Marx on capitalism (answers)

February 2, 2018
Marx on capitalism (answers)

1. (c)

Unlike previous social and economic system, capitalism seeks to constantly revolutionize the forces of production: new ways of organizing production, more advanced machines, higher demands on workers.

2. (a)

As Marx and Engels famously said, “the history of every hitherto existing society is the history of class struggle.”  Every society has been organized to maintain the wealth and power of the ruling class by keeping lower classes in their place.  This might be a bit of an overgeneralization (some indigenous societies in the Americas, for example, were highly democratic), but its a pretty good approximation of the underlying forces that shape the evolution of societies.

3. (c)

Capitalism has a very high opinion of itself. Driver of innovation! Promoter of freedom! Market-based efficiency!  Some of these might be partially true, or might have been true for some people during certain phases of capitalist development, but they all miss the basic point.  The purpose of capitalist production is to put money in the pockets of the capitalist class.  Doubt it? Just try to get the private sector to do something it can’t make money from.

4. (a)

Capitalist profits come from what Marx calls ‘surplus-value’: the value produced by labor over and above what laborers receive in wages.  In Marx’s analysis, the wage represents the cost, on average, of reproducing labor-power–that is, what it costs to keep workers in a condition to work.

5. (b)

Check out Lenin’s  Three Sources and Three Component Parts of Marxism, a sort of introductory guide to the ideas of Marx.


Score: 0 wrong: Theoretician. Write an article! Teach a class!!   1 wrong: Developed Marxist. Form a study group, join the party; 2 to 3 wrong: Class conscious worker – study harder; 4 to 5 wrong: Danger! deviations possible. study and then study some more lest you drift into the marsh of opportunism!

Comments (1)

Robert F. Savio | February 09, 2018 at 6:37 PM

Here in the United States this should be a course starting in 9th grade and progressing through grade 12. We will never see this because the American public school system wants to turn our graduates that are just able to operate the machinery of Capitalist production but NOT for these “wage slaves” to benefit from their labor. We will never have an intelligent working class because they are too busy keeping their heads abobv water.

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