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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 16 2013: I dont think about economic systems in terms of right or wrong because it just doesnt make sense to do so. How can we say an economic system is right or wrong if the one system uses a diffrent reasoning then the other... in fact they are both right in the end or wrong depending on wether you look at the premises marx or rand used or the system they created. a system cant be wrong, thats why its a system which defines rules whicht then create the difference between right and wrong.

    I also wouldnt say one system works better then the other i just think that we shouldnt use a system forever and ever as if it was the allmighty and only true system.
    Capitalism leads to economic growth yeah... but once a certain point is reached it extends its arm beyond just economy takes over politics and prevents us from making the safer, more foreseeing decisions in favour of short term profits.
    This point is reached and its the point where capitalism suddenly turns bad and prevents us from growth other then economic growth.

    What communism or socialism does is that it creates a system in which the state itself takes control it leads to economic stability (rather then growth) and gives back the power to the state which is then able to make the appropriate long term decisions, once those are settles we might jump ontop of the growth train again.

    Why dont we combine those two? Why dont we create a seperate instance nemely a system which is completely remote from any economic or governmental influence which decides when to use which system. Why stick with the same system if its clear its got its flaws and doesnt work perfectly at all times? Why threat them like religions where theres the believers and the nonbelievers?
    You dont believe into an economic system ... you use it thats what we created said systems for.

    EDIT:And before anyone tells that marxism didnt work... go read up on marxism, then figure out that what he imagined never existed but a system using his name.
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      Feb 16 2013: How do you define "right and wrong," then--morally? No one has yet posited this notion of right v wrong, good v evil. I believe that's a matter of political ideology. However, you have just expressed your own political ideology, and framed marxism and capitalism exactly along the axes of right v wrong.

      The reason I am looking into cyclical trends within economic systems is because that would very much empirically support one system "working better" than another. That is, if we find a State both prospering, and comparatively excelling, then we may vie for a certain economic policy. However, we must explicate the relationship between economic cycles and politics--my aim here-- so as to see if there is any independence between the two. This debate is concluding upon: NO.

      There is very, very strong positive correlation (likely causation) between politics and the economy. Aptly, "economic policy." Can you, or anyone, propose a variable INDEPENDENT of politics that forces the economy in one direction? For example, consumer spending habits, global weather patterns, etc. And, can we find a stronger correlation between said hypothetical variable and the economy, than politics and the economy?

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