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Add to Wish List. Introduction 1. Aim This dissertation is concerned with the language use of two Democratic politicians who are candidates for the United States presidential election of November 4 thnamely Hillary Clinton, senator for New York and Barack Obama, senator for Illinois. Medan University of Sumatera Utara. Kissine, Mikhail. She belongs to the Democratic.

Communist essay harvard application essays examples

Communist essay

Communism is a political ideology and type of government in which the state owns the major resources in a society, including property, means of production, education, agriculture and transportation. Basically, communism proposes a society in which everyone shares the benefits of labor equally, and eliminates the class system through redistribution of on income. The Father of Communism, Karl Marx , a German philosopher and economist, proposed this new ideology in his Communist Manifesto , which he wrote with Friedrich Engels in The manifesto emphasized the importance of class struggle in every historical society, and the dangerous instability capitalism created.

Though Marx died well before a government tested his theories, his writings, in conjunction with a rising disgruntled working class across Europe, did immediately influence revolutionary industrial workers throughout Europe who created an international labor movement. As envisioned by Marx, Communism was to be a global movement, inspiring and expediting inevitable working-class revolutions throughout the capitalist world.

Though the book had not yet been published, these revolutions had already started in early in France. The new urban working class that lived and worked in terrible conditions throughout Europe got fed up with their life of squalor as they saw upper-class citizens the bourgeois as Marx labeled them in the Manifesto living lives of luxury. The ideas and goals of communism appealed strongly to the revolutionaries even after the revolutions collapsed.

For the next several decades, fed-up lower class workers and peasants held tight to the legacy of the revolutionaries and communist ideology waiting for the right moment to capitalize. Communism was adopted in Russia after the Russian Revolution, a series of revolutions that lasted throughout For centuries leading up to World War I, Russia was ruled by an absolute monarchy under which the lower classes had long suffered in poverty.

This tension was exacerbated by the nationwide famine and loss of human lives as a result of World War I. The first revolution began when the Russian army was sent in to control a protest led by factory workers who had recently lost their jobs. The military quickly lost control of the situation, and the Czar was forced to abdicate. When the Czar was dethroned, Vladimir Lenin returned to Russia after being exiled for anti-Czar plots.

Other revolutionaries including Leon Trotsky also returned to Russia to seize the opportunity. The two established the Bolshevik party, a communist party that was staunchly opposed to the War, which continued to wreak havoc on the unstable nation. However, when the Bolsheviks gained only 25 percent of votes in the elections, Lenin overturned the results and used military force to prevent democratic assembly. Communism is a political and economic ideology that positions itself in opposition to liberal democracy and capitalism, advocating instead for a classless system in which the means of production are owned communally and private property is nonexistent or severely curtailed.

The term's modern usage originated with Victor d'Hupay, an 18th-century French aristocrat who advocated living in "communes" in which all property would be shared, and "all may benefit from everybody's work. Modern communist ideology began to develop during the French Revolution, and its seminal tract, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels' "Communist Manifesto," was published in That pamphlet rejected the Christian tenor of previous communist philosophies, laying out a materialist and—its proponents claim—scientific analysis of the history and future trajectory of human society.

The Communist Manifesto presented the French Revolution as a major historical turning point, when the "bourgeoisie" —the merchant class that was in the process of consolidating control over the "means of production" —overturned the feudal power structure and ushered in the modern, capitalist era. That revolution replaced the medieval class struggle, which pitted the nobility against the serfs, with the modern one pitting the bourgeois owners of capital against the "proletariat," the working class who sell their labor for wages.

In the Communist Manifesto and later works, Marx, Engels, and their followers advocated and predicted as historically inevitable a global proletarian revolution, which would usher in first an era of socialism , then of communism. This final stage of human development would mark the end of class struggle and therefore of history: all people would live in social equilibrium, without class distinctions, family structures, religion, or property.

The state, too, would "wither away. Marx and Engels' theories would not be tested in the real world until after their deaths. In , during World War I, an uprising in Russia toppled the czar and sparked a civil war that eventually saw a group of radical Marxists led by Vladimir Lenin gain power in The Bolsheviks, as this group was called, founded the Soviet Union on former Imperial Russian territory and attempted to put communist theory into practice. Prior to the Bolshevik Revolution, Lenin had developed the Marxist theory of vanguardism, which argued that a close-knit group of politically enlightened elites was necessary to usher in the higher stages of economic and political evolution: socialism and finally communism.

Lenin died shortly after the civil war ended, but the "dictatorship of the proletariat," led by his successor Joseph Stalin, would pursue brutal ethnic and ideological purges as well as forced agricultural collectivization. Tens of millions died during Stalin's rule, from to , on top of the tens of millions who died as a result of the war with Nazi Germany.

Rather than withering away, the Soviet state became a powerful one-party institution that prohibited dissent and occupied the "commanding heights" of the economy. Agriculture, the banking system, and industrial production were subject to quotas and price controls laid out in a series of Five Year Plans.

This system of central planning enabled rapid industrialization, and from to growth in Soviet gross domestic product GDP outpaced that of the U. In general, however, the Soviet economy grew at a much slower pace than its capitalist, democratic counterparts.

Weak consumer spending was a particular drag on growth. Central planners' emphasis on heavy industry led to chronic underproduction of consumer goods, and long lines at understocked grocery stores were a fixture of Soviet life even during periods of relative prosperity.

Thriving black markets — termed the "second economy" by some academics — catered to demand for cigarettes, shampoo, liquor, sugar, milk, and especially prestige goods such as jeans smuggled in from the West. While these networks were illegal, they were essential to the party's functioning: they alleviated shortages that, left unchecked, threatened to spark another Bolshevik Revolution; they provided party propagandists with a scapegoat for shortages; and they lined the pockets of party officials, who would either take payoffs to look the other way or grow rich running black market operations themselves.

The Soviet Union collapsed in , following a push to reform the economic and political system and provide greater room for private enterprise and free expression. These reform pushes, known as perestroika and glasnost , respectively, did not halt the economic decline the Soviet Union suffered in the s and likely hastened the Communist state's end by loosening its grip on sources of dissent.

Mao allied the country with the Soviet Union, but the Soviets' policies of de-Stalinization and "peaceful coexistence" with the capitalist West led to a diplomatic split with China in Mao's rule in China resembled Stalin's in its violence, deprivation, and insistence on ideological purity.

During the Great Leap Forward from to , the Communist Party ordered the rural population to produce enormous quantities of steel in an effort to jumpstart an industrial revolution in China. Families were coerced into building backyard furnaces, where they smelted scrap metal and household items into low-quality pig iron that offered little domestic utility and held no appeal for export markets.

Since rural labor was unavailable to harvest crops, and Mao insisted on exporting grain to demonstrate his policies' success, food became scarce. The resulting Great Chinese Famine killed at least 15 million people and perhaps more than 45 million. The Cultural Revolution, an ideological purge that lasted from until Mao's death in , killed at least another , people.

After Mao's death, Deng Xiaoping introduced a series of market reforms that have remained in effect under his successors. The U. The Chinese Communist Party remains in power, presiding over a largely capitalist system, though state-owned enterprises continue to form a large part of the economy. Freedom of expression is significantly curtailed; elections are banned except in the former British colony of Hong Kong, where candidates must be approved by the party and voting rights are tightly controlled ; and meaningful opposition to the party is not permitted.

The year marked the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War between that power and the United States. As a liberal democracy that had just defeated fascist dictatorships in two theaters, the country — if not all of its people — felt a sense of exceptionalism and historical purpose. So did the Soviet Union, its ally in the fight against Germany and the world's only revolutionary Marxist state. The two powers promptly divided Europe into spheres of political and economic influence: Winston Churchill called this dividing line the "Iron Curtain.

The two superpowers, both of which possessed nuclear weapons after , engaged in a long standoff known as the Cold War. Due to the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction — the belief that a war between the two powers would lead to a nuclear holocaust — no direct military engagements occurred between the U.

Instead, they fought a global proxy war, with each sponsoring friendly regimes in post-colonial nations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The closest the U.

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The author argument about a political and economic struggle between the two superpowers, we can describe it as […]. The doctrine by President John F. The coalition between the two parties was dissolved after the […]. As a result of the […].

The Cold War changed the way that many people in the United States and the world in general viewed the vast differences between freedom and control. One of the key factors in the Soviet Union that so frightened outsiders, was the level of conformity that they commanded over their people.

The country was under the formal control of an emperor, Bao Dai. From until , the Vietnamese struggled for their independence from France during the first Indochina War. At the end of this […]. Throughout his whole life, Karl Marx believed that society should work together to better the country.

Everyone would work unconditionally in order to support the country and make sure that no citizen was left behind without reservations. Native Americans did not […]. Essay examples. Essay topics. American History Since American History Since The international and domestic challenges faced in the second half of the 20th century was enormous in American life.

Divergent Marxism Divergent Marxism Friedrich Engels outlines a theory of communism that demands a violent revolution for its fulfillment in his Principles of Communism. The Cold War and U. The Vietnam War and the U. Government The Vietnam War and the U. Featured Categories. Communism is a political system where all economic and social is controlled by a totalitarian state.

Totalitarism is a system that requires subservience to the state. Communism has never fully worked up to the potential people thought it had when Karl Marx created the communist party in The idea to fully bridge the gap between rich and poor never worked.

Socialism is a toned down version of communism in the fact that communism controls the whole state while socialism controls a big piece…. Communal living has been a fixture of society since the days of hunter-gathering. Published in , this dissemination of communist ideals, which called for the elimination of class struggle and an end to the exploitation of the working class, would become one of the most…. Justification of the U.

Method of Communism Containment The methods used by the United States method to stop communism were unjustified. The U. They did not help every country that were in need aid. For instance, the United States used broadcast propaganda programs to encourage capitalist democracy, but when the Hungarian protested against the Soviet Union; the U. Communism is the ongoing struggle where the majority people were part of the economical policies.

The Giver has shown communism throughout the movie. Phillip Noyce made the Giver in August 11, that shows the negative effects of communism by economical, rationing, and education. History shows the…. To what extent did the rise of communism in China shape both the Chinese economy and social structure during the 20th century? Part A: Part B: While the long standing history between China and Japan has been filled with conflicts and atrocities, such as the Nanking massacre and the fighting for control of Manchuria in the early 19th century, the rise of communism in China played a large role in both shaping the relations between China and Japan as well as influencing their relationship today.

The direction of organizing society the government owns all the means of production, no privately owned property. The goal is to create a classless society, then it will set the people free to find the higher meaning of life. It believes this can happen if the people bring away the power of the ruling class, who own the means of production bourgeoisie and to create a….

The United States went into the Cold War with good intentions, wanting to end the spread of communism. These efforts eventually led to better relations with the Soviet Union, now Russia, as well as China. However, most of these efforts were fueled by fear, especially following the second red scare. This fear led to democratic rights being infringed upon at home and abroad, and the tearing down of the governments of other nations in order to keep communism at bay, ruining the lives of millions.

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Marx understanding of society shift into modernism lead to develop a form of communism that would come to be known as Marxism, communism is the economic thought of Marxism.

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Communist essay It is also the case that the absence of wide scale free markets and private property are not sufficient to determine that a society communist essay not capitalist. Though a large group of philosophers and economists have theorized many systems that can. The Communist Party officially recognized the valuable role of the Communist essay in bringing about the transition from the monarchist regime, embodied most recently in the form of the Qing Dynastyto a modern state. While there has been extensive study of the reasons for communism's failure, researchers have pinpointed a couple of common factors that contributed to its demise. All human beings do not, however, engage in activities resulting in such useful products. What did the Chinese Communist Party leadership mean by this term?
Communist essay Modern communist ideology began to develop during the French Revolution, and its seminal tract, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels' "Communist Manifesto," was published in In other words, communism is not defined based on the software of communist essay processes and the control over surplus labor, as in Marx's definition which did not presuppose a Josef Stalinbut on the hardware of the physical social structures and institutions without regard to the underlying software. This form of planning requires aggregation and synthesis of enormous amounts of data at a granular level. Because, communist essay thesis in project management pdf, we certainly get some poor solutions to times of capitalist crisis. The cold war is a perfect example of this; we spent approximately 50 years in terror to solve this global issue.
Fred lybrand essay course Here we go: Socialism and communism and liberalism are not interchangeable words. A communist seeks the abolition of property, whether held by the state or private firms and citizens; they want all of us to own everything equally and become our own dictators. Communist essay thereafter, the country dissolved into civil war between the ruling Bolsheviks and general outline for a research paper White Guard, a loose alliance of anti-Bolshevik parties including tsarists, right-wing parties, nationalists and anti-communist left-wing parties. Finally, you may ask why any of this matters. While these networks were illegal, they were essential to the party's functioning: they alleviated shortages that, left unchecked, threatened to spark another Bolshevik Revolution; they provided party propagandists with a scapegoat for communist essay and they lined the pockets of party officials, who would either take payoffs to look the other way or grow rich running black market operations themselves.
White fang research paper In other words, there are a large variety of social conditions that may foster ancientism, just as there are a large variety of social conditions that may foster communist essay or feudalism or slavery and the temporal dimension communist essay in no way a restriction on the potential existence of some variant form of these social formations or the underlying class processes. But the communist believes that the exploitation is inevitable. But an ideal breaking a bad habit process essay in a communist society was selflessly devoted to societal causes and rarely stopped to think about his or her welfare. We begin with an historical exploration of the institutional creations and alterations that lead from the Revolution in China up to what we know as contemporary China. This paranoia was promoted in a wide range of films and books. It is commonplace to believe that private ownership in general is a defining characteristic of capitalism. Civil Rights leaders, such as Martin Luther Kingwere often accused of being communists or, at the least, "fellow travelers".
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This is not proven by the simple statements of the Bolsheviks about their interest in creating communism at some unspecified date in the future. After all, if a new slave master were to take control of a slave plantation and tell his slaves, "My ultimate goal is to free you and to create a new form of social arrangement in which you shall never be oppressed again," would the slaves believe him? What would be necessary for them to believe him? Does it matter in terms of defining the class structure of the society whether or not they believe him?

If a conflict breaks out between this new slave master and the slave masters at other plantations then perhaps this might reinforce the idea that something extraordinarily different and threatening to the old social order was happening. But would that conflict be sufficient to convince us, as social analysts, that this conflict was between slavery and an alternative social system in the making, much less already present, and not simply between two variant forms of slavery? In other words, what would we need to know in order to conclude that this new slave master was a "revolutionary" intent upon ending slavery or having already revolutionized class processes, ending slavery on the plantation in question?

To imply that the conflict between the West and the USSR and the later expanded conflict between the West and the Communist Bloc was a struggle between capitalism and communism is to imply that the "Communist Bloc" was genuinely interested in creating communism and ending or, at least, minimizing non-communist forms of surplus appropriation and distribution, if not having already brought this dramatic change in the operating system for surplus control into effect.

If we took this seriously, we would need to believe that the software of communism, which is the control of surplus value by the workers themselves, had been implemented in the USSR, China, and these other so-called communist nations. However, this leap of faith is avoided within the discourse by defining communism in purely polemical non-scientific fashion as synonymous with the set of political, economic, and cultural processes that developed in the USSR under the dictatorship of Joseph Stalin a definition of communism that is dependent upon the post hoc rise to power of a specific dictator and the implementation of his vision of society.

In other words, communism is not defined based on the software of labor processes and the control over surplus labor, as in Marx's definition which did not presuppose a Josef Stalin , but on the hardware of the physical social structures and institutions without regard to the underlying software.

This Cold War discourse ignored prior discussions of communism in philosophy and social science, including Marx's few references to this system. Similarly, capitalism gets defined in simple terms as the commonly recognized features of the economic and political system s prevalent in the "Western" nations, particularly the presence of relatively unregulated corporations operating in relatively "free" markets and popular voting for certain governmental positions in contested elections with at least two political parties.

In the most simplistic version of this polemic, capitalism is simply conflated with "free" markets. Indeed, there is no need for the word "capitalism" since the phrase "free markets" would capture the entire meaning for purposes of discourse and analysis. For many social analysts and commentators, their definition of capitalism is ad hoc, changing over time or occasion to meet polemical demands or simply to reflect the present set of idealized characteristics of particular high income societies, usually the United States suffices as the model.

Unlike typological work in the "hard" sciences, the typology upon which these ad hoc definitions rest are almost never subjected to much scrutiny nor required to meet even minimal standards of uniqueness non-arbirariness and clarity. It is as if an animal could legitimately be classified as a reptile based on the whims or polemical requirements of the particular biologist who deploys the term in his scientific analysis or policy statements, rather than based on non-arbitrary and easily identified criteria with unambiguous scientific implications.

It is interesting that despite Marx's perceived role in shaping the bi-polar communism-capitalism conflict his name is often invoked by one side or the other for polemical reasons , his multi-volume attempt at producing new knowledge about the specificity of capitalist economic processes where the word capitalism is produced as a social concept defining a unique set of social relationships which can occur in a variable historical context by which certain individuals perform surplus labor and a different set of individuals appropriate this surplus labor is ignored.

Thus, it may be useless, in the context of this polemical "debate" over capitalism and communism, to try to distinguish whether or not the conflict between the West and the "Communist Bloc" was a conflict between actual capitalism and actual communism, understood as strictly defined and alternative economic systems.

In the polemical debates, the terms capitalism and communism lose all social scientific meaning. The entire history of thought within which capitalism was defined as a unique economic system formed around a distinct class process and communism was defined as an alternative mode of producing and appropriating an economic surplus is absent from the arena of these debates.

Think of capitalism and communism as alternative forms of software for shaping the creation and distribution of surplus value whether in product or monetary form. But this is not the way capitalism and communism are discussed in popular discourse. Instead, in the popular rhetoric, capitalism and communism become simple proxies for two specific sets of contending social formations distinct in many ways but not necessarily in terms of prevalent class processes.

But we cannot play so fast and loose with these concepts or the underlying software or social codes governing who performs labor and who receives the fruits of such labor upon which the concepts are based if we are to make sense of the internal struggles and debates within the Chinese leadership that came to power in anymore than it would make sense to ignore the historical definitions of capitalism and communism if one wanted to make sense of the post revolutionary struggles and debates within the Bolshevik leadership.

In our survey of the Chinese economy, we will attempt to gain a better understanding of what was at stake in the Chinese Revolution of , of the contending visions within the leadership of the Communist Party of China Gong Chang Dang as to what constituted capitalism and communism, and whether or not there is any "objective" way to determine if China underwent a revolution as sweeping as the term communism implies a revolution that implies a complete change of the underlying software, or operating system, if you will, shaping the relationship between direct producers and appropriators of the fruits of labor of those direct producers.

This will be important as we explore the current phase of "economic reform" in China and attempt to make sense of where China is going in the future. But first, let me be clear about something on this point. China's leadership never claimed to have inaugurated communism with the Revolution.

As was the case with the Bolsheviks, China's leaders were members of a communist party but never claimed to have instituted communism a society without exploitation with their revolution. During this intermediate phase, the preconditions for communism would be gradually put into place to allow for the eventual attainment of communism, which some of the opponents of communism have described as a form of utopian and therefore unattainable society.

No one ever said how long the society would have to be in this intermediate "socialist" stage, nor was the stage itself or the preconditions for communism that were to be instituted clearly defined. It was also anticipated that worldwide revolution would result in rapid growth of communist party led governments around the world and that these governments would develop socialism in a coordinated effort. Socialist solidarity was understood as an inevitable consequence of the movement of social forces that could be delayed but not permanently forestalled.

Thus, the Soviet leaders saw the Chinese revolution as just another step along this road to the coordinated building of socialism. Socialism was never conceived, within communist ideology, as a system that would be developed sui generis in individual countries. There would not be a Soviet form of socialism and a Chinese form, for instance. This way of thinking not only caused tensions between Soviet intellectuals and political leaders and their Chinese counterparts but also caused some rather serious squabbling among leaders of the Communist Party of China CPC , which was founded only four years after the Bolshevik Revolution, with some taking the internationalist line and others arguing in favor of the idea of a unique Chinese form of socialism.

To further complicate matters, the Chinese Nationalist Party or Guomindang the party that was overthrown by the Chinese Communist Party and subsequently fled to the island of Taiwan did not view itself as an instrument of a ruling capitalist class which would be consistent with the notion of a "bourgeois" party.

To the contrary, the Guomindang, many of whose leaders were openly supportive of and supported by the Soviet Union and some, such as Chiang Kai-shek, studied in the Soviet Union , was generally described as nationalist and socialist. And the Soviets provided the Guomindang with financial support, armaments, and advisers. If this is not sufficient to make the ideological waters murky, then consider also that the Chinese Communist Party made nationalism an important aspect of its constitution, eliminating another potential ideological difference.

On numerous occasions the Guomindang and the Chinese Communist Party were allied, particularly in the anti-imperialist struggle against the Japanese and there were even members of the Guomindang who simultaneously held membership in the Chinese Communist Party at least until Chiang Kai-shek began his purge of communists from the Guomindang. The Communist Party officially recognized the valuable role of the Guomindang in bringing about the transition from the monarchist regime, embodied most recently in the form of the Qing Dynasty , to a modern state.

This, of course, begs the question of who would control that state as the Chinese nation continued along a path that both the Guomindang and the Communist Party called modernization. When the Guomindang, under Chiang Kai-shek's leadership after Sun Yat-sen's death , turned against the Chinese Communist Party in , assassinating most of the communist leadership leaving a void that would be filled by the rural based Mao Zedong , the motivation may have been less ideological than part of an effort to eliminate any possible competition over control of this "modern" state.

Thus, the Chinese Communist Party, who won the struggle against the Guomindang despite the aforementioned assassinations, overthrew one version of socialism in favor of another version, at least when viewed in purely polemical terms. This leaves us with some perplexing questions. What did the Chinese Communist Party leadership mean by this term?

What do they mean when they use it today? Is there a narrow enough definition of the term "socialism" as to allow us to test whether one society is or is not socialist? For that matter, in order to make sense of the aforementioned struggle between communists who are portrayed and portray themselves as opponents of capitalism and anti-communists, we will need to ask similar questions of the concepts of capitalism and communism?

Because these terms are frequently used for polemical purposes, we often think we know what they mean and can very easily end up like the Caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland with these words meaning whatever we want them to mean there being no test for whether the conditions of the concept are or are not met. For our purposes, however, we will need to both understand what political and intellectual leaders in China and elsewhere meant by these terms and to attempt to find social scientific definitions very strictly defined and testable terms used in a consistent manner within a consistently logical framework of argumentation that could be used to analyze the economic, political and cultural dynamics driving change in Chinese society.

These are two very different ways of talking about the concepts of capitalism, socialism, and communism. Let us begin with the latter problemfinding a social scientific meaning of these terms. We need a social scientific definition of capitalism, socialism, and communism that can be deployed in our analysis of the Chinese economy, Chinese economic history, and the intellectual debates about China's "communist" revolution and its current transition from what to what?

What is this thing that the communist party leaderships in China, the Soviet Union, and elsewhere wanted to transcend and ultimately replace with communism? The term capitalism began its life as an economic concept, although today it is often used to describe political and cultural elements, as well.

Nevertheless, a concept of capitalism that is overly general or synonymous with other widely used concepts such as the conflation of market economies with capitalism becomes less useful as a device for categorizing and analyzing. What we want is a concept of capitalism and communism that is narrow and unique enough as to allow us to distinguish something profoundly different or similar between the societies under analysis and, in a more micro context, between different social relationships within the economy.

Since Marx is often implicated in the various debates over this and related issues, it might help to get an idea of how Marx understood capitalism. Marx, in his attempt to distinguish the different social processes that shape people's lives, discussed a wide range of social relationships and processes: property, exchange, and power relationships played an important role in his analysis, for instance.

However, Marx thought that many social commentators had, over time, done a great deal to analyze, even criticize, existing forms of property ownership, exchange relationships, and political arrangements. Social analysts who opposed the existing social order, capitalism, because they felt it was oppressive generally criticized these particular aspects of the capitalist societies of the day.

Marx believed that even if these factors were changed property ownership, exchange relationships, and political arrangements it was not guaranteed that one would get to the heart of the problems created by capitalism. In particular, he believed that there existed a form of oppression that was poorly understood, rarely discussed, whose genesis had required dramatic changes in the living conditions and social status of countless human beings, and which was critical to understanding what it was that made capitalist society unique vis-a-vis other unjust societies Marx was clearly making some important value judgments in his criticisms of capitalism, feudalism and slavery.

This unique form of oppression is what he called capitalist exploitation. But capitalist exploitation, to be understood, had to be strictly defined as distinct from other forms of exploitation. And exploitation, as an economic concept, had to be strictly defined as distinct from other forms of oppression.

Marx defined exploitation as the product of a generalized social process, called class. Since capitalism is the prevalence of a specific type of class process, i. In other words, we want to be able to answer the question of what is a class process before answering the more specific question of what is the capitalist class process. In order to understand class, we will use the conceptual language that has been developed by Stephen A.

Resnick and Richard D. Wolff , two noted economists from the University of Massachusetts and the founders of the journal Rethinking Marxism. Resnick and Wolff's reading of Marx leads them to avoid defining class as a noun , as is common practice.

For Resnick and Wolff, the issue that Marx focused upon in his major theoretical works Capital , Theories of Surplus Value , and Grundrisse was not a struggle between classes but a struggle over class as a social process the term process implies a continually changing phenomenon a phenomenon that only exists in motion a verb. For this and other reasons they use the term class process in describing the unique type of social interaction that Marx was concerned about in his social scientific work.

What is class process? Firstly, Marx understood that society depended, among other processes, upon human beings physically transforming raw materials and other material inputs machinery and other products of past labor into new and useful products. Food has to be grown and prepared. Cloth has to be created and clothing made. Construction materials and housing have to be made. And so on.

All human beings do not, however, engage in activities resulting in such useful products. And even for those who are so engaged, they may, under certain conditions, consume such products in excess of the value of what they produce. Thus, under certain social conditions it is necessary for some workers to produce output in excess of the output they take as compensation for their efforts.

This extra work has been defined by Marx and others as surplus labor. The extra product created by surplus labor was defined as surplus product. And the social value of the surplus product as typically determined in market exchange relationships was defined as surplus value. Now we have all of the ingredients necessary to a relatively strict definition of class process.

Class process is the social process that results in i human beings performing surplus labor, ii the surplus products of this labor being appropriated and iii the distribution of the surplus value in surplus product form or in monetary form to other human beings. What distinguishes one class process from another?

In other words, how can we distinguish capitalism from feudalism or feudalism from communism? All these are class processes in so far as they involve the production, appropriation and distribution of surplus products. The difference between the various class processes is the particular social arrangement that results in the worker performing the surplus labor and the appropriator taking possession of the fruits the product or value of that surplus labor.

And these social arrangements have been variable over time and place. Marx spent a great many pages attempting to specify the historical process that brought into being the social arrangement that is peculiar to capitalism. It was the primary purpose behind the writing of the three volumes of Capital , his best known social scientific work although less well known than his shorter more polemical Communist Manifesto. This definition tells us that capitalism, if it is to exist and be reproduced over time, requires a particular type of market, a free market in the buying and selling of labor power, and a particular type of ownership, the ownership of the fruits of the labor of an employed wage laborer by someone other than that employed wage laborer.

However, capitalism is not reducible to either markets or ownership. There must be a free market in labor power, meaning that potential laborers must have the freedom to seek employment for a wage in an environment where, under normal conditions, there are choices about possible employers. There must be a political and cultural environment within which it is possible for someone other than the worker who created a product to take ownership of that product.

The worker is paid a wage, embodying a certain amount of economic value, in exchange for her giving up the right to own the fruits of her labor. She accepts this contract willingly and retains the right the freedom to quit her employment and seek employment elsewhere. That's it. That is capitalism. This simple but powerful definition provides all that is necessary to determine if the capitalist class process exists under concrete social conditions.

We do not need to know who rules the state or whether voting plays a role in determining the composition of an existing legislative body. We do not need to know if there are flexible exchange rates. We do not need to know if there are gun laws. We do not need to know whether people in the country speak Putonghua or English. Of course all of these topics might be useful in any attempt to tell the story of how capitalism came to exist or not or the particular context within which it exists.

If the capitalist class process is the appropriation of the surplus value of free wage laborers laborers who seek employment for a wage in a free market in labor power by human beings other than the free laborers themselves, then we can easily see where some of the confusion has originated. Instead of seeing free markets in labor power as a condition of existence of capitalism, it has become a commonplace to think that free markets in general are a condition of existence of capitalism.

This is very misleading, of course, since it is possible to have free markets in everything except labor power and not have capitalism. Indeed, the presence of free markets in labor power is a necessary but not sufficient condition to define a society as capitalist. Simply because the capitalist class process may exist in a society does not imply that this type of class process prevails over all others, in terms of numbers of workers involved, total output generated, or any number of other possible criteria.

Similarly, the existence of instances of slavery would not define an entire society as a slave society, if this economic arrangement were not typical. China has been the site of numerous debates over and experiments with free markets, dating as far back as the Han Dynasty B. In the ante-bellum South of the United States, where there was even a free market in the buying and selling of human beings, the market in the buying and selling of human labor power was relatively underdeveloped.

Most direct producers in the ante-bellum South were either slaves or self-employed producers, not capitalist wage laborers. Under the system of slavery, a large number of productive laborers in the southern states of the United States existed in a condition of servitude, living out their lives in work camps as the owned property of other human beings, despite the presence of free markets in most goods and services.

Indeed, most of the products created by these slave laborers were sold in markets, where buyers and sellers were relatively free to interact and engage in exchange. And the ideology of free markets was also very strong in the ante-bellum South. For slavery based entrepreneurs the freedom to engage in the buying and selling of human chattel and the concomitant freedom to put those human beings to productive use was no minor matter. Indeed, it was the pro-slavery forces in the U.

Congress who led the fight for free trade and other policies that presage "neo-liberalism. Nevertheless, the predominant class process of the South, typically assumed to have been the slave class process whereby the performance of surplus labor depended upon the existence of a human chattel arrangement was clearly distinct from the capitalist class process which is understood to have prevailed in the northeastern states of the United States , whereby workers could seek and quit employment according to their own volition.

We can also see why it might have been possible to expand the role of ownership as a condition of existence of capitalism beyond the simple condition whereby it must be possible for someone other than the free wage laborer to take ownership of the surplus value created by that laborer and then to distribute this surplus value so as to secure the conditions for further appropriations in the future. It is commonplace to believe that private ownership in general is a defining characteristic of capitalism.

But again, slavery provided wide scale private ownership and yet is an economic arrangement profoundly different from capitalism. Similarly, feudalism and self-employment the ancient class process often exist in the presence of wide scale private ownership.

Weak consumer spending was a particular drag on growth. Central planners' emphasis on heavy industry led to chronic underproduction of consumer goods, and long lines at understocked grocery stores were a fixture of Soviet life even during periods of relative prosperity.

Thriving black markets — termed the "second economy" by some academics — catered to demand for cigarettes, shampoo, liquor, sugar, milk, and especially prestige goods such as jeans smuggled in from the West. While these networks were illegal, they were essential to the party's functioning: they alleviated shortages that, left unchecked, threatened to spark another Bolshevik Revolution; they provided party propagandists with a scapegoat for shortages; and they lined the pockets of party officials, who would either take payoffs to look the other way or grow rich running black market operations themselves.

The Soviet Union collapsed in , following a push to reform the economic and political system and provide greater room for private enterprise and free expression. These reform pushes, known as perestroika and glasnost , respectively, did not halt the economic decline the Soviet Union suffered in the s and likely hastened the Communist state's end by loosening its grip on sources of dissent.

Mao allied the country with the Soviet Union, but the Soviets' policies of de-Stalinization and "peaceful coexistence" with the capitalist West led to a diplomatic split with China in Mao's rule in China resembled Stalin's in its violence, deprivation, and insistence on ideological purity. During the Great Leap Forward from to , the Communist Party ordered the rural population to produce enormous quantities of steel in an effort to jumpstart an industrial revolution in China. Families were coerced into building backyard furnaces, where they smelted scrap metal and household items into low-quality pig iron that offered little domestic utility and held no appeal for export markets.

Since rural labor was unavailable to harvest crops, and Mao insisted on exporting grain to demonstrate his policies' success, food became scarce. The resulting Great Chinese Famine killed at least 15 million people and perhaps more than 45 million. The Cultural Revolution, an ideological purge that lasted from until Mao's death in , killed at least another , people.

After Mao's death, Deng Xiaoping introduced a series of market reforms that have remained in effect under his successors. The U. The Chinese Communist Party remains in power, presiding over a largely capitalist system, though state-owned enterprises continue to form a large part of the economy.

Freedom of expression is significantly curtailed; elections are banned except in the former British colony of Hong Kong, where candidates must be approved by the party and voting rights are tightly controlled ; and meaningful opposition to the party is not permitted. The year marked the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War between that power and the United States.

As a liberal democracy that had just defeated fascist dictatorships in two theaters, the country — if not all of its people — felt a sense of exceptionalism and historical purpose. So did the Soviet Union, its ally in the fight against Germany and the world's only revolutionary Marxist state. The two powers promptly divided Europe into spheres of political and economic influence: Winston Churchill called this dividing line the "Iron Curtain. The two superpowers, both of which possessed nuclear weapons after , engaged in a long standoff known as the Cold War.

Due to the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction — the belief that a war between the two powers would lead to a nuclear holocaust — no direct military engagements occurred between the U. Instead, they fought a global proxy war, with each sponsoring friendly regimes in post-colonial nations in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

The closest the U. The Cold War ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union in Communism failed due to several reasons, including a lack of profit incentive among citizens, the failure of central planning, and the impact of power being seized by such a small number of people, who then exploited it and gamed the system. While there has been extensive study of the reasons for communism's failure, researchers have pinpointed a couple of common factors that contributed to its demise.

The first is an absence of incentives among citizens to produce for profit. The profit incentive leads to competition and innovation in society. But an ideal citizen in a communist society was selflessly devoted to societal causes and rarely stopped to think about his or her welfare.

The second reason for communism's failure was the system's inherent inefficiencies, such as centralized planning. This form of planning requires aggregation and synthesis of enormous amounts of data at a granular level. Because all projects were planned centrally, this form of planning was also complex. In several instances, growth data was fudged or error-prone in order to make facts fit into planned statistics and create an illusion of progress. The concentration of power into the hands of select few also bred inefficiency and, paradoxically enough, provided them with incentives to game the system for their benefit and retain their hold on power.

Corruption and laziness became endemic features of this system and surveillance, such as the one that characterized East German and Soviet societies, was common. It also disincentivized industrious and hard-working people. The end result was that the economy suffered. Emerging Markets. Your Money. Personal Finance. Your Practice. Popular Courses.