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More young Japanese look to Marx as pandemic, climate crisis magnify economic inequalities

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If you agree with Marx you will have to give up your private property and your religion. Your products will be made by state owned companies. Your products will not be that good because there is not much incentive to creat better and better things. There will most likely be mass executions like in all communist coutries. Its the same old disaster every time with Marxism. Good luck with your new interest in Karl Marx.

-9 ( +32 / -41 )

When I am dead the flood may come for aught I care," in cynically describing the arrogance and selfishness of the capitalist who sees before him only immediate profits while caring nothing for the future after he is gone.

could have been taken from the party manifesto of most if not all ruling parties. A bit of Marx a bit of capitalism in the mix could work if people reached a higher enough level of care and education. Not left not Right I call it mingle. But that’s not going to happen any time soon.

7 ( +17 / -10 )

The interest in Marxism also depicts “increased book sales for the publishers amongst ‘free’ advertising for the author, a specially devoted book corner of a specific bookseller. Wouldn’t the successful author and altruistic publishers want to make copies available for ‘free’?

1 ( +16 / -15 )

"Many people noticed the contradictions of capitalism when they saw only socially vulnerable people struggling during the coronavirus pandemic," Saito told Kyodo News in a recent interview.

Many others had this awakening circa the 2008 financial crisis and bailout of the banks' moral hazard.

Japan does not have the same stigma concerning labeling things like low cost medical care "socialism".

Again, I recommend reading Einstein's "Why Socialism" for a balanced, scientific, humanitarian perspective.

10 ( +19 / -9 )

If you agree with Marx you will have to give up your private property and your religion. Your products will be made by state owned companies. Your products will not be that good because there is not much incentive to creat better and better things. There will most likely be mass executions like in all communist coutries. Its the same old disaster every time with Marxism. Good luck with your new interest in Karl Marx.

The old slippery slope argument that a strong guaranteed safety net, fair taxation, free medical care and schooling like in many European nations leads inevitably to Venezuela and Cambodia and Stalinist gulags.

7 ( +19 / -12 )

More government is NOT the answer.

20 ( +33 / -13 )

Almost always, when I open an article like this, I see something to the effect of, "in his new book," or "in her new documentary on HBO," etc, etc.

After I finished reading this article, If you take Saito's word at face value, over who is reading, then it is reassuring that young minds are exploring International Relations theory, critiques of economic theories, world history, and philosophy during these troubling times. If we ask young people to be intellectually balanced, critical and analytical, then they take us up on the offer, than we will all benefit.

17 ( +22 / -5 )

 If you take Saito's word at face value, over who is reading, then it is reassuring that young minds are exploring International Relations theory, critiques of economic theories, world history, and philosophy during these troubling times. If we ask young people to be intellectually balanced, critical and analytical, then they take us up on the offer, than we will all benefit.

agree! well said!

7 ( +14 / -7 )

In modern times, influential thinkers such as the late anthropologist David Graeber and economist Thomas Piketty point to the growing chasm in which wealth is concentrated in the hands of the top 1 percent as if it is a sign of an impending "flood."

Graeber's "The Utopia of Rules" is very relevant to the current state of Japan.

And instead of trying to deconstruct the legacy of Marx, opponents of even democratic socialist measures should dig into Piketty's works.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

The percipient Karl Marx, as a sharp critic of ruling classes and capitalism with its inherent contradictions, will always be a source of inspiration and capable of "reinvention" for every age to glean ideas from. By relegating his observations to the 19th century's dustbin of history and dismissing the relevance of his thought for today's societies, many people will be making the mistake of underestimating the power of his moral arguments for a more just and rational organization of our political economy. Depoliticized for decades by the LDP and programmed to worship at the altar of Mammon, the young people of Japan may at last be awakening to the realization that they have been turned into intellectual anorexics malnourished by a diet of mindless consumerism. The renewed interest in Marx's ideas may be a hopeful sign that they are developing an appetite for change in their lives and aspiring to a better future than what the old, clapped-out model of post-war Japanese corporation culture can offer. Ganbatte!

16 ( +23 / -7 )

Good.

7 ( +15 / -8 )

You gotta be kidding...is this 2021? The age of information? And here we go again...someone will have to explain over and over why the earth is not flat and communism doesnt work. (face palm)

'Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.' - Einstein

-14 ( +12 / -26 )

What this article fails to inform readers, is that Japan has one of the largest scholarships and writing on Marx of any country. Read more about this from the link below.

As Saito shows us with his excellent scholarship, Marx was well ahead of his times, not only on the contradictions of capital related to inequality, but also the irresolvable contradiction of never-ending growth on a finite planet. Marx, in looking at industrial agriculture practices and soil metabolism, understood that we cannot keep taking out nutrition and not replace it. He saw that we are bound, inevitably, by ecological limitation, and must live sustainably.

https://www.historicalmaterialism.org/reading-guides/marxist-theory-japan-critical-overview

10 ( +19 / -9 )

Everybody should study (or at least get informed) about Marx. He was one of the greatest thinkers out there, and it's a pity communists everywhere bastardised his ideas for their own greed and profit

9 ( +18 / -9 )

The world's 2 fastest growing economies are run by communists, which doesnt escape the attention of informed people. And one of those communist-run states is destined to become the world's dominant economic power.

We will ALL have have to study Marxism in the future, whether we like it or not.

-16 ( +5 / -21 )

hey guess what there is no capitalism/communism or any ism.

There is just reality (you hunt, you eat) and the ideology of envy and division. How stealing someone's labor is any good?

And they keep lying, saying someone is rich because someone else is poor. Its all about creativity and hard work, wishing everyone else was poor because you dont have the courage and merit to challenge your world is evil.

And again, the more you are foreign to true communim more its appealing to you. Watching Maximo Alvarez's speech, Yeonmi Park's interviews don't change anything in the minds of the gullible masses craving for a change in their daily lives without the courage to make it happen.

-9 ( +4 / -13 )

The logic of Marxism is undeniable. Japan is economically highly advanced. Thus, according to Marx's basic economic analysis, Japan would be one of the first if not the first country to hit the wall insofar as economic growth is concerned. And what has happened?

1 ( +14 / -13 )

More government is NOT the answer.

One of the principle aims of communism is to do away with governments all together.

-1 ( +10 / -11 )

Capitalism/democracy has it's glaring faults but Marxism is not the answer. Just look at the former USSR to see how that turned out.

0 ( +15 / -15 )

One of the principle aims of communism is to do away with governments all together

Great theory. But that is what it is, a THEORY. Can you point to a single instance in history where that has actually happened?

4 ( +9 / -5 )

How stealing someone's labor is any good?

This irony is just too rich given the history of robber barons, colonialism and capitalism.

4 ( +11 / -7 )

Capitalism/democracy has it's glaring faults but Marxism is not the answer. 

The thing is, what we have today in the world is not even capitalism. I whole heartedly agree the system is broken so I can understand why people are again searching for another way. But for sure, marxism is not the answer. The people who the idea appeals to will do little to scratch the surface and see that it is inherently flawed.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Capitalism is a tool and should not be an ideology.

2 ( +7 / -5 )

Great theory. But that is what it is, a THEORY. Can you point to a single instance in history where that has actually happened?

Approx 98% of Marx's analysis was of capitalist economy and capitalist society. It demonstrated the inherent contradictions of capitalist economy, capitalist society and competing capitalist nation states couldn't but lead to economic stagnation, ever increasing inequality, the finalization of the economy basically turning major economies into casinos for the rich at the expense of the masses, ever less (real) democratic freedoms rather than what we have now which Marx called bourgeois democracy or democracy for the rich, ever more tension between capitalist nation states and etc. Except for environmental degradation, Marx demonstrated all the ills afflicting modern society were inevitable ......... but what was his phrase in verbatim? 'History never throws up such problems without creating a solution?' That's not it but something similar.

The 2% was merely to demonstrate all the inherent contradictions of capitalist economy and capitalist society are laying the foundation for new kind of society. A communist society. How to get from the train-wreck that is capitalist to communism is what hasn't been done successfully...... yet. But the good news is that according to Marx's basic philosophical analysis, capitalism cannot but give rise to socialist agitation, socialist uprisings and socialist victory if civilization itself is to survive.

1 ( +10 / -9 )

Marxism does lead to equality among the working class.....everyone is equally poor.

-2 ( +14 / -16 )

Another interesting and very significant teaching of Karl Marx is that he calls for the violent overthrow of governments.

-5 ( +6 / -11 )

Another interesting and very significant teaching of Karl Marx is that he calls for the violent overthrow of governments.

Nonsense. He basically said it seems inevitable the ruling classes won't allow any vote on their rule so the masses would have to take matters into its own hands.

9 ( +17 / -8 )

Regardless of what conclusions they come to, bravo to Japanese people for actually reading Marx and not having some celebrity columnist or talk radio host tell them what it is, almost always with no actual quotes, context, or historical perspective. That's what happens in the vast majority of the English speaking world. The irony being of course that the Communist Manifesto is only a few dozen pages and can be read in less time than one talk radio show.

I think you would have to be deaf, dumb, and blind to not see alienation all over modern society.

12 ( +16 / -4 )

Japan does not have the same stigma concerning labeling things like low cost medical care "socialism".

Japan has high cost medical care, it ought be pointed out. That the cost is hidden doesn’t mean that it is low cost.

Japan spends around 10-11% of GDP on health care, whereas Singapore spends around 4%, and 8% in the UK.

Thanks in no small part to this “low cost” system Japan approaches 300% debt to GDP in coming years, unless the music stops playing first, or much needed reforms are enacted.

-8 ( +1 / -9 )

They should look at Marx not as a solution to our problems but rather as the cause...

-6 ( +9 / -15 )

what we have today in the world is not even capitalism

This. In a free enterprise variety of capitalism it would be possible to read the news at Japan Today without most articles in some way relating to government interference in the economy. As it happens government is the source of many problems, rather than the solution to them.

-2 ( +5 / -7 )

the earth is not flat the earth is not flat the earth is not flat communism doesnt work the earth is not flat

-5 ( +6 / -11 )

I agree that reading Marx is a good thing. The man was a genial thinker. I am more surprised, but happily so, that Japanese students can leave their manga and games aside long enough to read Marx. And understand it. Or is there a manga version ?

i am not calling for violent overthrows of government but what would you say is the alternative for people in Myanmar now for example ? When government, administration, the judicial class system and the international “ community” abandons you, what alternative is left ? Dying a slave of the system ? In my country, Belgium, getting justice through the courts is Impossible as it is the lawyer with the best network and connection with the judges that win the cases.

0 ( +5 / -5 )

""One single mother wrote about moving from the city to the countryside, where she now relishes her new life as a farmer. "I wanted to put into practice a transition away from the values of mass consumption," she said.""

Yes, and she is NOT ALONE, thousands if not millions of young well educated people are joining the movement away from this very stressful digital & materialistic I life style and making a major change in their lives towards SIMPLICITY and TOXIC free life style.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

The government of Japan already has more socialist policies than many people acknowledge... Just look at how they pay guys to pour concrete over and over just so they have a job. The massive government debt is from government spending.

Rather than giving Marxism as an easy answer to people's problems (are they really going to start a revolution in Japan?), it'd be better to teach how to be more mercantile and make use of opportunities available. Most Japanese are just taught to be wage slaves rather than do anything themselves but the country's economy could do with some invigorating from the bottom up - we desperately need programmers to keep up with other places, for example.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Young people can change the future but,... Publishers acknowledge it’s all rather, bland reading:

- “Letters poured in from the 20s & 30s to NHK Publishing Inc, which had released Saito's simplified version of Marx's difficult-to-read work” -

What these books need are celebrity ‘influencers’ and endorsements ie. “Kanye’s calling Saito’s worka ‘must’ read! Kim says “Reading it makes my head hurt. Kylie tweeted “Please support the GoFundMe...”. Of course, an ‘inspired by’ series of fashions, makeup and skin-care products will accompany the book tour. Finally, ‘mainstream’ thought will be altered when it gets the “seal of approval” from “Oprah’s Book Club”.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

No need for extremes @CaptD 10:14a.

Saito is an advocate of the "3.5% rule", small minorities can bring about social, economic & political change through nonviolent protests.

The author assures us corporations & governments routinely acquiesce:

"If 3.5 percent of the population rises up nonviolently, society will change. I want to encourage action," Saito said.” -

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Marxism does lead to equality among the working class.....everyone is equally poor.

This is no argument, but a cartoon misrepresentation of reality: every country has its own unique culture and history and nations do not arise from a level playing field so comparisons between the standards of living of Americans, Russians, Chinese, Brazilians and Cubans etc. are invidious and, by serving no purpose, only perpetuate misunderstanding and contribute nothing to an honest debate on how mankind can dig its way out of the hole it has made for itself with its shockingly violent and bloody history of wars, genocidal exterminations, enslavement, exploitation of labor and, last but not least, two centuries of wanton destruction of the natural environment and our earth's biodiversity. To save the planet and mankind from itself we must search for new solutions and get our act together before it is too late, or else face an even bleaker future, a glimpse of which we have been given by an overpopulated country ravaged by the Covid-19 virus and riven by religious hatred and class inequalities that have reached intolerable levels. India is hardly a poster-boy example for the superiority of capitalism.

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

In political science and philosophy, Marxism is still one of valid subjects if not mainstream one. Notice the original Marxism is not associated with Leninism, Maoism or other variants.

The boom has been ignited by a 34-year-old associate professor at Osaka City University who reimagined the theory expounded in the 19th-century German thinker's seminal "Das Kapital" from the perspective of environmental conservation in a bestselling book published last September.

It reminds me of Thomas Piketty back a few years ago. Ironically, their "pre-arranged" booms and active book promotions are going quite capitalistic in nature :)

1 ( +5 / -4 )

It's simple: if capitalism does not provide enough for the most people, then people will start to look elsewhere. Not that I'm condoning Communism- far from it.

But the best way to avoid this kind if discussion is to have a broad-based prosperity where people feel they can buy into the system and be rewarded for their work- instead of the increasingly rigged, hyper-unequal economies that we see today.

Otherwise, you can expect this kind of talk from younger generations who see nothing to gain from participating in the current economic system.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Marx, in looking at industrial agriculture practices and soil metabolism, understood that we cannot keep taking out nutrition and not replace it. 

Marx did not invent crop rotations and fallow soil planning, he never even had a real job.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Rather than giving Marxism as an easy answer to people's problems (are they really going to start a revolution in Japan?), it'd be better to teach how to be more mercantile and make use of opportunities available. Most Japanese are just taught to be wage slaves rather than do anything themselves but the country's economy could do with some invigorating from the bottom up - we desperately need programmers to keep up with other places, for example.

Japan desperately needs more entrepreneurial spirit and cultural rewarding of said spirit. Like much of Western Europe, it's not a good place for inventors and innovators because the work culture is far too stifling for that (in Europe's case, there just seems to be a general seeking of comfort and not working too hard whenever possible, even discouraging others from working hard).

1 ( +4 / -3 )

The Bolsheviks are back putting lipstick on their pig before they try their violent revolution again.

Marxist always used environment as their excuse for power.

The goal of no government is impossible.

Marx theory is so bunk but these guys keep digging it up again and dress it up with new words but it's always the same result.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

Stagnating wages for the working and middle classes, workers rights being stripped, temporary contracts, new wealth being funneled to the elites....

Yep, people are going to look towards something else.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

More young Japanese look to Marx as pandemic, climate crisis magnify economic inequalities

Saito is a power-hungry ass, looking to make a buck. Anyone who spews Marxist crap after a pandemic is looking for dollars. Learn from history, not this asshat.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

Japan has high cost medical care, it ought be pointed out. That the cost is hidden doesn’t mean that it is low cost.

Japan spends around 10-11% of GDP on health care, whereas Singapore spends around 4%, and 8% in the UK.

Actually:

A) The OECD average (basically the average of developed countries) is over 12%, so Japan's health care costs are actually lower, not higher, than average among comparable countries.

B) The UK spends 10%, not 8%, only slightly less than Japan, so its really only Singapore that spends significantly less. Singapore is a major financial hub with a very small population, so its not necessarily a fair comparison with a country like Japan.

C) At any rate, both the UK and Singapore have socialized health care systems like Japan's.

D) The United States is the only major developed country without a socialized system of universal health care and it spends over 16% of GDP on health care, far higher than Japan or the OECD average. If you measure its expenditures on a per-capita basis rather than as a percentage of GDP the difference is even greater.

Thanks in no small part to this “low cost” system Japan approaches 300% debt to GDP in coming years, unless the music stops playing first, or much needed reforms are enacted.

There are a lot of reasons why Japan's government is in debt, but the way it runs its health care system is not among them.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

Unpopular opinion in many circles I know, but I am a very far-left leaning socialist, borderline communist in many respects. Not so much the extremely authoritarian brand we see from a lot of countries that proclaim communism today (if you think North Korea is a summary of all communism ideology you need to do some reading), but still. Honestly I see this as a good thing for a few reasons.

Obviously seeing more leftist support in a country that has historically been extremely conservative is a good thing in my view. Conservatives probably disagree, but so be it.

The bigger point is just that it is encouraging to see Japanese youth politically engaged at all. In grad school I had plenty of classmates who never voted and were totally apathetic to the process. Of all the countries I have lived in, Japan seemed the most politically detached.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Actually, if ever a people were suited by national temperament to live in a Marxist system, it's the Japanese:

Mind-numbing acceptance of conformity and not wanting to "stand out"

Slavish devotion to inter-personal hierarchies

Everything decided by committees and sub-committees

Love of massive public works projects

Micro-management of workers

Micro-management of children

Acceptance of sub-standard housing as the norm, both in terms of materials and space

Desirability of price-fixing and rigging of contract bids to avoid "surprises"

Love of manipulating statistics to please superiors

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

The ignorance of history exposed by this article is truly astounding. Marxism put into practice requires oppression. It requires the removal of basic individual and civil rights. It never works no matter where it has been tried. People do not respond to Marxism no matter how hard the true believers propagandize. It goes against basic human nature and therefore can never succeed. Advocates for this thoroughly debunked idea repeatedly say it can work as-long-as it is implemented correctly. Yet no matter what continent or culture it is tried it fails - always.

-1 ( +8 / -9 )

" Wouldn’t the successful author and altruistic publishers want to make copies available for ‘free’?"

I've done just that via ebooks. Look for ebooks by Marx and Engels and others on the Web.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The ignorance of history exposed by this article is truly astounding. Marxism put into practice requires oppression. It requires the removal of basic individual and civil rights. It never works no matter where it has been tried. People do not respond to Marxism no matter how hard the true believers propagandize. It goes against basic human nature and therefore can never succeed. Advocates for this thoroughly debunked idea repeatedly say it can work as-long-as it is implemented correctly. Yet no matter what continent or culture it is tried it fails - always.

There is a lot of debate about whether China is actually ‘communist’. I say no.

China is now the worlds second largest economy. It went from a generally poor agrarian country in the 1940s to an economic and military superpower. We could also mention Vietnam’s growth.

Are you prepared to say China is ‘communist’? If not, how do you explain the rise given that communism always fails?

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

*If not - if yes

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Capitalism is the devil.

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

"Great theory. But that is what it is, a THEORY. Can you point to a single instance in history where that has actually happened?"

Let's start with Bologna, Italy, run almost continuously by the Italian Communist Party. It is richest city in Italy and most probably the best run municipality in Europe.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

A) The OECD average (basically the average of developed countries) is over 12%, so Japan's health care costs are actually lower, not higher, than average among comparable countries.

I wonder where you get your info from. Out of the horses mouth:

https://www.oecd.org/els/health-systems/health-data.htm

“In 2019, before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, average health spending as a share of GDP across the OECD was around 8.8%. This figure has remained largely stable since 2009 as growth in health spending remained in line with overall economic growth since the last economic crisis.”

B) The UK spends 10%, not 8%,

you ought fact check that one too if minutia matter to you, but comparing the UK and Japan is comparing the same thing pretty much.

Indeed Singapore shows what can be done with 4% of GDP, making Japan (and the UK and the US) all high.

That Singapore is a financial hub is no matter given that the comparison is as a share of GDP not absolute terms.

C) At any rate, both the UK and Singapore have socialized health care systems like Japan's.

Singapore’s system has some very distinguishing features that evidently help to keep a lid on costs without hurting health outcomes relative to other places.

You’d think such standout performance warrants asking the question of what those differences are.

D) The United States is the only major

Who cares about the US. It doesn’t absolve Japan’s system of the fact that it is too costly.

There are a lot of reasons why Japan's government is in debt, but the way it runs its health care system is not among them.

Looking at annual expenditures says otherwise. It’s a huge contributor.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

There are a couple of questions that the neoliberal posters here need to sufficiently answer to have any credibility.

1) Why in neoliberal capitalist nations is some form of democracy upheld as a virtue in the realm civic life, but not in our workplaces?

2) Why should we think that structuring the political economy so that a small percentage of people pursuing an over-accumulation of capital privately will lead to the greater good for the society, especially when the overwhelming evidence of wealth inequality and environmental damage shows than the cost of that over-accumulation is a burden by the few on the many?

4 ( +7 / -3 )

Japan was very socialist after the war because only the government had money to restart the economy. When I was a kid growing up in the 80s and 90s, we rode the JNR (Japan National Railways国鉄) to school, we went to JTB (Japan Travel Bureau) to plan a trip, and Japan Salt and Tobacco sold salt and tobacco. These, plus all the utility companies, were government owned and run. Then in there was this PM Koizumi who privatized all these. I don't know if we are in a better position or not.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

That’s admirable @jeancolmar 12:18p if You can do that and still ‘make a living’ to ‘create a sustainable, comfortable for your family’.

...make copies available for ‘free’? - “I've done just that via ebooks. Look for ebooks on the web.” -

However, we are talking about Kohei Saito’s publishers here. While his intentions are good, ‘They’ sell his book in the US$40.00 range. Even his E-book, as you suggested, retails around US $32.00.

Kodansha and others have been in the news lately declaring they will diligently seek out and criminally prosecute any unauthorized use and/or distribution of their licensed materials. Plus, have you received the annual visit from NHK requesting your ‘donation’ for their ‘public services’?

So, it remains highly doubtful Saito’s publisher’s here are willing to make this available as a “public service’ for ‘free’.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

"Many people noticed the contradictions of capitalism when they saw only socially vulnerable people struggling during the coronavirus pandemic," Saito told Kyodo News in a recent interview.

And how is that different from what you see in any socialist or communist society?

One definition of insanity is repeating the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

I wonder where you get your info from. Out of the horses mouth:

https://www.oecd.org/els/health-systems/health-data.htm

“In 2019, before the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, average health spending as a share of GDP across the OECD was around 8.8%. This figure has remained largely stable since 2009 as growth in health spending remained in line with overall economic growth since the last economic crisis.”

Fair enough. I was using the World Bank data (https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SH.XPD.CHEX.GD.ZS?locations=OE ) which indicates an OECD average of over 12%. Obviously there must be some difference in methodology between the two. I don't know which of the two presents a more accurate picture of the reality.

B) The UK spends 10%, not 8%,

you ought fact check that one too if minutia matter to you, but comparing the UK and Japan is comparing the same thing pretty much.

Just fact checked and yup, even the OECD data say the UK spends 10%. (https://stats.oecd.org/Index.aspx?DatasetCode=HEALTH_STAT). So yeah, they are comparing the same thing and they are both about the same.

That Singapore is a financial hub is no matter given that the comparison is as a share of GDP not absolute terms.

I mention the fact that it is a financial hub because that has the effect of inflating its GDP per capita (ie a lot of the economic activity incorporated into its GDP comes from international transactions rather than the local economy). If you measure Singapore's health care expenditures in absolute value per capita the difference with Japan and the UK is not as big (though it is still quite a bit less).

Singapore’s system has some very distinguishing features that evidently help to keep a lid on costs without hurting health outcomes relative to other places.

You’d think such standout performance warrants asking the question of what those differences are.

It certainly does, I wouldn't argue otherwise.

Who cares about the US. It doesn’t absolve Japan’s system of the fact that it is too costly.

Well, who cares about Singapore or the UK for that matter? You were the one who brought international comparisons into this, not me. And if you are going to base your argument on international comparison, then Japan's are still pretty much in line with most comparable (ie wealthy) countries.

Also to put those comparisons into context you have to factor in the fact that Japan has by far the oldest population among those countries, which is inevitably going to entail higher health care expenditures regardless of the system because the elderly have much greater health care needs.

Looking at the historical data, Japan's health care costs have increased pretty much in lockstep with the aging of its society which suggests THAT is the main variable behind its rising costs, not anything to do with the system itself.

Looking at annual expenditures says otherwise. It’s a huge contributor.

You could say that about almost any country though (granted, Singapore, Turkey and a few other outliers excluded).

1 ( +3 / -2 )

It’s a good thing. There is nothing wrong with reading Marx, Hitler or the Bible. Wrong is to follow something blindly without knowing the alternatives and consequences.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Here is my advice on this. I’ve lived behind the red curtain for two decades, and therefore I tell you something. Don’t ever try it out again and abolish the remaining rudiments, but consider to copy a very few aspects over into our era, like not privatizing some important parts of society and economy for example. Now the other , the current side, of course some of those old Marx’ theories prove here and there sometimes, that means practically, only capitalism can substantially enforce and encourage the people for future inventions and manage the availability of necessary ideas, money and resources. But it is clear, and here we close the cycle to Marx again, that the capitalism converges not only to progress and good things, but also into massive inequalities and severely bad situations and structures, therefore it must be constantly reformed, tamed like a wild beast, be kept in check, so that the disadvantages don’t gain majority. There isn’t a workable alternative, and you really better completely avoid communist or socialist experiments once and for all, although you might think you have missed something. You haven’t.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

This book is a good thing for the Japanese people to rediscover Marxist theories. My Japanese relatives when they were schooled in the 30s, 40s and 50s learned about Marx, Engels, and Webber.

I was surprised when I was growing up to suddenly hear my mom say that Engels stated that we shouldn't have to pay more than 1/3 of our income on rent. She told me she learned this in JHS.

"Communist" regimes of the 20th century were unfortunately transmogrified into dictatorships and/or single party monster regimes.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

I'd like to see Japan go back to a more socialistic approach where they seemed to have a good balance between capitalism and socialism.

Now it's starting to lean more towards US style cut-throat capitalism and the people are suffering.

1 ( +6 / -5 )

This is excellent news. Japan had a thriving popular intellectual life up until the 1960s so hopefully this encouraging trend will continue.

Neo-liberal corporate capitalism has failed and is destroying the world, literally destroying the world. Marx and Engels created their political philosophy after witnessing the horrors of life in the Industrial Revolution era slums of England, particularly in Manchester. Sadly, the horrors that inspired their work, such as child labour, environmental destruction and the overworked poor, are still with us today.

Their work is even more relevant today than it was 180 years ago.

8 ( +13 / -5 )

They all need a good history lesson. whatever else might be debatable about Marxist theory, the closest places to where it has been put into practice (USSR, China) are by no means paradigms of environmental management.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

All this will achieve is a new genre of manga, marxga, it will be popular until a new hero comes along chopping demons to save his younger sister

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I think it's important to distinguish between Marx's analysis of the problems of capitalism and his and Engels' proposed solution. The article focuses on his analysis of the problems and I think it's a good idea for people to explore that. We seem to face many of the issues today that he described back then. But I'd be interested to hear ideas for what changes we should make going forward, and how to avoid the mistakes made in various communist regimes over the last 100 years or so.

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Wakarimasen, Marxism wasn't understood it applied anywhere in its spirit. The peasants forming the initial communist leadership (remember, they removed entire generations of intellectuals) weren't educated enough to read (nevermind understand, even less apply) Marx's ideas.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Why does studying something automatically make you a "communist"?

People who have read the Bible or Quran does not automatically make them a believer.

The world is not just capitalism/communism and studying all trains of thought allow people to make better decisions. People are studying different systems as capitalism is obviously causing a problem due to the need of endless growth and consumption.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

You could say that about almost any country though (granted, Singapore, Turkey and a few other outliers excluded).

That’s right!

Japan has debt approaching 300% of GDP, so it needs to look to reform its spending programs or its most vulnerable people are the ones who are going to suffer.

Singapore’s model offers real world experience with a system that manages to keep costs low.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

That’s right!

Japan has debt approaching 300% of GDP, so it needs to look to reform its spending programs or its most vulnerable people are the ones who are going to suffer.

Singapore’s model offers real world experience with a system that manages to keep costs low.

I'm not familiar with the details of Singapore's system, but my quick Google search says that Singapore keeps costs down by making people pay a lot up front to actually access health care services, thus actively discouraging them from seeking medical care in the first place.

That sounds like a great way to keep costs down but I'm not sold on a system that deliberately makes access to health care difficult and expensive being the best model for a country full of old people on small fixed incomes to copy.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Japan has debt approaching 300% of GDP, so it needs to look to reform its spending programs or its most vulnerable people are the ones who are going to suffer.

All those government owned businesses (trains, salt, tobacco, JTB, etc etc etc) that were "privatized" under Koizumi in the 90s are still 51% owned by the Japanese government. So if you substract government assets, then it is more like 100% debt, in line with other countries.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

dan,

Anything at a crony level is the devil.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

A university prof (big surprise) writes a book espousing the imagined benefits of Marxism. Easy to do from the Ivory Tower with tenure.

Now lets give the impression its flying off the bookshelves. (Notice the paltry figure of 1600 buried down near the bottom)

Now lets also ignore the fact that mostly young men and women are buying it. Of course they did. Its what young, naive dreamers do. Whats the old adage; "if you aren't a liberal when you're young, you have no soul. If you aren't a conservative when you're older, you have no brain". Even yours truly was one of those starry-eyed silly kids back in the day before I actually started experiencing life and education.

There is nothing sadder than an adult past the age of 30 still thinking that Marxism is anything but a cancerous ideology and an affront to the dignity of the human race.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

There is nothing sadder than an adult past the age of 30 still thinking that Marxism is anything but a cancerous ideology and an affront to the dignity of the human race.

Yes , instead of such individuals over 30 like Slavoj Zizek and Noam Chomsky who critique the nature of the capitalist system I will put my faith in people like Tucker Carlson who affirm the dignity of the human race....

And cancer is what the capitalist asbestos and tobacco lobbies and toxic waste dumpers actually gave people.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Hi dagon. Can you name a single country that flourished under Marxism?

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Thomas Sowell (as always) said it best;

"The whole political vision of the left, including socialism and communism, has failed by virtually every empiricle test, in countries all around the world. But this has only led leftist intellectuals to evade and denigrate empirical evidence."

2 ( +5 / -3 )

They all need a good history lesson. whatever else might be debatable about Marxist theory, the closest places to where it has been put into practice (USSR, China) are by no means paradigms of environmental management.

This is a good point. Another one is East Germany. One of the shocks West Germany got after unification was the degradation of the environment in the east. The rivers in particular were toxic.

Then again, didn’t or don’t all countries degrade the environment when they industrialized or industrialize?

I don’t think this is a peculiarly communist thing.

Have you ever visited Mumbai?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Okay dueling quotes bob. And when you are discussing "Marxism" , and examples of success , would you include Finland?

“Private capital tends to become concentrated in few hands, partly because of competition among the capitalists, and partly because technological development and the increasing division of labor encourage the formation of larger units of production at the expense of smaller ones. The result of these developments is an oligarchy of private capital the enormous power of which cannot be effectively checked even by a democratically organized political society. This is true since the members of legislative bodies are selected by political parties, largely financed or otherwise influenced by private capitalists who, for all practical purposes, separate the electorate from the legislature. The consequence is that the representatives of the people do not in fact sufficiently protect the interests of the underprivileged sections of the population. Moreover, under existing conditions, private capitalists inevitably control, directly or indirectly, the main sources of information (press, radio, education). It is thus extremely difficult, and indeed in most cases quite impossible, for the individual citizen to come to objective conclusions and to make intelligent use of his political rights.”

-Albert Einstein

4 ( +6 / -2 )

Okay dueling quotes bob. And when you are discussing "Marxism" , and examples of success , would you include Finland?

So predictable. Scandinavian countries are always brought up as an imagined example of socialism.

High taxes do not equal socialism.

Also, Scandinavian countries have very strong property rights as well as corporate tax rates lower than the United States. Hardly a socialist utopia. And certainly not Marxist.

Again. Can you, or anyone else show me a successful marxist or even socialist state?

You can't.

It has failed tragically everywhere its been implemented.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Also, Scandinavian countries have very strong property rights as well as corporate tax rates lower than the United States. Hardly a socialist utopia. And certainly not Marxist.

Again. Can you, or anyone else show me a successful marxist or even socialist state?

Show a successful capitalist state if you want to move the goalposts in this manner.

Public education=socialism

A conscripted/professional military=socialism

public works/infrastructure=communism

Social security/welfare/stimulus payments= Pure Marxism.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Show a successful capitalist state if you want to move the goalposts in this manner.

The entire western world. The most successful, wealthiest, egalitarian society in the history of the world with a quality of life where even the most destitute are the envy of anyone in a socialist hell hole. Its why the worlds immigrants flood into them and not the other way around.

Public education=socialism

A conscripted/professional military=socialism

public works/infrastructure=communism

Social security/welfare/stimulus payments= Pure Marxism.

Im crying.

But thanks for playing. You still can't name one successful example of a socialist country that didn't end in disaster.

And you won't.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

@dagon. Just curious. Without revealing any personal information, have you recently graduated from a university or college?

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

Conservatives: Marxism is when the government does stuff for people I don't like.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Karl Marx already made a lot of disasters with his "manifest", or should we forget all the people died under communist dictatures ?

ah, people still dying for communism, I forgot

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Conservatives: Marxism is when the government does stuff for people I don't like.

Yeah, conservatives don't like 100 million socialist deaths from the 20th century.

Still waiting on that list of socialist success stories....

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Yeah, conservatives don't like 100 million socialist deaths from the 20th century.

A round number there. If you would like to be educated about "capitalist" deaths start with things like phossy jaw among matchstick girls, KIng Leopold's companies in the Belgian Congo, and the Pinkerteon company's massacres of union activists.

There is enough there for you to google if you want to educate yourself beyond conservative talking points.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Still waiting on that list of socialist success stories....

I guess we may get bogged down on definitions of socialism. But, for example, in the UK in the period between 1920 and about 1955, millions of council houses were built and a national health service was created. My mum told me these things were hugely significant. And then we had all those other public services: road building, education, electrification, gas grid, ports authorities, whatever. Those were not delivered by capitalists.

But I'd still suggest reading Marx more for his analysis of capitalism and less for his ideas of communism. His understanding shared a lot of things with Adam Smith's.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Quote:

Deaths due to Marxism

In 2017, Professor Stephen Kotkin wrote in The Wall Street Journal that communism killed at least 65 million people between 1917 and 2017: "Though communism has killed huge numbers of people intentionally, even more of its victims have died from starvation as a result of its cruel projects of social engineering."

0 ( +3 / -3 )

There is a lot of debate about whether China is actually ‘communist’. I say no.

There are two primary facets to Communism: politics and economics. Politically, China is entirely communist with a politburo, only the communist party is legal, and all the other red trademarks. Economically Marxist socialism always fails and always leads to large scale misery ( for example Mao’s starvation induced land reforms). In the end survival of the regime is all that matters requiring economic reforms towards a less collectivist system.

The reason why Leftists always lament that true socialism has never been tried is because when it is imposed by textbook socialist dictators it always fails - often disastrously. But don’t be mistaken, the means of production are under the direct control of the state and all strategically important sectors are owned/controlled by the state. Therefore I say yes. China is a communist country. They play capitalism outside their borders but remain socialist inside their borders. The primary difference between the old style socialists and the modern variety is that effective state control can be had through centralized regulation rather than by direct ownership of the means of production.. The benefits are evident by making it easier for the government to manage a business by outsourcing while still giving the party the authority to harshly punish failure or failure to follow instructions.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Uttter foolishness& uttter nonsense those wanting it or advocating it.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Karl Marx already made a lot of disasters with his "manifest", or should we forget all the people died under communist dictatures ?

ah, people still dying for communism, I forgot

If you want to judge a socioeconomic system on the supposed body counts, capitalism is undoubtedly the 'winner'. The largest number that is. Capitalism had it's time. In the most advanced or industrialized countries, the continued existence of the train-wreck that is capitalism is like a black comedy now.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

A round number there. If you would like to be educated about "capitalist" deaths start with things like phossy jaw among matchstick girls, KIng Leopold's companies in the Belgian Congo, and the Pinkerteon company's massacres of union activists. 

There is enough there for you to google if you want to educate yourself beyond conservative talking points.

Ooo! Id forgotten all about King Leopold and the Belgian Congo.

Yes, that definitely trumps 100 million deaths.

Death to the west, Comrade!

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

This is a good article.

Japanese young people are not alone in their interest in Marx and socialism. This is happening all over the world, including in both the United States and China.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Ooo! Id forgotten all about King Leopold and the Belgian Congo.

Yes, that definitely trumps 100 million deaths.

Death to the west, Comrade!

As a total number, WW1 and WW2 (even if not counting Soviet deaths) and spreading smallpox on purpose in India and Pakistan. As a % of the population, perhaps only European Jews and Gypsies suffered worse than Africans in several French and especially British African colonies.

But that's not the way capitalism is designed to work. Mass causality events, like wage slavery are left to the market rather than politically enforced. Sometimes it gets out of the control of the market and capitalist governments send the army and/or militarized police against the masses, guns blazing. But in a perfect capitalist society, slavery is enforced by the market, not politicians, Kings, Generals or whoever. And the market is far more efficient in mass killings than guns.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Of course I forget about the aboriginal peoples of North American and Australia.

"The rounding of the cape, the colonization of America, the entrapment, enslavement and entombment in mines of the aboriginal population, the looting of the East Indies, the turning of Africa into a warren for the hunting of black skins, all this marked the rosy dawn of the era of capitalist development."

Friedrich Engles

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

This is a good article.

Japanese young people are not alone in their interest in Marx and socialism. This is happening all over the world, including in both the United States and China.

I don't understand philosophy well but I know Marx's basic analysis was the socialism is like an evil shadow for capitalism. As long as capitalism exists, socialism can't but keep coming back, stronger each time.

Then I read about 10s, possibly 100s of arrests at Beijing University of a Marxist student group who were apparently organizing an uprising. As China develops more and more and becomes more and more capitalistic, it's not the crazed capitalists from the West they are worried about, but the Marxists at home.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

dagonMay 6  07:28 am JST

"Many people noticed the contradictions of capitalism when they saw only socially vulnerable people struggling during the coronavirus pandemic," Saito told Kyodo News in a recent interview.

Many others had this awakening circa the 2008 financial crisis and bailout of the banks' moral hazard.

Japan does not have the same stigma concerning labeling things like low cost medical care "socialism".

Again, I recommend reading Einstein's "Why Socialism" for a balanced, scientific, humanitarian perspective.

Some in America have howled about Obamacare being 'socialistic' but it isn't. It's a step toward what laborers in America need badly. And it's not a partisan issue either, Gov. Schwarzeneggar of California proposed such a plan for his state. He said that in his native Austria (and other countries) they don't call affordable health care 'socialism', it's just something they do.

dagonMay 6  08:31 pm JST

Okay dueling quotes bob. And when you are discussing "Marxism" , and examples of success , would you include Finland?

Marx based his theory and manifesto on previous 'socialistic' economies from the ancient Hebrews to all Native American nations. He strongly advocated labor unions which would eventually lead to revolutions and the planet would be classless and 'the state would wither away'. When the Communists set up the USSR, it became 'Marxism-Leninism'. Marx's ideal and vision was hijacked by Lenin and in China it is 'Marxism-Leninism-Mao Tse-tung thought'. If Marx were to see a Communist government (like the CCP) he would not recognize it. What we know as 'Communism' is not what he advocated. And as for the social and economic inequalities of society, he was clearly right on the spot. However, afterward some people took his ideas and made something grossly ugly, oppressive and corrupt out of it.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Marxism has some good points. Capitalism also has some good points. Both also have a bad side and can get out of control, or be controlled by a few.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with studying Marxism or capitalism. There is everything right with studying both and everything wrong with learning the other is 100% evil. Both should be treated and studied as political theories, not as religions.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Capitalism is the devil.

The love of money is the root of all evil, but interestingly the knee-jerk reaction known as communism is also evil.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Then I read about 10s, possibly 100s of arrests at Beijing University of a Marxist student group who were apparently organizing an uprising. As China develops more and more and becomes more and more capitalistic, it's not the crazed capitalists from the West they are worried about, but the Marxists at home.

Power structures will always abhor dissent.

Look at how dissidents were treated by the Soviets. Off to the gulags.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

A round number there. If you would like to be educated about "capitalist" deaths start with things like phossy jaw among matchstick girls, KIng Leopold's companies in the Belgian Congo, and the Pinkerteon company's massacres of union activists.

Apples and oranges; capitalism in itself is unfeeling and uncaring toward the working classes perhaps, but those who choose not to participate are not sent to re-education or put in work camps and worked to death. Yes, striking union members were cracked down on violently in the past, but it's no longer necessary.

Communism requires everyone to play the exact same game in order for it to work. When people rebel, leadership gets violent quickly.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The Japanese Government should provide an Unconditional Universal Basic Income of at least 5450750 yen (equivalent of $50,000 United States Dollars) to all of its citizens. Further, the amount should always be adjusted for inflation. If an Unconditional Universal Basic Income went into effect, it would enable anyone who ever falls on difficult times to have a cushion. The Unconditional Universal Basic Income would be the equivalent of throwing someone who is struggling to swim a life jacket. The Unconditional Universal Basic Income should also begin in neighboring countries like Taiwan, Mainland China and so forth and maybe even become a Worldwide Cushion/Life Jacket for everybody.

It is time to get rid of this whole nonsense with classes. There should be no Upper, Middle and Lower Class. Society would function much better as a Classless society. Everybody and Everything should be all equal. It would work much better if wealth and other necessities were distributed evenly. No one should ever be denied food, shelter, water, money and fun. No-one should have more than anyone else as everybody's needs are equally important. No one is special and/or better than anyone else. We are all human and live and breath in the same World. Governments should make sure that everyone's needs are being met and as a result, Universal Basic Income for Eternity would be a milestone and also a cornerstone for making sure everybody's needs are being met.

This is really infuriating how we have individuals who live a lavish lifestyle by owning multiple mansions in various cities/countries, multiple luxurious vehicles, buying designer goods that are necessary and then we have individuals who cannot afford a room. It is time to get rid of indulgence and learn to live with less. Why does someone need multiple gigantic mansions???? Why can't they just be satisfied with a basic/ordinary home????? Rather than having extreme wealth and extreme poverty, it is much better if everyone had their fair share instead so everyone can live a high quality life. Universal Basic Income for Eternity would at least allow for everyone to have the basic necessities and have fun, not be denied any chances in life whether it be professionally or personally. Basic Income would also ensure no one ever gets rejected socially.

In conclusion, if Unconditional Universal Basic Income went into effect for eternity, everyone would be able to sleep better at night, have less stress and therefore have a better quality of life.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The Japan Socialist Party was once the second largest party after the LDP. How about restoring it?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Apples and oranges; capitalism in itself is unfeeling and uncaring toward the working classes perhaps, but those who choose not to participate are not sent to re-education or put in work camps and worked to death. Yes, striking union members were cracked down on violently in the past, but it's no longer necessary.

No. There is no "choice" not to participate in the capitalist wage slavery structure. Take for example the young girls in London working with white phosphorus to make matches when red phosphorus would have been a safer but more expensive alternative.

They were compelled by starvation and desperation as we're the kulaks under Stalin.

And today the specter of homelessness is used to coerce people into taking jobs with unlivable conditions.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Marxism is responsible for about 100 million deaths in a century. That is a very sobering fact.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Ooo! Id forgotten all about King Leopold and the Belgian Congo.

Yes, that definitely trumps 100 million deaths.

Death to the west, Comrade!

Dualistic dichotomies are usual to conservative thinking but we can make the capitalist system we are living under better with free healthcare and education and a universal basic income along with fair taxation (No Trump bragging about paying 750 dollars in taxes in a debate).

Attacking any measure to ameliorate human suffering as "Marxism" is as stupid as denigrating all the benefits that have come from the Renaissance, Enlightenment and Industrial Revolution.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Singapore keeps costs down by making people pay a lot up front to actually access health care services,

It’s a savings based approach, rather than a pay-as-you-go taxation based one.

thus actively discouraging them from seeking medical care in the first place.

No it just says that each person has to save up funds in a personal account instead of paying taxes.

Because people are then spending their own money they make better spending decisions.

The government still remains as a backstop for those unable to save for themselves.

That sounds like a great way to keep costs down but I'm not sold on a system that deliberately makes access to health care difficult and expensive

It’s not difficult, and it’s not expensive - it’s cheaper than paying higher amounts in tax for the same outcomes.

The difference is that people pay for what they think they require, rather than taking as much as they can get because it is “free”. They have an incentive to do so.

Its like a classic tragedy of the commons in systems like that in Japan. There is no incentive to refrain from overconsumption when it is “free”.

being the best model for a country full of old people on small fixed incomes to copy.

Reforming the existing systems to an individual savings based approach from the current taxation based approach will not be done overnight, and should of course be done in a way that ensures people are adequately provided for.

In any case, a system that is unsustainable over time is definitely not the best model.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

@fxgai: Your last post was excellent. No one can say that Singapore is a terrible society or the most free. But it does set an expectation for its citizens to be responsible and not destroy itself. Human nature being what it is, any system that does not acknowledge that a program designed to be “free” is not realistic and is unsustainable. That is the fatal flaw in Marxism/ Socialism and it is why it can only be carried out through coercion of one degree or other.

Human beings are innately selfish - to their own personal and family needs and are at most loyal to their tribe. Tribalism is reaching new heights in the West through the recent neo-Marxist identity based politics. The further you get from the self the lesser the affinity. In the long run a society based on personal responsibility and freedom will in the aggregate be more sustainable. The tragedy of the commons is applicable- history has proven Marxism to be a disastrous ideology.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

To any young people who may still be around reading this , if your university, college or academy offers courses in comparative studies in philosophy, theology, education, the law, literature, the arts, politics, and media, please take one. You will be glad for it.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Socialism never creates happiness or contentment because there is too much power concentrated in the hands of few people.

Let's see, I think Marxism's batting stats to date are something 0-42.

Never going to work.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

"Socialism never creates happiness or contentment because there is too much power concentrated in the hands of few people."

You have just described American capitalism.

No universal healthcare. Bad or non-existent public transport. Killer cops. Lavish wealth while people starve.

Which country got the worst of the corona epidemic. The U.S.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It is the failures of capitalism as currently practiced in the US especially that has turned people against it. During the Cold War it was so obvious that democratic capitalism provided a better way of life for a nations citizens. But the social programs the USSR and other Communist states proudly boasted of forced most western nations to do some of the same things to take care of their people lest the west loose the battle for hearts and minds that was as crucial as the military balance to the west's ultimate success. The US back then also did a better job of enforcing anti-trust laws preventing the formation of oligopolies and their corrosive effects on economic performance

But I remember saying to my room mate as the USSR and Warsaw Pact collapsed in 1991 that I was worried that without the Communists to keep capitalism honest the dark side of capitalism would predominate. Unfortunately that has come to pass. In the past 30 years the US has almost abandoned effective anti-trust regulation and litigation. Oligopolies prevail in too many big markets and they represent a massive wealth transfer from consumers to producers. The increasing concentration of wealth in fewer hands is no mystery! But it seems one must be an economist to see this stuff.

The current younger generation cannot in any honesty expect to live as well as their parents and many of their parents have already given up on trying to have the kind of life their parents, the current generation's grandparents had. Now both spouses must work to be able to afford the kind of middle class lifestyle one working spouse could afford in the 1960s. The younger generation does not see capitalism as it is practiced now (which in many ways bears no resemblance to the competitive markets envisioned by Adam Smith and David Ricardo) providing them with an acceptable standard of living. They are not incorrect either. But they like most people have never matriculated a college level economics class to know what a competitive market should look like to understand just how far from that the economies of many big western nations are from that ideal. The answer isn't communism. The solution to the problem is to break up big corporations into many smaller ones, and break up the vertical and horizontal integration of these giants. More sellers will reduce prices and increase employment. More competition spurs more innovation. Communism won't do any of that.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Socialism never creates happiness or contentment because there is too much power concentrated in the hands of few people.

Unfortunately the prevalence of oligopolies dominating major markets in the US and some other western democracies has led to the same problem in notionally capitalist countries. Those oligopolies are largely responsible for the high concentration of wealth in the US particularly but it is a global problem.

James Madison noted that power accrues to wealth and that a people intent on being their own governors have an interest in assuring wealth and thus political power are spread as widely and thinly as possible. This was a major part of his argument for breaking up big estates among as many heirs as possible upon the death of the owner, his opposition to primogeniture and his ardent advocacy of very high inheritance taxes. He felt each generation should have to earn their own and not live of the earnings of previous generations. This is important to keep the population vigorous and productive. Madison and other founders of the US were steadfastly opposed to allowing the formation of a class of idle wealthy as one found in much of Europe. They were seen as the source of much misery in Europe. I think James Madison would be deeply disappointed were he alive today.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

I'm thoroughly convinced that, with a few exceptions, almost all of the people in this comment section have never read or sought to understand anything from Marx. It's full of people conflating socialism with government policies, or talking about "mixing" Marx' thought with capitalism (which is like trying to mix oil and water, his politics are utterly opposed to capitalism). You really hate to see it.

And even the people who jump to the defense of Marx end up contaminating his thought with elements that are completely foreign to it, like insisting that the so-called "communist" states have anything to do with him beyond mere appearance and honeyed words, or thinking that Marxism invokes morality (the aim of Marxism is scientific, even if though its findings certainly can inspire moral outrage and encourage one to take up the banner of change).

And if this ends up downvoted to oblivion, it will merely prove the point. Before commenting on Marx, you really ought to read him yourself. And be sure to let go of your preconcieved notions and ideological baggage before you head to the reading room.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Good point: "...without the Communists to keep capitalism honest the dark side of capitalism would predominate." The dark side began coming out before the demise of the Eastern Bloc with Nixon and then especially with the most evil President in American history, Ronald Reagan. He did the most damage to the US citizenry in office and by setting the stage for the administrations that followed.

American capitalism was always darker than other western democracies. All had socialist, labor social democratic or euro-communist style parties. They kept the capitalist wolf at bay. "increasing misery." You know it even if you do not know Marx.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Kokegawa: Excellent points. There is a generational cottage industry dedicated to distorting Marx

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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