Karl Marx and His Economic Philosophy
The search for alternative forms of social and economic organization of society were accompanied and inspired by the socio-political upheavals which were connected to the emergence of capitalism in the first half of the 19th century. One of these alternatives is presented in the philosophical and economic theory of Karl Marx. The economic philosophy of Marx concerns the human body, which is a totally consuming mechanism. Marx believed it to be an idealistic pathos of all the previous philosophy. Marx roots the bodily argument, which is central to Hegel’s logical identity, in the mechanism of economic balance, in which he puts all the diverse dynamics of social reality. Transforming the structure of Hegel, Marx shifts the focus with the speculative ideas in a visible and real way. Therefore, the paper concerns the essential points of the economic philosophy of Marx and describes his background.
Who is Karl Marx?
The profound contribution of Marx was mainly in the development of social and economic sciences. There are almost no topics on theoretical sociology and economy, which would were not mentioned by Marx from any side, positive or critical. Being a founder of a new vision on economic theory, Marx built a complicated system which contained various terms such as welfare and distributional consequences, explanatory and evaluative studies, welfare evaluation, interests and material interests, political institutions, market liberalism, etc. All of them are united under the same name Marxism.
Every authoritative textbook on economy or sociology has a special section devoted to Marxist social theory, rightly called the classic of the sociology of Karl Marx. The world of economic thought evaluates the creative legacy of Marx, especially in the context of socio-cultural and scientific values of the time when he lived. However, many of his ideas are not as demanded today in many sociological and economic paradigms. Some sociologists and economists consider themselves Marx’s followers. This new theory is called “Neo-Marxist.”
Even during the lifetime of Marx, there were different versions of the Marxist theory that formed the set of ‘Marxism.’ They, however, were sometimes very far from what was justified by their creator. The economic philosophy of Marx covers various sides of human activity and expertise. He successfully analyzed and deepened the concepts of terms of trade, patience, reciprocity, and collective action problem. Hence, analyzing the essential points of the economic philosophy of Karl Marx is extremely important to answer the question of whether this philosophy has been widespread and/or controversial, and how it impacted the current situation in the world.
Karl Marx’s Economic Philosophy
According to Marx, the course of the market value of labor as a subject captures continuous fluctuations, but there is occasionally a balance of competitive offers and effective demand. Moreover, the author represents the volatility as instability, which occurs due to the fact that work costs those who produce it. The other aspect is the person who buys products; labor is cheap in the perception of the buyer or the consumer when it comes to marketing, but not in the perception of a producer or a worker. Marx came to the conclusion that, despite the ‘objective’ symbolism of the market rate, the evaluation is always fundamentally subjective. All the pathological effects of market demand are rooted in the capital, which is the negative value of the function that implements and evaluates the economic valuation, because, as Marx concludes, the demand is always directly dependent on the whims of the rich and the capitalists. Being always coveted but never null, the balance of supply and demand is closed on one of the poles of the balance, which is the demand. According to Marx, the isolation of demand is always expressed in dual redundancy, exaggeration of ideal, and conceptual demand with respect to its real object in the form of labor and things.
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The dual redundancy manifest of the demand is committed by either the consumers’ demand in the form of money and low estimate or the productive supply in the form of the mass of commodities and overestimation. Opposition between the underestimation and overestimation serves as the essential cause of formation of any excess of cash or the excess weight of the commodity, generating two major pathology markets, which are inflation and unemployment. The excess of consumers’ demand and excess of the money supply happens due to low purchase prices. Such a fact leads to inflation, while the overstatement of the sales price and, as a consequence, the domination of the productive demand of consumers leads to a crisis of overproduction and, as a result, to layoffs and unemployment. Marx had a conviction that in both cases the working class, i.e. the proletariat, suffers. It means that the worker who loses or is subjected to wage inflation suffers, or they may find themselves at the street, obtaining the status of an unemployed person. Marx shows that inflation and unemployment, as a consequence of the fundamental shifted value for money, really depend on the market’s self-regulation.
Marx was indignant due to the fact that work became a commodity and by the injustice of job evaluation. An analysis of why and how the work turned out to be under the yoke of the rating function of capital throughout history of the mankind laid the general line of Marxism and Marx’s economic theory and philosophy. The springs represented in the process of historical formation of social arrangement perform the constant labor confrontation of the existential core of human existence. The capital provokes the disputes of human beings and their economic character. The yoke of capital is especially amplified in modern times in the market economy, where the defined capital demand and supply of labor produced tends to equilibrate all the time. In fact, balance is an unattainable ideal. Political Economy of Marx discusses the deeply hidden fact of imbalance of subjective speculative sphere of the capitalized values and objective scope of goods produced by labor. Hence, it is possible to state that the emergence of such organizations as NAFTA, WTO, and GAT is based on the principles which differ from the Marxist ones; however, these examples prove the fact that Marxist economic approaches are to be applied to simplify and improve the process of these organizations’ functioning.
According to Marx, the imbalance is caused by the principle of monetary and symbolic mediation work, which continuously provokes bloody strifes between the vertical and horizontal of the subjective demand of objective of production, unmercifully depending on which resides the cost of labor. Additionally, it is possible to state that when Marx described the issue of imbalance, he did not mention the concepts of the generalized system of preferences, the hegemonic stability theory, intergovernmental bargaining, ministerial conference, and nondiscrimination, because these terms did not exist at the time; however, now it is evident that the concepts of Marxism can serve as a tool of argument when addressing these terms of economic theory. Hence, it is possible to apply the idea that the capitalized designation is known to be the removal of the things in favor of their value, i.e., the concept that the systematic removal of a thing is harder than the value. Marx believes in this connection and states that logic is money, which is the spirit and the speculative notional value of man and nature. They become totally indifferent to any real certainty and the invalid entity, which is alienated and abstracted from nature and from the actual thinking man.. In short, the concept is a logical sense of value. Capitalization in the economic function of symbolization, in addition to having a thing taken off, labor and labor time create the possibility of saving and accumulation. In fact, that constitutes a new horizon of economic reality, which is now integrated into people, their labor, and industrial relations.
Production and reproduction of material life, according to Marx, is the actual physical and physiological human life both in terms of fertility and in terms of food, accommodation, provision of favorable conditions, and so on. In any society, it is a basic, if the society is not regarded as a society of people who are eager or ready to commit suicide. In fact, this production is only one side of the full-fledged human life process. There is another relevant party, which is the spiritual production and reproduction. Basically, spirituality is a more important aspect of human life itself, but the material basis is necessary in the rough and simple sense. In order to be able to think or enjoy the arts, we must first simply physically exist.
The true humanity and spirituality should not be ‘burdened’ by the ‘material aspect’. It is utter nonsense, according to Marx. First of all, if this reference is made to the fact that a real spiritual person lives without worrying about food, it is necessary to always frankly and openly say that all these individuals reproduced their material being by means of other people. Still, others produce it for their material basis of money being. Therefore, Marx’s formula that the production and reproduction of material existence is the basis of human society proves that physical existence is a necessary condition of spiritual existence. However, meanwhile, Marx does not say that the material existence is the most important and the only valuable element of human life in general, because of its basic position.
On the contrary, Marx has always opposed such statements, because the most precious thing in one’s life, from his point of view, is a free time. For example, a bloomed flower (which is a sign of the spiritual culture) needs soil and manure (which is the material culture). The symbolic capital of scientific knowledge in the modern era is complemented by real capital.
As Marx claims, the knowledge of science was formed as a division of the totality of the world and gained a mathematical denominator, because the capitalist economy of modern times is based on the transformation of the world in the numerator of the universal economic denominator. Consistency and abstract mathematical zero got economy practical expression in the New Age. Just as the subject of a picture of the world centers on its zero position of freedom, becoming a point of reference for mathematical calculations and capitalization of the world, an imaginary absolute zero brings in the former cycle, which is closed on the other vectors of the supply and demand gap of productive quality of freedom.
Why Marx’s Economic Philosophy was Widespread as Well as Controversial
Due to the fact that Karl Marx impacted the development of communism and socialism in the post-Soviet space, the reason why his ideas spread was determined by the territories wherein the studies by Marx obtained the biggest popularity. The communist transformation to socialism led to more acknowledgement of the ideas of Marx. Hence, it is possible to state that the spread of his economic philosophy continued in the vast territories of the communist space. Moreover, the studies by Marx determined the rational usage of capital, workforce, and other important economic compounds, which were different from the democracy-based ones which were welcomed in the West. Hence, another reason why the economic philosophy spread was formed by the uniqueness of the ideas of Marx and by their difference from the bourgeois vision of economic development in the West. Additionally, the spread of the ideas by Karl Marx and his personal fame can be reflected in the number of publications devoted to the economic philosophy of Marx. The data on the number of publications in certain years is depicted at Graph 1.
Graph 1. Topic Search for ‘Marx or Marxist or Marxism.’
However, it is possible to note that some of the ideas of Marx can be seen as controversial due to the fact that some of the theoretical ideas he expressed are not followed with empirical conclusions. For instance, the basis of the value theory of Marx does not correspond with the ideas he singled out in the profit rates’ tendencies. In the value theory, these tendencies are supposed to increase according to the theory, while in practice they fall.
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The essence of the economic philosophy of Marx is focused on the fact that the presence of such a free opportunity of economic profit is key in industrial growth, because the industry cannot develop to create wealth without freedom. Correlated with the needs and possibilities of the subject, the labor supply and demand are basic factors in the formation of the order of production capacity and the order of consumer assessment. These two factors form the horizontal balancing subjective initiated demand as the money supply and objectively ranked offers as a mass of commodities. Since these lines in the balance sheet are two different masses, they are defined as the axis of total amount. Horizontal quantitative balance is generally correlated with the vertical pole of balance of the quality and price, competing based on the struggle for the producer, and quantitative pole product, which is competing for consumer preference. If the price of its importance tends to satisfy the manufacturer, the product for its quality is focused on customer satisfaction. The pole unit price determines consumer community centers, which compete with each other for the right to appoint the best price. Such a competitive price oscillates between the poles of minimizing consumer costs and maximizing revenue producers. Having discussed the essence of Marx’s economic philosophy, it is possible to single out that the approaches he elaborated are very up-to-date and should be at least partially applied to the contemporary conditions of economy.