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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: Ok heres my opinion on marxism (since I've now seen a dozen articles, forum posts, videos and now TEDtopics on this subject within the space of a week)...

    Perhaps no one knows what Marxism is (Thats what the evidence is showing --Just an onslaught of people forever claiming to know what it is whilst simultaniously claiming everyone else doesn't) because Karl Marx's economic positions were either:

    1. Disproved with a series of practical applications (Such as specific aspects of Communism, 'Marxism', Socialism and Capitalism) and claimed none of any given characteristics were his because it would demonstrate his failure and he wanted to save face and continue to be known as an intellectual.

    2. He couldn't form a coherent structure and definition of a questionable idea, hence why no one knows what it actually is, even generations later.

    I'd be willing to bet money that if we could bring Marx back to life and ask him what Marxism was, he would go and study every model in history and present day, claim none of them are in any way like Marxism and then spout a pile of double-speak and incoherence to us all, act like it made sense and then quickly leave the stage..

    Just my two cents, somewhat based on continued observations on how when someone popular is disproven and/or unsure, nobody seems to 'understand' or 'get it right'..
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      Feb 14 2013: Very true. As such, I had hoped people would subscribe to my two proposed, oversimplified and discounted, viewpoints on capitalism and Marxism. So if you are to read:

      capitalism--industrialization, wealth

      Marxism- economic redistribution and cultural 'flourishing' 

      then what do you think?

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        Feb 19 2013: -Namaste
        My simple answer would be yes. It is possible for them to both be correct in a society. Right and wrong is a very relative statement. In a sense both have brought a perspective of social order and they both have valid points. If we can blend the two we can come up with something like we have in many Scandinavian countries currently. Socialism for social structures, communism for community structures and capitalism for economic structure. Now my question to you is.... Will all these structures work, if the foundation they are built upon is egocentric in nature and rewards division of reality, over the creation of unity? Agreeing to abide by the current system of monetary laws is creating a paradox of what is reality, in my opinion. Hopefully I am incorrect, but I can see its influence on me, and through perspective, I would understand its affects on others. I think its time for a new chapter in human consciousness that begins with awareness and education of self. You can only open doors for others to look into, it is their choice to walk threw that door or not.

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