone. The problem, according to him, comes when you want to own the means of production.
This means having a company. So, why is that a problem? We’ll let’s have a look…
TITLE: THE CONTRADICTIONS OF CAPITALISM Marx divides society between two classes.
On one hand, you have the capitalists, the bourgeoisie, they control the production process
and survive thanks to their exploitation of the other class: the workers, or proletarians,
who are the actual wealth producers even though they don´t get nothing but the crumbs given
by this higher class. Therefore, we a confrontation, or a class
struggle, that you might have heard of before. And this, is the “original sin” of a market
economy. As you can see, it has nothing to do with poverty or inequality.
In fact, in Nordic countries, where the differences between the wealthy and the poor are relatively
small, there is still capitalist exploitation as long as there is private property involved
in the production of goods. This is why Marx doesn´t focus his critics on capitalists
but also on social democrats. “A second modality less systematic, but
yet more practical, of socialismo, tries to freeze any revolutionary will from the working
class claiming is not a political reform what will give them a benefit but only the modification
of their material life conditions”. (The Communist Manifesto)
In summary, the working relations in capitalismo are based on one group living from the other.
This is what Marx calls the “INFRASTRUCTURE of capitalism”. Nevertheless, in order to
make this work, the bourgeoisie needs some secret weapon that guarantees their supremacy.
That´s why they create a government, laws, culture, even religion… all of this is called
the SUPERSTRUCTURE. So what´s Marx solution to end with all this
injustice? TITLE: THE PROLETARIAN REVOLUTION!!!
Obviously, destroying the private property of capital means so the workers will be the
owners of all the wealth they generate. This implies breaking the capitalist system.
“Communists (…) claim that their goals can be only achieved by the violent overthrow
of every existing social order” (The Communist Manifesto)
Futher, Marx understands capitalism is unsustainable. In fact. He even predicts the first countries
to fall will be those with the biggest industries, specially, the United Kingdom (the leading
industrial nation of his time). “bourgeoisie is forgint their own destruction
and their own undertaker: the proletariat” (The Communist Manifesto)
And here is the most ironic part of the story… If you look at the facts, you will see that
all the countries where Marxist revolutions have been are those with no industrial revolution
and with no bourgeoisie… Countries like Russia or China which never had a capitalist
system. At least, not like the one described by Marx… But there’s more…
Those countries with advanced capitalism NEVER even had a revolution. Maybe, the only exceptions
would be Hungary and Czechoslovakia, but these were cases where communism didn´t come through
a revolution but by a Russian invasion after the World War II.
In fact, the key question all the Marxist philosophers had during the 20th Century,
at least in Western Europe was: Why haven’t we have the revolution Marx
promised us? (If you are interested in Marxism, some of
these philosophers are well worth a read. I recommend you to read those authors. Specially,
Jurgen Habermas and Antonio Gramsci. They conducted fascinating research into how language
works and how human beings perceive reality. And this is why, despite what it looks, Marxism
offers really good takeaways for the less Marxist area you would imagine: MARKETING!
But this will come in another video. If you really want to know how to apply Marxism to
a marketing campaign, you can let me know in the comments.
Our Spanish channel host Sr Fonseca, actually wrote a book on this… But it’s in Spanish.
If you read Spanish check it out in the link right HERE. It’s called “Marxist marketing
for non-marxist political parties”. And now it´s your time to tell me your opinion.
Do you think Marx’s theories are still relevant in the world today? Let me know your thoughts
in the comments. And don´t forget we’ll be uploading new
videos every Monday and Thursday so don´t miss any of our updates and please subscribe!
If you liked this video, thumbs up and see you next time!