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Jordan Schwall

Student - B.A. Philosophy,

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Is it possible for both Karl Marx and Ayn Rand to be correct?


Two pop-cultural experiences this week got me thinking; is it possible that both capitalism and socialism have their place in society? Is this what historically maintains economic equilibrium (at least, one theoretical and organic)? We industrialize, followed by a period of economic redistribution and cultural 'flourishing,' and repeat this process. 

These two contrasting ideas both had their time in history, and here is pop-culture to prove it: 

television: socialism, Marx

“Do what will make you happy, and don’t lie to yourself, the latter of course a main theme of the series. “I always thought that you were very single-minded about your dreams and that that would help you through life,” he tells her. “But now I see that you skipped the struggle and went right to the end.” “It’s not the end, it’s the beginning,” Megan says. “This apartment, this wealth that someone handed to you,” he replies. “This is what Karl Marx was talking about. And it’s not because someone else deserves it. It’s because it is bad for your soul.” “Don’t pick at me with your politics because you hate that I love Don,” she says. “No, I hate that you give up. Don’t let your love for this man stop you from doing what you want to do.” 
-- Mad Men (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2049173/)

literature: capitalism, Rand

-- Scott Hoover (http://www.amazon.com/How-Get-Job-Wall-Street/dp/0071778535)

Look at the here and now: we value economic achievement, a capitalist ideal. but on a temporal economic scale, say the 1920s, marxism attempted to redistribute those economic achievements so that people could work less and thrive culturally (marxism was obviously only a consideration in economic policy that would change, at the time, failing capitalism). Many contend that the same is being done now (Obama as changing capitalism). Is there a natural cycle to this?


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    Feb 13 2013: Here's the thing. If everyone in the world was totally self centred and focussed only on there own needs Ayn Rand would be right. If everyone in the whole world was totally altruistic and only concerned with what is best for society as a whole then "Karl Marx" would be right. (Marx is in quotes because what is popularly considered Marxism isn't actually Marxism) Lets say pure socialism. The problem is neither of these scenarios is a realistic representation of the world. Therefore neither of them are right.
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      Feb 13 2013: The world gets much closer to Rand than Marx, as the prior is organic to humans and the latter is a perversion of humans.
      • Feb 13 2013: Survival of the genes is intrinsic to humans (Dawkins) ... both altruism and selfishness exist in humans. Under certain circumstances self centered behavior works best for individual fitness and under other circumstances altruism within cooperative groups works best to promote the fitness of a group. Both human inclinations have survived the test of time.
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        Feb 13 2013: That depends on the company you keep ;-)
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          Feb 13 2013: That would be the people of Earth? (8^(l)
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        Feb 14 2013: I seek out altruistic hippie types so I can live off their good intentions and not have to do anything for myself.

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