Philosophical Notes: Introduction To Marx's Communist Manifesto

The Communist Party not only controls the means of production but also attempts to control the beliefs of the people. A guide to socialist interpretations of different social elements.

Karl Marx and Fredierich Engels' "Manifesto of the Communist Party" expressed the candid views that capitalism is merely an evolutionary phase in our overall economic development, and that it would ultimately self-destruct and be replaced by a world where private property no longer existed. As strong advocates of a labor theory of value, Marx and Engels believed that because production rests in the hands of laborers, this makes them the most valuable members of society. They additionally contended that the market system allows capitalists to exploit workers by denying them a fair share of what they produce. Marx and Engels predicted that capitalism would result in gradual and increasing devastation for workers, and that as competition for profit led capitalists to adopt labor-saving machinery, the workers those machines had replaced would rise up in revolt and regain control.

Within The Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels described an international or world market being fueled by the widespread invasion of capitalism which resulted in the mass alteration of traditional methods of production. Although this entailed higher expenditures, this was, according to Marx and Engels, a necessary step towards a socialist society. However, in order for a socialist revolution to take place, a bourgeois revolution must have occurred first. In other words, the material conditions had to exist before the transformation could take root.

According to Marx and Engels, the capitalist class not only controls the means of production but also attempts to control the beliefs of the people. They claimed that capitalism promotes an ideology which is actually comprised of distorted truths and warped realities designed to serve the interests of the corporate elite only. Since the fundamental principle of Marx and Engels' thought is that economic conditions determine all social arrangements, human relationships, thought, and values, then it is only natural that any economic or political model used would filter into other aspects of life.

Terms such as "free market" the "laws" of supply and demand are, according to the document, merely myths propagated to serve the interests of capitalism. It is further asserted that not only do the capitalists control the market, but they control supply and demand as well. This implies stringent manipulation on the part of the corporations and mass gullibility on the part of the people.

A true market system, according to the authors, occurs when certain items are produced for consumption by the general population. The more people want a certain item, the more of those items are produced. If supply cannot meet the demand, prices will rise. Of course, if prices go too high, fewer people will purchase the items, which can result in an unwanted surplus of goods. The same situation will occur if prices remain stagnant, but more items have been produced than consumer demand requires. Both of these instances should eventually lead to lower prices, but Marx and Engels conceive that since the capitalists control supply and demand, prices fluctuate only according to their own self-interests.

The communist manifesto denounced capitalism for a variety of reasons but the most obvious of those reasons is that denouncing capitalism in turn promotes socialism, and that was at the core of Marx and Engels' objectives.

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