Marx – A graphic bio of the father of communism


The problem with Marx is his ideas sound OK in theory. If we were all androids doing our little part to make society function then it might work.

But he’s naive to the nature of man and how such a system will ultimately fail in practice.


Definitely true, but also true of pretty much any other economist. And probably true of anyone working with systems that involve human beings.
You have what you think will work, what “should” work, and then people come along wreck the whole thing.

Marx didn’t so much propose his own system as much as critique the existing system and with that he was pretty spot-on, only a few generations premature. The only thing he didn’t envision was the broadening of global trade and the expansion of ‘Product’ (i.e. digital and intellectual property).
And you can credit Engels with anyone being able to make sense of Marx.

I’m going to agree with all three of you, but also point out that Marx’s ideas work just fine with the right number of people in the right environment. Typically, a small number of people, in a reasonably resource-rich non-industrial environment.

I spend a couple weeks a year camping with a dozen or so other people, and we have no hierarchies, rank or responsibilities other than “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.” We’re neither market nor potlatch, although we are surrounded by examples of both. This pure communism is possible because of non-economic social factors that would be unsustainable at a larger scale (harkening back to earlier comments about human nature) and the fact that all of us are reasonably well provisioned - none of us are fighting starvation.


Karl Marx the unfunny Marx brother.


Anyone who says that clearly have no idea what they’re talking about with respect to what Marx wrote. “Human nature” isn’t some eternal, immutable thing. It’s a product of the social conditions of a particular time and place. Marx was writing in response to the political economists of his day who were claiming humans are all naturally capitalist. He argued that one only had to look at all the history prior to the relatively recent birth of capitalism to know that claim was nonsense. People’s behaviors adapt to circumstances, and circumstances can clearly change. Capitalism is no more a “natural” social formation than communism is, but still functions.

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The typo on the page shown (“A spectre is hauting Europe …”) is both convenient and instructive of Marx’s theories. While his ideas may seem attractive on the surface, they’re flawed in the particulars. In practice the whole thing falls to pieces and only (barely) functions under the strictest of dictatorships.

I admit I am not an expert on Marx, but i am talking about our base natures and how our brains work, which are the same for everyone no matter the time and culture. Society and culture can effect how we act and what we find acceptable, but how we think and make decisions (poorly, usually) is what makes us human.

I agree that capitalism is no more or less natural than socialism.

It seems to work very well indeed for the super-rich, who would consequently like to discourage its use to anyone else.

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Which is Marx’s essential point about human nature. Economic systems may change, but people can adapt to function within them. That we can have a choice about how we would like society to be. Certainly there is a preprogrammed commonality between people, but it is not the dominating factor in determining behavior.


It’s strange the way people go on about how Marx’s ideas can’t work in practice, when he made a point of only talking about a future society in the most general terms.

Thus the Paris Revue Positiviste reproaches me in that, on the one hand, I treat economics metaphysically, and on the other hand — imagine! — confine myself to the mere critical analysis of actual facts, instead of writing recipes (Comtist ones?) for the cook-shops of the future.

(The text on that cite uses “receipts” rather than the alternate translation “recipes”, which I prefer.)

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Any political system must achieve balance without that it will collapse into chaos.

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