“A Marxist in capitalist’s clothing” The Inquirer and Mirror, July 15, 2004
To the Editor:
Your article about my book Democratic Capitalism, The Way to a World of Peace and Plenty described the need for economic freedom to precede political freedoms in a system built up from the worth and great potential of each individual in an environment of trust and cooperation as well as my respect for Karl Marx as an author of these axioms. Marx also predicted that under these conditions the standard of living would go up, the violence would go down, and the warrior state would lose power.
The article mentioned my synthesis of Adam Smith, Karl Marx and John Stuart Mill but missed a vital part of the synthesis: Mill’s integration of these concepts with private property and competition into democratic capitalism. Mill’s solution was evolutionary and built on the free market momentum initiated by Smith. Marx, however, had no understanding of management of change and encouraged a revolutionary approach that tore down the whole structure.
The Marxist collectivism, in all of its forms, that resulted from this tragic error contradicted Marx’s concepts as top-down political structures suppressed the spirit of people and consequently suppressed the opportunity to create and distribute more wealth. The challenge to the establishment from collectivism was also a root cause of the bloodiest century in human history, the 20th, during which 160 million people were killed by governments. For these reasons Marxism is the polar opposite of democratic capitalism.
The 21st century is well on the way to breaking the record for killing innocent humans in a world dominated by reciprocal atrocities. A better understanding of Marx’s contributions in contrast to Marxism’s contradictions could break the intellectual and political grid lock. A consensus could then support economic common purpose as the reasonable alternative to a violent world.
Nantucket, July 24,2004