The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels changed the world. It was a social political gospel for the economically disheartened.
I have put together a free copy of Karl Marx in PDF here. I resisted interjecting my own views into the introduction of the book as I did not want to sway the objectivity of the reader or ruin the experience of reading it with an open mind.
You can download it here -> Communist Manifesto
Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx – What if
The question is if you lived during the time of Marx or afterward, without the experience of the 20th century Communism or Stalin or the Soviet Union and the surreal society that resulted from this ideology; would you personally have been swayed by Marx’s writing? That is, the question that you have to ask yourself. Imagine yourself as a peasant in the countryside in Eastern Europe whose family had been working for a land owner’s family for centuries. In other words your economic life, and that of your children’s centered on your, indentured existence and the landowners entitled existence based on birth right. He got the land (and you as a serf) as his family was one of the Kings cronies not through merit. Would that be fair?
Then you read the Communist Manifesto in PDF (OK not in PDF as there were no e-ebooks back then), what would have thought? Would you have had a different idea if you read it in 19th century London, England as a factory worker? Or a free farmer in France or Germany?
How was Lenin (who the Germans were so afraid of put in a seal box car to Russia) different from Marx? These are great historical questions but you can not answer them fully until you read the book to start. So download my version of the Communist Manifesto in PDF above.
What I would have done after reading the Communist Manifesto
The enlightenment, anti-Marxism and the ideas of Adam Smith are so ingrained in my mentality it is hard for me to imagine anything other than me trying to escape to America where things were more enlighten and petty Czars, Kings and even the Pope did not have such a top down influence on people’s lives. But this is me I am an escapist expat anyway.
I do not think I would have swallowed his ideas fully. I do not believe in replacing one top down approach with another. I know Communism was supposed to be a bottoms up organic movement, but to get to that ideal state, if you read Marx (and Engels) in 1848, there would have to have been a revolution and some Utopian State classless society with the elimination of private property, I do not think I would have believed it or promoted revolution which could have resulted in bloodshed. Further it is based on anger and resentment, not a good thing to base a new theology on. Us Vs. them.
I think I would have tried to escape to the USA. What would you have done?
Why I am not a Marxist and no Marxist is right
At the heart of the criticism of Marx and the Communist Manifesto was Marx’s theory of value. To date no Marxist has been able to refute this criticism. That is, value is not determined not by the amount of labor put into a product, but subjectively by supply and demand. I did not make this up, that is a law of economics, so do not blame me. It is just the way it is. Value and price is subjective not determined by an objective measure like labor or worker input. Marx’s error was so glaring about workers and the proletariat and bourgeoisie, it is hard to believe in retrospect that anyone believed that “proletariat vs bourgeoisie in the Communist Manifesto”.
What amazes me is people in the USA and Europe people allow themselves today to still be manipulated by this play on emotions of class struggle. “the poor’ Vs. the rich”. In a free society where people have access to education and intellectual capital like a skill, training or an idea pay more than physical labor or old fashion forms of capital, why they still play into the hands of class warfare politics. Where people are free to move around the country and sometimes world as can capital, especially their intellectual capital, I do not understand all this ‘yeah its ‘them’ that makes society all wrong’ attitude on the left. Someone please explain it to me?
- The best form of socialism is capitalism.
Do not be so naive when you here politicians beating the drums for a more just society and spreading the wealth and making ‘them’ pay for ‘us. The US and free market economies have the largest and wealthiest middles classes in the world. Socialist countries both Communist style and Western European style have a poor and more restricted middle class. Even in the one Utopia that seems to work, and everyone points to, that is Sweden, I would still way rather be an American or British than Swedish. I live in the EU the average Swedish guy lives a very modest life, not like in fun, free America. Who can deny America is not fun? But let’s be honest, most of Socialism or Communism was and is more like North Korea, oppression of the human spirit, which is the greatest poverty of all.