Re: Marxism (was: Commie Nonsense)

From: Max More (
Date: Thu Jun 22 2000 - 17:15:46 MDT

At 12:40 PM 6/22/00, you wrote:

>Max More wrote:
> > (I dislike the term "capitalist"--the
> > term was coined by Karl Marx, who understood
> > nothing about human capital.)
>A bit extreme, what!

Okay, probably a *little* extreme, but not far off. I have actually read
his economics and studied Marxism thoroughly. Marx's sharp distinction
between workers and capitalists strongly suggests to me that he did not
appreciate the nature of human capital. Capital to him was material stuff
accumulated by a capitalist class. If he did have the notion of human
capital, how could he make such a radical distinction between worker and

I'm not saying that Marx was an idiot for this. It's reasonably
understandable at the time of his writings, during the late Industrial
Revolution, that he didn't appreciate human capital--knowledge, innovation,
coordination, exploration, etc. But, combined with his mistaken labor
theory of value, it produces disastrous errors in his economics. (His labor
theory of value also attributes all value to physical labor, ignoring the
role of knowledge, coordination and other forms of human capital.)

I go beyond merely seeing Marx as mistaken in his writing and actually
think he was probably intellectually dishonest, but it was clear at the
time of his writings that the wages of workers were, contrary to his
theory, going up. That was a natural result of slowing population growth
and increasingly competition for labor.

>Marx boned a LOT of things, and I'm constantly amazed that there
>are so many people who call themselves Marxists without any
>irony or qualification (neo-, quasi-, etc.).

I'm surprised too, though I've found many many Marxists who *do* qualify
their views--Frankfurt School, Gramsci, Lukacs, Marxist-Leninists,
Trotskyites, etc. My experience may differ because I was surrounded by so
many Marxists of various stripes as an undergraduate.

Anyway, this came up simply because I noted that I prefer to use "free
markets" rather than "capitalism" since the latter term was coined by an
enemy of markets and may carry connotations of class divisions which are
increasingly irrelevant.


Max More, Ph.D.
President, Extropy Institute.
CEO, MoreLogic Solutions. or

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