>Karl Marx is not a "Hero" I would want to be quoting! In every country
>where his theories and ideas were implemented or were even tried and
>discarded, the level of "exploitation" was much more severe than any you
>will find in any capitalistic society.
While the largest implementation of Marx's theories left much to be desired,
it does not logically follow that the essential idea was flawed. In fact,
everywhere his ideas where tried, the "ruling parties" (which in itself is
antithetical to true communism) never let social equality and collective
economics really happen. It was forced upon many, without their input, which
is also antithetical to an egalitarian society. To my mind, Marxism and
communism have never truly happened on a national scale. However, the threat
that they might was enough to create the Red Scare, the Arms Race, the Cold
War, and other nasty skeletons in our collective national closet. It seems
there might be greater exploitation in fighting communism than in letting it
truly come to fruition.
However on a local scale, cooperative economics have a long history of
success, longer in fact than capitalism. Without trying to spark another
debate on capitalism, it seems that capitalism is inherently unsustainable and
will ultimately be short-lived (in human history terms) because of (as John
Ikerd so eloquently pointed out) its failure to take full cost accounting and
to assign true value to our environment, relationships, resources and labor.
You can witness this unsustainability manifested all around you.
As to alternatives: Barter, for example, is more widespread in my neck of the
woods than capital exchange. May I also point out Ithaca Hours and the LETS
system. Also the flourishing intentional secular and religious communities
movement which has functioned largely outside of the capitalist system for
over a century. And the worker-owned cooperatives that have existed globally
for a very long time. Worker-owned cooperatives are showing a reemergence
here, in fact. Many announcements of such forming have crossed my desk in the
past two years or so. I have worked on two in my life; one that publishes a
monthly newsjournal in D.C. and another that sews organic cotton clothing. Now
I live and work developing cooperative, diversified, agrarian businesses, in
the city and on our own land.
I should also add that I live in an intentional secular community, a
"commune;" we have our own consensus-based economy which extends outward to
the larger farm community we live in. We collaborate on all business
decisions, barter eggs, honey, veggies, fruit, medicinal herbs, carpentry
services, machine repair, you name it. When we do use money, $10 per hour is
the common standard for all skilled work (that means farming, among other
things), no more, no less. This doesn't mean that we don't participate in the
capitalist system at all—that would be impossible living in the US! What it
does mean is that we are shifting the paradigm in our own homes and
communities based upon models and theories (including Marx) available to us,
and so far (the past 25 years) it has been an unmitigated success.
I don't think I want to work "under" or "over" anyone again. Even in the most
benign of ways. My personal hero is Emma Goldman ;)
-- dawn aka gardenbetty
We will be known by the tracks we leave behind... —Dakota proverb
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