Marxism Vs. Capitalism


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A comparison and contrast of Marxism and Capitalism or central planning versus economic freedom

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Marxism Vs. Capitalism

  1. 1. Knowledge Area Module 1: Theories of Social Change: Marxism versus Capitalism Student: Allen Carn Student ID # A00133310 Program: PhD in Applied Management and Decision Sciences Specialization: Leadership and Organizational Change KAM Assessor: Dr. Duane Tway Faculty Mentor: Dr. Duane Tway Walden University August 02, 2009
  2. 2. ABSTRACT Breadth In theories of social change, the breadth portion of the Knowledge Area Module (KAM) 1 will examine the theories and actions of Bradford, Marx & Engels, and Weber. The examination will review the authors in relation to three questions. The first question will look at individual responsibility and promoting a free society. The second question will analyze the process by which the individual becomes a productive member of a social economic system. The last question will compare the strengths and limitations of each system while it promotes social change. That analysis will incorporate input from other authors to build an established academic claim in regards to the primary theories of Marxism and capitalism.
  3. 3. ABSTRACT Depth The depth portion of this KAM will consist of an annotated bibliography of 15 articles followed by a literature review of at least 25 to 30 pages. The process of selecting these articles will be focused on peer-reviewed journals, which are related to the concepts of socialism, the free market, and potential impacts. The annotated bibliography will offer a summary, critique, and evaluation of each article. The literature review will assess the relevance of the theories noted in the breadth portion of this KAM. In doing so, the paper will evaluate the concepts of democratic centralism and the modernizing of Weber’s central themes.
  4. 4. ABSTRACT Application In the application portion of this KAM, a comparative review will be conducted using the theories of Weber, Marx, and will include some of the anecdotal evidence of socialism and free market concepts as described by Bradford. Together they will form the foundation, while the studies noted in the depth will serve as the modern interpretations of the foundation. In the discussion portion of this section, I will use a comparative review to assess the current political environment and policies President Barack Obama and his administration are launching.
  5. 5. TABLE OF CONTENTS BREADTH .......................................................................................................................................1 Marxism versus Capitalism .......................................................................................................1 The Individual’s Role...........................................................................................................1 Strengths and Weaknesses .................................................................................................22 DEPTH...........................................................................................................................................33 Annotated Bibliography ...........................................................................................................33 Literature Review Essay ..........................................................................................................57 Democratic Centralism ......................................................................................................58 Modernizing Weber ...........................................................................................................68 APPLICATION..............................................................................................................................76 Comparative Review ................................................................................................................76 Foundation .........................................................................................................................77 Theoretical Updates ...........................................................................................................89 Discussion ........................................................................................................................101 References ..............................................................................................................................114 ii
  6. 6. BREADTH SBSF 8110: THEORIES OF SOCIAL CHANGE Marxism versus Capitalism Often in the study of social economic systems, the conducted analysis is on a theoretical level with historical notes to suggest success or failure of each system. The goal of this paper is to analyze the social economic (or socio-economic) system of Marxism and its various iterations in relation to capitalism and the free market. Socio-economics, in the context of this paper, defines the human interaction in an economic environment. I will use the Plymouth Plantation and the writings of William Bradford as evidence of the successes and failures of socialism and the free market. I will use the recorded events of the Plymouth Plantation because the theoretical concepts attempted during the life and death struggle played a major role in the development of the plantation and what would become the United States of America (US). Specifically, I will focus this analysis on the plantation starting out as a communal effort. Eventually, its leaders had to incorporate free market concepts to maximize an individual’s potential so that everyone would survive. In this paper, I also analyze the writings of Bradford, Marx & Engels, and Weber as a basis to determine the role of the individual to effect change. In addition, I will use these analyses to determine how the individual fits within an established social economic system, and the strengths and weaknesses of the two primary socio-economic systems, Capitalism and Marxism. The Individual’s Role In this portion of the breadth, I will examine the individual’s role in the context of the writings of Marx & Engels, Weber, and the practical situation that occurred at the Plymouth Plantation in the early 1620’s. William Bradford and others at Plymouth made life or death
  7. 7. 2 decisions in the hope of increasing their chances of survival. I intend to use specific details and inferences do to invoke positive social change by an individual. At the Plymouth Plantation, there was neither a right nor a wrong way to accomplish this task. There was only what did happen and what the people intended. To determine the relationship between individual responsibility and the promotion of a free society, according to Marx and Engels, requires an understanding of the Marxist designated classes assigned to individuals. To begin with, Marx and Engels described the proletariat as intellectual revolutionaries with a religious belief in the revolution. For example, the proletariat were “Puritan, smitten with guilt if he partakes of fleshy pleasures and corrupts the purity of his consecration” (1959, p. xii). That passage implied that those who partake in the class struggle to impose Marxism or Communism on the bourgeois as a religious duty. This religious concept becomes implicit when Lewis Feuer notes in the introduction to the Basic Writings on Politics and Philosophy by Marx and Engels, that Marxism was “the first secular world religion. Its dialect was akin to Calvinist predestination; like other creeds, it had its sacred text, its saying, its heretics, its elect, its holy city. If Marx was its messiah, Lenin was its St. Paul” (1959, p. x). For those who were in the party and promoting the revolution, offered them reverence and praise with religious fervor. The religious hierarchal class coordinates and directs every movement of the proletariat.
  8. 8. 3 Those individuals found in the general proletariat, were true source of the revolution’s power. According to Marx, the bourgeoisie exploited the proletariat as they would a piece of machinery. This exploitation was the source of the angst and radical desire to avenge wrongs made against them. (Giddens, 1971, p. 8) This desire to right the historical wrongs included open combat of various forms to overthrow those deemed enemies of the party. (Marx & Engels, 1959) Those in the proletariat required to make the ultimate sacrifice became martyrs and thereby sources of inspiration for future generations. If the individual was determined to be in the bourgeois class, the elite upper class, or somewhere in between, promoting something other than the edicts of the party, they were targets of the revolution since they had wronged and exploited the proletariat. Interestingly, some non- union individuals, who believed they were a part of the proletariat or working class, found themselves targets of the revolution since the grass roots organization of the revolution was typically the (trade) unions. (Marx & Engels, 1959, p 16) Another unique quirk of the Marxist ideology was that those individuals who were in “the ‘dangerous class’, the social scum, that passively rotting mass prepared for the bribed tool of reactionary intrigue” (Marx & Engels, 1959, p 18). Marx does not state the target of bribed tool. However, the obvious choices include the bourgeois and then the proletariat. The bourgeois since it was they who provided the reason for the revolution. In addition, since the bribed tool will become an unofficial arm of government, they can serve a purpose in controlling the proletariat as well. The theoretical process in which the individual can affect social change actually goes through several iterations before a group of worker’s issues consolidates and eventually becomes a national movement. From there, a national movement has the potential to spread to other
  9. 9. 4 nations. However, the starting point begins with laborers who want some measure of control and equality in regards to their daily lives. Eventually, this building anguish leads to the formation of a local union. The unions start out by operating independently of one another and at times can be at odds with another union. During these times, the bourgeois can use proletariat labor to gain market share over or destroy another competing bourgeois company and union. Over time, the number of unionized proletariat swells as industry increases and large numbers of people will consolidate around metropolitan production centers. It is then that unions become regional as they amalgamate into larger ones according to the workforce’s proficiency. As soon as communication and transportation networks become available, a national movement can materialize based on the escalation of local issues. Once nationalized, the infighting ceases and the revolution focuses its attention on the true enemies of the proletariat. As a result, the bourgeoisie have to make a decision, join or die. (Marx & Engels, 1959, p 15-17) During this process, individuals morph into a community of equals. The concept of individuality must be “despised and cast out” (Marx & Engels, 1959, p 23). In addition to individuality, private property becomes property of the community and the state. (Marx & Engels, 1959, p 21) Since Marxism is a secular religion, there remains no need for any known type of state religion. (Marx & Engels, 1959, p 28) Furthermore, the concept of marriage and family is disposed of since it exploits the labor of women and children. (Marx & Engels, 1959, p 24 & 26) Finally, Marxism deemed the family unit concept as unnecessary. The community or regional social organization controlled the education of children. (Marx & Engels, 1959, p 25) What every individual must realize is that for the revolution to be successful in the liberation of oppressed peoples it requires the abolishment of the concepts previously noted. The individual
  10. 10. 5 does not exist; they are merely a cog of a much larger organization. The local party organization maximizes and controls the efforts of the individual. In doing so, the party has the best intentions of the overall good for everyone, because the revolutionary leaders and intellectuals serve the proletariat. Weber had a different tack for the individual to become arbiter of social change. Unlike Marxism, Weber focuses solely on the acts of the individual and their relationship with their God. Weber answers the question of what is the relationship between individual responsibility and the promotion of a free society. He does this first by noting the historical religious utilitarian nature of life and then described the need to maximize an individual’s time spent in the pursuit of a ‘calling’. (Weber, 1958, p. 180) Weber captured this religious foundation combined with the concept of a calling in the title of his book The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. These concepts eventually lead individuals to believe that it is sinful to waste time.(Weber, 1958, p. 157) From this grew the time was money concept in religion, where “it was infinitely valuable because every hour lost was lost to labour for the glory of God” (Weber, 1958, p. 157). The method in which the individual serves God and society in general, which Weber laid out, was from the writings of Benjamin Franklin. As noted by Weber, the condensed list of Franklin’s quotes is as follows: “Remember, that time is money…” (as cited in Weber, 1958, p. 48). “Remember, that credit is money…” (as cited in Weber, 1958, p. 48). “Remember, that money is of the prolific, generating nature” (as cited in Weber, 1958, p. 49).
  11. 11. 6 “Remember this saying, ‘The good paymaster is lord of another man’s purse’” (as cited in Weber, 1958, p. 49). “The most trifling actions that affect a man’s credit are to be regarded” (as cited in Weber, 1958, p. 49). Even the slightest actions can have negative consequences. “Beware of thinking all your own that you possess, and of live accordingly” (as cited in Weber, 1958, p. 50) credit has been an illusion of ownership. This list spoke to several different things; however, the key items included responsibility, maintaining good work habits, having a positive attitude, and living within an individual’s means. Most importantly, only through responsibility did an individual increase his or her freedom. (Weber, 1958, p. 50) Weber went on to say that, Franklin preached utilitarianism, in which the individual does the greatest possible good by maximizing his or her resources. (Weber, 1958, p. 52) This utilitarianism not only provides direction in action, but it also allows each individual to assume responsibility to take leadership and control of his or her own actions. As the individual develops the ability to act responsible within society, then their leadership skills develop proportionally as they act with “clarity of vision”. (Weber, 1958, p. 69) Furthermore, if the individual is virtuous and ethical, then they can “free oneself from common tradition, a sort of liberal enlightenment” (Weber, 1958, p. 70) to a higher plane of awareness. Irrespective of where an individual was on the path of self-awareness, one key concept comes into play, and that was the concept of a calling. That idea was something brought forward from the age of the Reformation (Giddens, 1971, p. 127). Weber considered a calling, one of the most critical parts of the “spirit of capitalism”. (Weber, 1958, p. 180) A calling was something that an individual was extremely adept at doing as he or she lives in moral confines of their
  12. 12. 7 religion. Others defined it as a life’s passion that brought the individual great joy in doing. King (1998) would define a calling as something as simple as going to work and performing one’s duties to the best of their ability. The calling is a mental state where the individual performs at higher level. It is at this higher level where a selfless commitment to duty provided the highest potential for spiritual and monetary reward. (Weber, 1958, p.62) In addition, as a person pursued a calling it was supposed to be spiritually cleansing as it warded off the negative temptations of life. (Weber, 1958, p.158) As Giddens pointed out, “Thus labour in the material world becomes attributed with the highest positive ethical evaluation. The possession of riches does not provide a man with any sort of exemption from the divine command to labour devoutly in his calling” (1971, p. 129). In this concept, if an individual acquires a certain amount of wealth as the fruit of their labor while not doing anything unethical or immoral, then that is seen as healthy. Ending up poor or failing in the pursuit of a calling was unhealthy. (Weber, 1958, p. 163) The only time acquiring wealth was terrible was when it allowed an individual to become unproductive with an exorbitant amount of free time. As the individual becomes unproductive in life, they also become unproductive in the eyes of the Lord. (Weber, 1958, p. 157) Throughout this entire process as laid out by Franklin and the pursuit of a calling, Weber alerts the reader to the dichotomy that existed between working towards a calling and practicing true religion. (1958, p. 183) This dichotomy will be a subject of discussion in the other sections in this paper. While Marx, Engels, and Weber used historical references to support their theories about social change, William Bradford and the rest of the individuals involved in the Plymouth Plantation lived it. Even though they sought religious freedom, they were unwittingly involved in a social change experiment that would have lasting repercussions and provide evidence that
  13. 13. 8 supports theorists--Marx, Engels, and Weber--in various ways. In answering the question what is the relationship between individual responsibility and the promotion of a free society, William Bradford and the others had a taste of both the pooled communal sharing of resources and the unbridled freedom of the free market. In answering the question, it required a brief analysis of their religious beliefs, the communal contract used to start them out, and a letter of advice that understood the arduous task that the Plymouth group signed to complete. The starting point for the metamorphous was the same starting point for the other authors noted in this paper, religion. Unlike the secular religion of Marx, the Puritans of Plymouth Plantation were more in line with the Protestants as noted by Weber. The key similarities were the concept of individual freedom and responsibility. Capitalism or the free market ideas would come later after they arrived in the New World. The Puritans sought freedom of religion, but they also found freedom from the Gospel as Weber suggested. Through hard work and acting responsible, the Puritans would persevere against religious persecution in search of a calling. In paragraphs 61 through 63, an example of the trials and tribulations was noted where some of Puritans were betrayed and arrested. (Bradford, 1908) Through religious persecution, the Puritans’ perception of freedom was honed. With this in mind, the Puritans started out as a community of like-minded religious individuals in search of a new life as they fled from England to the Netherlands. With their belief in the Lord, they would endure more trials and tribulations. They also developed an unbreakable bond that would link them together going forward, for better or for worse. Their lives were in each other’s hands. (Bradford, 1908, ¶ 42) Unfortunately, the Puritans were not alone in their voyage to the new world. They would have other adventurers in their numbers that had different belief systems. This difference in personal responsibility and
  14. 14. 9 societal performance expectations led to confusion and inefficiency that the agreed upon communal system would exacerbate. Before departing, the planters and adventurers penned a contract with the financiers in July of 1620. This contract would serve as the conceptual basis in which a communal organization was to be set up in the New World. The first two clauses of the contract describe how individuals in noted contract were proportioned shares; moreover, it grouped the adventurers and planters as equals. (Bradford, 1908) The third clause in the contract was critical; as it proportioned all remaining items in ‘common stock’ at the end of seven years as laid out in the first two clauses. (Bradford, 1908, ¶ 75) The next clause instructed all able-bodied people to take up specific duties once the community was established. Interestingly, confusion would creep into the contractual agreement with this clause, because it implied that an individual was restricted to do one function or specific functions within the community. (Bradford, 1908, ¶ 76) The fifth clause divided all profits and capital equally while absolving debt. This clause limited the extra incentive needed to survive in extreme situations. (Bradford, 1908, ¶ 77) Clauses six through nine divided profits and assets in regards to individuals settling at Plymouth between the maiden voyage and the closing of the contract. More specifically, the clauses took into consideration the children that come of age during the life of the contract, the children that do not come of age during the contract, and it accounted for the death of individuals. (Bradford, 1908, ¶ 78 - 81) The final clause of the contract defined what was to go into common stock. In addition, it allowed all individuals to have equal access to “meate, drink, apparell, and all provissions" (Bradford, 1908, ¶ 82). This contract had a majority of the components that Marx would have defined as communism. The contract did not contain anything about religion; all work had equal value; the
  15. 15. 10 contract provided equal access to resources to wives, children, and servants; all provisions came from a communal store with equal access; and it implied that all individuals involved in the endeavor were societal equals. Finally, the last piece of evidence was a letter of advice found in a compilation of letters and journal entries compiled by Bradford and Winslow. Both were participants in the Plymouth Plantation. The letter’s relevance to this topic and question was simple. It made suggestions about the survival of the expedition, and it ultimately suggested that a leader might have to do what is right for the group in spite of its wishes or in this case, a previously penned contract. Furthermore, the letter also instilled some democratic reasoning not covered in the contract. Finally, Nathanial Morton was the only person that knew who the original author was because the author signed it only with the initials I.R. The fact that this letter survived many cold and arduous days reinforces its importance. It often referenced God as being a guiding force in the decisions of individuals. The letter offers five points of advice. The first point required individuals to repent daily for sins known and trespasses committed unknowingly. (Bradford & Winslow, 1966, p. B2) The author of the letter (IR) knew that the voyage would be difficult and dangerous, so it would be imperative that everyone maintained a civil attitude and focus inward for self-improvement. (Bradford & Winslow, 1966, p. B2) In the next point, IR talked about group interactions and the importance of patience, not being easily offended, and not wanting to offend others. Despite the religious overtones, this point implied that the group would fail if there were bickering and resentment in the group. (Bradford & Winslow, 1966, p. B2) Point three was interesting since it focused on “… how unperfected and lame is the work of grace in that person, who wants charity
  16. 16. 11 a to cover a multitude of offenses” (Bradford & Winslow, 1966, p. B3). The central point to this theme warned about an individual that continually focused on complaining about all of the minor offenses has lost sight of the group’s needs to survive. In addition, the continual search for charity wasted the energy and time of the individual and lessened his or her utilitarian responsibility to the group. To compound the inefficiency of one person complaining, the individual’s complaining begins to break down the bonds that hold the group together and the overall group efficiency deteriorates. In the fourth point, IR warned about avoiding the “deadly plague”. This plague had the potential abuses of complacency and a lackadaisical attitude in seeking comfort. These plagues may affect an individual or a group by decreasing their efficiency; thereby, hindering the overall effectiveness of the total group (Bradford & Winslow, 1966, p. B4). IR does not note any specifics on the potential abuses, but he or she asked the leaders of Plymouth to pay special attention to prevent the disastrous consequences. Moreover, this became a key and important issue during the second year of the plantation and eventually caused the elected leaders to change Plymouth’s overall socio-economic structure. The final point concentrated on civil government and the responsibility of leadership. IR thought that since there was not anyone of “special eminence” making the trip it would be wise to form a civil government (Bradford & Winslow, 1966, p. B5). People selected for government positions should have characteristics of selflessness, be an arbiter of good, be good and legally responsible in the administration of laws, and as important, were not swayed by the “foolish multitude” (Bradford & Winslow, 1966, p. B5). This last point was important, because it required leaders to make potentially unpopular decisions for the good of the community.
  17. 17. 12 Overall, at the outset of the voyage, there was a combination of factors and beliefs imposed upon the leaders of the voyage. As noted, the religion of the Puritans was at odds with itself when it asked its flock to work towards a calling and the potential escalation in capital. Then there was the contract; it required the planters and adventurers to form the community that had strong communist qualities; and then there was the letter of advice, which opened the door for leaders and individuals to do what is necessary in the eyes of God for the community to survive. From an individual’s standpoint, Marx and Engels’ comments were in line with what was in the Puritan contract. On the other hand, the overall religious nature of the pilgrims and the ultimate responsibility of what one individual does was theirs, not the groups’. This opened the door to social change that would take the group from the concepts of Marx and Engels to the capitalism-free market beliefs of Weber. The Individual and the System This section builds upon the analysis of the socio-economic systems in relation to individual responsibility and the promotion of a free society; it will take things a step farther and answer how an individual is to become a productive member of each socio-economic system. The focus in this section is more on the system versus the individual; however, it does not remove the individual from the equation. Ultimately, the intent is to answer the previously noted question in the context of what it means to the individual to be a productive member of each socio-economic system. This country’s current trend of moving away from Weber’s concept of capitalism towards Marx’s concepts that were inherent in the type of socialism found in Europe provide the question’s relevance.
  18. 18. 13 Marx and Engels answered the question of how the individual was to become a productive member of a socio-economic system in two parts. Once a society reaches a point where it was ready to accept Marxism, Socialism, or Communism, there were two roles that individuals will play to become a productive member. The first role occurs during the revolution phase; the role played by most individuals requires them to be submissive revolutionaries fighting for the party’s supremacy. The submissive revolutionary was a strange contradiction in terms; however, it captured the expectations imposed by leadership upon its followers thereby making them the predecessor to the tortured bi-polar souls described by those that survived communist regimes (Kets de Vries, 2001). After crushing the enemies of the revolution, the second phase began. It required the same individual to evolve in becoming a true Marxist and remain continuously obedient to the party. In regards to the second phase, social change at this point was complete and the party leadership will communicate any other necessary changes. Even before the first or revolutionary stage began, Marx and Engels noted that the “capitalist stage [was a] necessary prerequisite to the establishment of communism in every modern society” (Giddens, 1971, p. 23). There has to be an enemy on which the revolutionaries can focus their energy; in addition, a capitalist society provides a good socio-economic framework to evolve from and eventually take over. As Feuer stated: “Marxism, on the contrary, satisfied the impulses towards hatred and aggression. A religion of pure love has to make some men the bearers of evil. To do the Lord's work against his enemies, to fight the good fight, to “struggle,” as Marx once said, ‘it's man's reality.’” (Marx & Engels, 1959, p xii) With an enemy in mind, the proletariat led by the party initiates the societal revolution. This revolution initially converts private property and bourgeois power to public property and power.
  19. 19. 14 The goal is to separate capital from production, freeing the individual that makes up the modern proletariat. (Marx & Engels, 1959, p 111) The primary focus in regards to Marx’s revolution is the elimination of capital. Capital serves as the foundation of the capitalist economy and it is essential for the revolution to eliminate it for the bourgeois economy to collapse. (Giddens, 1971, p. 34) Since capital is necessary in material and intellectual production, it makes the two dependent upon capital. Thereby, they are also targets of the revolution. (Giddens, 1971, p. 41) In addition to capital, religion becomes another primary target of the revolution. The goal here is to remove the false and misleading religious concept of happiness; this in turn will provide the proletariat an opportunity of real happiness. (Giddens, 1971, p. 7) The ultimate goal, according to Giddens, is to replace religion with humanism, “whereby the love formerly directed towards God will become focused upon man, leading to a recovery of the unity of mankind, man for himself” (Giddens, 1971, p. 4). The elimination of religion forces the proletariat to realize the lie that they are living, while destroying the moral character of their enemies. In addition to the two primary targets of capital and religion, there are other targets once the first two have begun disintegrating. Some of the other targets include: the refusal to adhere to laws created using a capitalistic ethos, the elimination of loyalty oaths, the destruction of competing political parties, gaining control of all media sources, elimination of home schooling, disdain for and resistance to anything that prevented the individual from growing intellectually with Marxist ideology, to name but a few. The revolution would become a holistic social change event; furthermore, “modern socialism is nothing but the reflex in thought of this conflict in fact; its ideal reflection in the minds, first, of the last directly suffering under it, the working class”
  20. 20. 15 (Marx & Engels, 1959, p 91). The revolution is the beginning of all that the individual would ever need to know. The second phase in an individual’s metamorphous comes after socialism’s victory over the bourgeoisie. As the metamorphosis unfolds, the individual becomes a part of society. The metamorphosis becomes complete when the individual loses his or her identity. Communism, Socialism, and Marxism will liberate all people to enjoy the fruits of society as long as the individual “does not subjugate the labor of others” in the process. (Marx & Engels, 1959, p 23) A period of enlightenment envelops the people since Marx “assumed that the proletariat would be liberal, friendly to learning, and truly the inheritors of science and art. The middle classes had produced a renaissance in thought and feeling, and Marx was confident that the working class would do likewise” (Marx & Engels, 1959, p.xiv). Since all work is equal, then all personal choice in life is immaterial only as long as they serve the party. To be an individual in a Marxist, Socialist, and Communist system runs contrary to the party's wishes. Before any bureaucrats acknowledge a single voice, the individual must navigate through various regional party levels. The individual’s primary and foremost duty is to serve the party. The party information outlets dictate the ingrained morality, sacrifices are necessary in order to preserve the revolution, the state, and more importantly, the party. “…To all these socialism is the expression of absolute truth, reason, and justice, and had only to be discovered to conquer all the world, by virtue of its own power” (Marx & Engels, 1959, p 81). Marx’s previous passage appeared was built upon the antiquated philosophies of imperialism, where the absolute truth is actually the stagnation of thought and the expression of freeing the worker is an excuse for world domination.
  21. 21. 16 These two phases, the revolutionary and the obedient worker, define the process of how the individual becomes a productive member of the Marxist social economic system that all other central planning systems mimic to one degree or another. To be free and create social change in a Marxist-like system, the main ingredient of capitalism must be present. From that point, class envy and misinformation sow the seeds of revolution. Eventually, it takes the oppressed worker in the capitalist system and turns him or her into a revolutionary partisan. Once the revolution is complete, the revolutionary icon of the struggle goes home to be a worker where they must not be able to take advantage of the labor’s of others while working for either the state or the party. Weber answered how the individual was to become a productive member of a capitalist social economic system with religious and responsible leadership beliefs. Weber and many other authors were curious about the unique dichotomy in which Western Judeo-Christian religions spawned a work ethic - that if carried out in the correct manner and became profitable - could be viewed as encouraging sinfulness. (Weber, 1958, p. 63) It was at this point Weber injected concepts into his text that guided the businessperson into becoming a responsible leader. “Nevertheless, we provisionally use the expression spirit of (modern) capitalism to describe that attitude which seeks profit rationally and systematically in the manner” (Weber, 1958, p. 64). A good leader that gathers capital through spiritual guidance formed the much-hated bourgeoisie as defined by Marx. In turn, this made them the primary targets of the Marxist revolution. The spiritual guidance came in many forms according to Weber; working hard was equivalent to cold showers and a healthy diet in order to avoid sins of the flesh. (1958, p. 158) Weber continued this line of reasoning, which has evolved primarily through the Protestant religious ranks, when he stated that not working hard in your calling was sinful and the penalty
  22. 22. 17 for this sin was not eating. (1958, p. 159) Even more so, to be a devout follower of the faith, an individual must try to take advantage of the opportunities presented to him or her by the divine will of God. If they choose not to then they deny the will of God. (Weber, 1958, p. 162) Giddens noted that Protestants developed a much more rigorous brand of discipline than the Catholics, after the onset of capitalism. (1971, p. 125) Despite the reality, that “Protestantism broke with the monastic ideal of Catholicism”, this monastic idea was a concept that Protestants did not accept (Giddens, 1971, p. 131). In some regards, capitalism was an unintended consequence of those trying to be productive in the eyes of God. Furthermore, if an individual was able to gain more capital than the next, this outcome was “Divine Providence”. (Weber, 1958, p. 177) The religious acceptance of working towards a calling allowed individuals the opportunity to excel due to a God given skill, knowledge, system, etc. The assumed expectation was that if they did not succeed they were not trying. Rightly or wrongly, this allowed the individual to tap into their inner passion and expertise in order to gather capital. If it is permissible to gather as much capital as possible, where does the individual draw the line at in order to remain pure in the eyes of God? To start with, the individual must have a calling since “A man without a calling thus lacks the systematic, methodical character which is, as we seen, demanded by worldly asceticism” (Weber, 1958, p. 161). Using a calling as a professional goal, the individual must work in order to maximize his or her professional efficiency, because it has the potential to “serve the common good, which was identical with the good of the greatest possible number” of people (Weber, 1958, p. 161). Maximizing resources is a necessary leadership trait of capitalism that makes it self-sustaining and thereby a key mannerism of capitalism. The selection process of leaders was a system that “educates and
  23. 23. 18 selects the economic subjects which it needs through a process of economic survival of the fittest” (Weber, 1958, p. 55). The controlling mechanism to curb the leader from being predatory is the leader’s belief in God. The Judeo-Christian moral and ethical ethos guides the leader through the pitfalls of all the deadly sins in a manner that God would approve (Weber, 1958, p. 176 & 177). If a leader or businessperson treats others unethically, then they were shunned and casted out. The consequences of continued unethical behavior, defined as “acting in a manner society disapproved, unlawful, not dutiful to the church and the community, or unprofitable”, was that nations and societies would de-evolve and “continually crying out for government aid” (Weber, 1958, p. 65 & 66). In summation, a person in Weber’s capitalist system was “characterized by a unique combination of devotion to the earning of wealth through legitimate economic activity, together with the avoidance of the use of this income for personal enjoyment” (Giddens, 1971, p. 126). God endorsed and condoned this activity, since inactivity was determined to be the deadliest of sins. Consequently, this had been “rooted in a belief in the value of efficient performance in a chosen vocation as a duty and a virtue” (Giddens, 1971, p. 126). The result was a self-sufficient individual that acted in accordance of a God fearing responsible leader no matter what their vocation may be, especially since the individual was supposed to be a leader in his or her own personal and family life. Self-leadership has been an essential ingredient of survival in a capitalistic system. The individuals involved with Plymouth Plantation had a unique take on the theories and historical perspectives of Marx, Engels, and Weber. By contract, the people of Plymouth started out with Marxist-like shared labor outputs. However, this communal environment caused
  24. 24. 19 confusion, low productivity, and varying work expectations. The inability to be efficient in a hostile environment was counterproductive to the group’s survival. That reality required the leaders of Plymouth to take action and create a free market atmosphere in order for the community to survive. This next section will take examples as documented by William Bradford and apply them to the question how did the people of Plymouth become productive members of each social economic system. It will note the incidents that lead up to the changes incorporated by the leadership at Plymouth during the leanest of times. It was the winter of 1622 and 1623. Mr. Weston and another group of pilgrims and adventurers had landed in Cape Cod area during the summer 1622. Mr. Weston’s group started out with enough provisions to last through the winter. Unfortunately, they squandered the provisions making them dependent upon the Plymouth colony, passing ships, and any friendly Native Americans. (Goodwin, 1920, p. 208) In the dead of winter, Weston made several forays to acquire provisions from the Plymouth colony. The Plymouth colony, having gone through a very light harvest, offered what provisions they could afford. Prior to June of that year, the Plymouth colony was already living on half-rations due to a poor harvest the previous year. (Goodwin, 1920, p. 205) The individuals at Plymouth offered Weston and his group beaver pelts to trade despite their need to use the beaver pelts for much the same reason and there was an actual concern that other individuals at Plymouth might mutiny if they found out what had happened. (Bradford, 1908, ¶ 215) Ultimately, Weston became bitter for having to beg for provisions that he thought were communal property. (Bradford, 1908, ¶ 215) After the second year in row of low harvest yields, the struggling Plymouth colony was not prepared to help any other colonists. Despite this, they offered what they could.
  25. 25. 20 Another misunderstanding in regards to expectations occurred after the arrival of new Plymouth colony settlers. The new settlers, not having gone through the trials and tribulations of the first year, had a different set of work priorities and became dependent upon the common stores. For example, on Christmas day a group of new settlers refused to work due to religious reasons, the rest of the colony went out to work in the fields. Upon returning, the majority of the group that stayed back due to religious reasons were frolicking and playing games in the street. This angered those that worked causing Bradford to castigate those that remained behind. (Bradford & Winslow, 1966, p. 10) Even though this specific issue never occurred again, the colonists could not overcome a growing systematic problem. Individuals who had survived the previous winters at the Plymouth colony realized they could no longer honor the contract and maintain a communal organization. Their lives depended on changing the socio-economic structure if they were going to survive. Up until 1623, the contract restricted individual potential and it did not efficiently utilize the population to address seasonal realities that came with collecting resources. Since the colony struggled the first two years, there were several discussions and meetings about improving corn harvests and better crop yields in general. Circumstances forced the individuals of Plymouth to make a critical decision. Instead of waiting until the end of the seven years, Bradford proportioned out the communal land to individuals for the use of farming as stated in the original contract. The newly proportioned land altered the inheritance clause. The need to survive overrode any potential inheritance a sibling may get after the contract expired. This made everyone farmers, since farming was the primary way in which the colony was going to survive. Farming made everyone very industrious and maximized the potential output of the colony by
  26. 26. 21 allowing families and groups of individuals to control and maximize their own efforts Women and children were working in the fields after this decision, because much of their survival was in their own hands and not dependent upon the labor of less efficient or unproductive hands. (Bradford, 1908, ¶ 216) This fundamental change from a communal concept to a free market concept was very successful “for it made all hands very industrious” (Bradford, 1908, ¶ 216). The success of going from a communal effort to a free market endeavor had Bradford wondering about the thought process of the ancients. This communal idea, he wrote, “applauded by some of later times; -that the taking away of propertie, and bringing in communitie into a commone wealth, would make them happy and florishing; as if they were wiser then God” (Bradford, 1908, ¶ 217). This was not the case at Plymouth, “For this comunitie (so far as it was) was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and retard much imployment that would have been to their benefite and comforte” (Bradford, 1908, ¶ 217). To define labor by sex, age, or any other means was very disconcerting, because some individuals had talents to do much more than the specific tasks they were restricted to perform. They often felt offended, as if they were a slave to the system, disrespected, dependent on the work ethic of others or others less qualified, and it had the unintended consequence of breaking the will of the community. If conditions were different, for instance their belief in God and their leadership was less than it was; chances were the colony would not have survived. (Bradford, 1908, ¶ 217) The social change that occurred when the pilgrims eventually settled at Plymouth required a multi-talented industrious individual to fit within the confines of a communal organization often discussed by Marx and his followers. Due to the struggles with weather, one of the surrounding Indian tribes, low crop yields, the confusion of work duties and loads, and a
  27. 27. 22 host of other issues, the colony was slightly improving from year to year. With new arrivals, the colony went from surviving, to the verge of collapse. The individuals at Plymouth scrapped the communal concept that required each individual to adhere to a centralized plan; free market capitalistic concepts espoused by Weber replaced it. The issuing out private property to families and small groups generated positive social change because it was the critical step in changing a colony barely surviving into a thriving colony. In order for an individual to become a productive member in the new Weber like socio-economic system at Plymouth, the individual had to rely on their God given potential and ability to maximize their labor. Strengths and Weaknesses In reviewing the strengths and weaknesses of the previously described Marxist and Capitalist socio-economic systems, as it related to the individual, any assertions will be supported or refute by the experiences of Bradford and the individuals of Plymouth Plantation. For example, at Plymouth, the roles were interchangeable because landowners and laborers needed to perform the labor to survive. However, the labor and the laborer to Marx were tools to manipulate in order to unite the laborers and push a revolutionary social agenda. In order to consolidate and build power, trade unions gathered the labor force in the hope to maximize effectiveness. As for Weber, the laborer was an individual that could be treated as nothing more than a piece of machinery to perform labor; however, with opportunity, skill, and hard work the individual could change his status and serve an integral role in society. As with Plymouth, status was interchangeable. The irony here was that both socio-economic systems offered its own brand of redemption while at Plymouth, redemption was a luxury of the dead. Nevertheless, this section
  28. 28. 23 will examine the strengths, the weaknesses, and then apply them to the events at Plymouth. The focus of this analysis was not to favor one system over another; it is to note any inconsistencies in the comparison of the purported systems to a real-life situation. The best socio-economic axiom that described Marx’s vision was found in his Critique of the Gothe Programme, the slogan was “From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs” (Marx, 1970, Part 1, p 5). However, to get to Marx’s axiom, there has to be progression socio-economic evolution that required “radical or revolutionary political changes alter the structures (necessary conditions), by virtue of which the mechanisms exist, in this case by expropriating property capital and nationalizing land” (Sayer, 1992, p.112). Sayer’s comment emphasizes the requirement that capitalism needs to exist before Marxism, Socialism, or Communism can take over. The theory was that as the more capitalism increased, the more the separation between the working class and the business owners grew. (Giddens, 1971, p. 11) The ground in which the revolution was to be grown from was made fertile from this diverse perspective of class and labor. In quoting Marx, Giddens noted, “‘the worker becomes an ever cheaper commodity the more goods he creates. The devaluation of the human world increases in direct relation with the increase in value of the world of things’” (1971, p. 11). With the defeat of Capitalism, Marxism would return the individual to a naturally creative state while working to improve the newly formed society. (Giddens, 1971, p. 15) It is here that Sayer notes, “anti- Marxists are particularly fond of giving enormous prominence to the handful of predictions made by Marx and Engels. Yet compared to their commitment explanation, Marx and Engels took little interest in prediction” (Sayer, 1992, p. 130). To Marx and Engels, the eventual role that
  29. 29. 24 Marxism, Socialism, and Communism would play in future events was the natural order of things in human development. With deliverance via revolution, it frees the conscience of the worker from the burden of religion. The focus of this new society would be on humanistic interaction of all people to bring forth a heaven on earth. “As a secular world religion, Marxism furthermore offered its rewards on this earth. Other religions had postponed happiness as he get in another realm, but Marxism could claim to speak for the foreseeable future” (Marx & Engels, 1959, p. xi). As previously noted, Feuer made the claim that Marxism is the world’s first secular religion with its hierarchy, religious sites, saints, and sinners, but to the worker it offered a path of human enlightenment while working for the party that had its rewards on earth. (Marx & Engels, 1959, p. x) With the defeat of religion, the ethics and morality that allowed the development of capitalism would collapse as well since it would be unfounded without its religious framework. It was ironic that the followers of Marx, a man that ridiculed ethics in politics, was propped up as a religious ethical icon of their socio-economic system. “Nevertheless, despite his contemptuous rejection of ethical terms, Marx stands out as among the imposing ethical personalities of modern times” (Marx & Engels, 1959, p. x). Humanistic need and laws based on a Marxist society handed down from the core of the party would fill the void created by the absence of ethics. To stop the exploitation and parasitism of the class system required the elimination of anything created by or corrupted by a capitalist system, which was the goal of Marxism as it related to the individual. The weaknesses of Marxism were many and most emanate from some of its core beliefs. Marxism was an aggressive, socio-economic philosophy that is committed to the never-ending
  30. 30. 25 class struggle and the consolidation of power. It is a belief that always searches for the Demon within us all while claiming and demanding love and adoration. The consolidation of power lies within the iron fist grasp of the ever-knowing, ever-caring intellectual. “Marxism, which declared itself the harbinger of a new international order has, in partial fulfillment of its prophecy, polarized the nations into power blocs” (Marx & Engels, 1959, p. ix). Some may say it also brought the death of millions of human beings as well. Despite being the first secular religion, the truth of Marxism according to Marx is that “it also offered the pains and sorrows of asceticism” (Marx & Engels, 1959, p. xi). In reality, what Marx offered the individual was a struggle to replace one taskmaster with another one that was kinder, gentler, smarter, and more understanding of the struggle. The irony to this, in a free society, the individual was his own taskmaster. One of the key objectives in the Marxist class struggle would be the elimination of classes. According to Sayer (1992), classes as they were before the revolution would not immediately disappear and when they did, they would actually reform in response to the edicts of the state and the party. The classes would reappear in a different manner because of regulations and controlling entities. Instead of capital, information will be the common commodity. In regards to ethics and the controlling of information, as previously noted, Marx despised ethics and required the elimination of all the ethical notions of the previous system in lieu of historical necessity. However, as Feuer noted in the introduction to Basic Writings on Politics and Philosophy, Marx’s “Soviet adherents have used his doctrine of historical necessity to justify an era of repression and denial of human rights” (Marx & Engels, 1959, p. ix). In a system where information becomes critical, necessity will determine the use of factual references to the past.
  31. 31. 26 The distortion of history becomes another casualty of the revolution, since as Giddens suggested (1971), that socialism was about forgetting the past and looking towards the future. Conversely, Hayek (2007) would argue against ignoring the past since disastrous consequences for humankind would await those that followed the path of Marxism, Socialism, and Communism. If Capitalism precedes Socialism, then Socialism precedes Totalitarianism (Hayek, 2007, p.67). One final note, at one point Marx tried to calculate the capital transformation process in volume 3 of Capital. His intention was to explain the process using mathematics; unfortunately, Marx reached a roadblock and his mathematical expressions were meaningless since they were dealing “with a hypothetical close systems at a high level of abstraction…” (Sayer, 1992, p. 190). The great irony, with Marx’s failure to use mathematical logic to explain a critical aspect of his theories, he had to fall back on what the other religions had to use to promote his interpretation of history and a never-ending class struggle looking for world domination, blind faith. In comparing, Marx’s theories to what occurred at the Plymouth Plantation there were two issues that required the leaders of the plantation to incorporate social change. This social change took the plantation from a Marxist-like society to a more open free market society. One thing to note before going into detail about the issues, in defense of Marx, a majority of the planters were self-sufficient industrious individuals who were accustomed to multi-tasking, which was essential to survival. This could have lead to some of the confusion. Even though a form of labor exploitation, it would have been unwise to take a group of individuals use to multi- tasking, change their expectations, and then drop them into a life or death situation. In adding to the confusion, one of the main issues was the prearranged divisions within labor that limited efficiency and potential. The fourth clause of the contract required individuals
  32. 32. 27 to take up specific duties in the community, as noted by William Bradford, the clause limited the individual’s potential and the group’s efficiency. When the individual had completed their required tasks for the day or week, they were not required to perform other tasks despite having the ability or the potential to do more. According to Bradford, there was attrition due to death and sickness. Due contractual constraints, it forced those that were capable to do more to ignore the loss of production caused by illness or death since the new task would lie outside of their division of labor. The idea of equal pay for equal work was counter productive to the plantation’s survival since it emphasized equal inefficiency. When being paid the same, why should one individual work more than another? The next issue builds upon Marx’s premise that Marxism required a capitalistic or a wealth creation structure before implementation. However, due to bureaucratic control that strangled productivity and potential, Marxism was never to be more than a low or no growth society. This became more evident when Marx stated that one individual “does not subjugate the labor of others”. (Marx & Engels, 1959, p 23) What the planters and adventurers eventually realized, “life is a gift not a given” (author unknown). Everyday the people of Plymouth had to get up and survive; it was simple to write in the contract that all of an individual’s needs would be in a common store. However, maintaining inventory in the common store proved to be difficult for various reasons based on inefficiency and confusion. When another plantation assumed they would have availability of Plymouth’s common store, the inventory problem was exacerbated. The concept of all of Plymouth’s needs being available in a common store was erroneous to the people of Plymouth. When reviewing the strengths and weaknesses of Weber’s capitalist theories, a sense of cautious optimism overcame the reader. The optimism came from Weber’s use of the word spirit
  33. 33. 28 in the title of the book, the spirit was as much about working and performing in society with a self-driven purpose as it did with the religious connotations. On the other hand, caution comes from Weber’s concern about the increase in capitalism and its potential negative side effects. The next paragraphs will review these strengths and weaknesses; in addition, it will compare them with the actual results that occurred at Plymouth. While Marx endorsed a system that placed the individual second while proclaiming its strength was in the communal effort, Weber believed the strength of the system was with a group of individuals united in a common cause. Weber described the Protestants as people “who had grown up in the hard school of life, calculating and daring at the same time, above all temperate and reliable, shrewd and completely devoted to their business, with strictly bourgeois opinions and principles” (Weber, 1958, p. 69). When an individual dedicated him or herself to their calling, their current lower class was a temporary condition. With an inalienable right to pursue the calling, the only boundaries imposed upon the individual were those bestowed by the church and the society in which they lived. This unbridled pursuit that had “the highest ethical appreciation of the sober, middle-class, self-made [person]” unleashed a vastly superior potential in everyone while in the pursuit of efficiency (Weber, 1958, p. 163). Even though low wages was permissible by the church as efficiency increased, the reality was such that a capitalist system discouraged low wages because skilled labor could find work elsewhere. (Weber, 1958, p. 61) A society created through the efficient use capital allows individuals to maximize their potential. (Weber, 1958, p. 53) “What was condemned as covetousness [by the church], was the pursuit of riches for their own sake” (Weber, 1958, p. 172). This ascetic belief engrained by the church into its followers had two affects that were utilitarian in nature to promote a more efficient societal
  34. 34. 29 growth. The first affect of this ascetic belief required individuals not to squander resources on luxury items. However, the use of wealth to promote efficiency or well-being within the town or society was highly encouraged. (Weber, 1958, p. 170-171) As a matter of their perception, “Labour in the service of rational organization for the provision of humanity with material goods has without doubt always appeared to representatives of the capitalistic spirit as one of the most important purposes of their lifework” (Weber, 1958, p. 75-76). The potential energy unleashed on society took a majority of the individuals from the decrepit conditions of the feudal system to productive members and thereby increasing the standard of living for all individuals, not just the bourgeois. Like Marxism, free market and capitalism does have its weaknesses. The focus in this section will be on the role of religion and how without its morality, capitalism can reduce individuals to nothing more than a machine. One of the main points brought out by Weber was the role of religion in curbing what Marx’s would call the predatory nature of capitalism. Weber himself laments that the moral and ethical barriers would erode as capitalism became more successful. (1958, p. 175) As evidence to this fact, Weber noted, “the people filled with the spirit of capitalism to-day tend to be indifferent, if not hostile to the church” (Weber, 1958, p. 70). The reason for this hostility was that the church had become as intrusive, rightly or wrongly, in the economic affairs of business people just as government had been doing. (Weber, 1958, p. 72) The responses ranged anywhere from indifference to open hostility. This, in theory, opened the door for individual business people to take advantage of situations for the sake of profit only and allowing them to purchase luxurious items once forbidden. The balanced dichotomy tilted towards sinful acts against the church and society as working in the duty of God became an
  35. 35. 30 outdated concept. “The pursuit of wealth, stripped of its religious and ethical meaning, tends to become associated with purely mundane passions, which often actually give it the character of sport” (Weber, 1958, p. 72). Weber used the US as an example where the calling was reduce to nothing but a sport. As noted, the individual working to aspire to be more, if not treated well was treated with the indifference or, worse, as a piece of machinery (Weber, 1958, p. 51). When coupled with potential of “absolute and conscious ruthlessness in acquisition, [this] has often stood in the closet connection with the strictest conformity to tradition” (Weber, 1958, p. 58). This applied to both religious and non-religious business situations where the freedom offered was nothing more than illusion because the worker could not generate enough wealth to improve their station in life. (Giddens, 1971, p. 123) Regardless of what the individual worker tried to do while working for low wages, the individual would never be more than an indentured servant on a tether. When new markets opened up, the available resources could become a battleground for the unscrupulous leaving the local inhabitants on the outside looking in as others plundered their resources. These were the concerns of Weber as capitalism and an increase in wealth potential became reality in some situations throughout humankind’s recent growth. Comparing the strength’s and weaknesses of Weber’s system to the reality of the events that transpired at Plymouth, the allure of freedom that brought most of the immigrants to Plymouth had slowly changed to a life and death struggle. The dire situation required fundamental and dramatic change since the contracted socialist system collapsed because it could not sustain any substantial growth over time. Plymouth adapted a free market system that would be more in line with Weber’s vision. “The spirit of capitalism, in the sense in which we are using
  36. 36. 31 the term, had to fight its way to supremacy against the whole world of hostile forces” (Weber, 1958, p. 56). Capitalism as a system unleashed the potential of all individuals in a society, thereby increasing Plymouth’s chances of survival. “A society can be created when the potential of individuals was harnessed thereby creating capital and or an increased efficiency” (Weber, 1958, p. 53). Did an American Indian tribe play a role in the survival of Plymouth as portrayed in modern history books? Yes, they did, however, their support was limited because they had to survive themselves while fighting off other aggressive tribes. At times, the friendly Indian tribes were dependent upon the Plantation for protection. The real socio-economic change that allowed the Pilgrims to survive was one that took Plymouth from Marx’s point of view to Weber’s while turning the plantation into a thriving endeavor for all involved. In conclusion, the individual’s role in either Marx’s or Weber’s socio-economic system had systematic risk and reward potential. With Marx, the risk was a systematic approach and the expectation for the individual required them to make sacrifices for the greater good of the revolution that would then launch a system of theoretical equality. The reward was a utopian theory of societal equality. Unfortunately, a political intellectual class at the party level that determines the direction of the masses dramatically distorts Marx’s vision of equality. The ultimate failure in the system became evident when Marx was unable to demonstrate mathematically the capital conversion from a Capitalist society to a Communist, Marxist, and Socialist society. In addition, Marx knew that socialism was not a capital creation process since his theory of socio-economic evolution had Socialism following Capitalism. This also became evident at the Plymouth Plantation where a socialistic concept sowed inefficiencies in labor that almost reaped destruction for the plantation if not for a bold change. Weber had a different take;
  37. 37. 32 he based his system on individual risk and responsibility. Laws, social moral norms, religious beliefs, and work ethic controlled the system he envisioned. The individual had the responsibility to make his or her life productive while in search of a calling. The reward was not riches; it was serving a purpose and working to achieve a higher state of understanding while pursuing a calling. The capital gathered during the pursuit was a tool to achieve further understanding and pursue even larger dreams. Like Marxism, it had its drawbacks, one of which was Weber’s fear of a capitalist society turning into a godless predatory society where the restraints imposed by social moral norms and religion were lifted under the guise that laws could be created to replace them. If left unattended from a moral and ethical standpoint, it would breed as many tails of sorrow as there were success stories. Despite the negatives, the potential for growth would be unmatched by any other socio-economic system as the Plymouth planters and adventures discovered. For many, the variants of Marxism provided the illusion of a salvation on earth; however, history has proven it has provided nothing but hell on earth. Despite what history has proven there are still many enamored with the socio-economic philosophy of Karl Marx. The next section will provide a modern twist on the knowledge previously gleaned from Bradford, Weber, Marx, and Engels. It is yet to be determined if the theorists noted in the depth will solve the answers that have escaped many for decades. Furthermore, will the theorists in the depth answer the question; is there anything about Marxism that makes it a philosophy of positive social change? From what Bradford has written about concerning his experiences at Plymouth, his answer would be no.
  38. 38. DEPTH SBSF 8320: CURRENT RESEARCH IN ORGANIZATIONAL AND SOCIAL SYSTEMS Annotated Bibliography Ambrose, D. (2002). Socioeconomic stratification and its influences on talent development: Some interdisciplinary perspectives. Gifted Child Quarterly; 46; 170-180. The qualitative article reviewed the affects of socio-economic stratification on education availability to low income families that have gifted children. Ambrose compared diverse socio- economic theories of Milton Friedman and John Galbraith to specify why social stratification occurs and why there should be more government intervention in bridging the economic gaps. Ambrose noted another issue, how does an agency define who was or was not eligible; this was intended to include “Giftedness, Intelligence, Talent, and Merit” (Ambrose, 2002, p. 176). Ambrose wrote the article to promote awareness and activism to helping gifted disadvantaged children. However, Ambrose did not look into existing systems, such as a voucher system that allowed disadvantage children to go to better schools that helped encourage intellectual growth. Ironically, Ambrose’s solution required more government involvement when it has been the government that shut the door on the successful voucher and charter school systems forcing disadvantaged children back to their typically decrepit, inner city school where the emphasis has not been on schoolwork, but survival. The value this article offered was insight into the dichotomy that has been pervasive in the educational system for sometime. Activists want more intervention by the government, when it has been the government knocking down bridges built to span the socio-economic gaps. The article appeared to want a Marxist-style governmental intervention by requiring all children to
  39. 39. 34 attend state ran education system. However, it did include some individualistic concepts similar to the theories of Weber. If an underprivileged student did qualify, they could receive opportunities to better schools that are more suited to their ability and potential. Unfortunately, this will end up making those disadvantaged children a hotly debated political issue for generations if an alternative does not come from the private sector. From a social systems standpoint, the premise of this research article does little for the societal advancement. Andolšek, D. & Štebe, J. (2004) Multinational perspectives on work values and commitment. International Journal of Cross Cultural Management, 4(2), 181–209. This interesting quantitative article looked at values and the level of commitment of workers from the countries of East Germany, Japan, Slovenia, the United Kingdom, the US, and West Germany. The paper first defined commitment in the context of an unbiased international perspective. Commitment was determined to be a dependent variable and types of commitment were used, “affective (AC) and continuance (CC)” commitment (Andolšek & Štebe, 2004, p. 182). The conclusion was that the USA ranked the highest in AC while Japan ranked the highest in CC, while all of the countries noted developed predictors that explained their relative AC and CC scores. The study was interesting since the cross sections of countries sampled included both individualistic and collectivist countries. In some regards, the study mentioned that struggling economies or economies in transition often left people insecure and less committed to their employment (Andolšek & Štebe, 2004, p. 203). In addition, the authors noted that efficiency or best work was something in which collectivist countries scored higher. This result was very
  40. 40. 35 surprising in many ways since communist countries were never known for their efficiency, while Japan and the USA, who were known for efficiency, were rated lowest. Two things that were not in the study, but which should have: 1) upward mobility and 2) unemployment rate of the sampled areas. Both of these could have skewed the results one way or another. Since the exploitation of labor was a primary part of Marx’s theories, the value of this article suggested that in order for the transition to socialism to begin a division between management and the workforce needed to occur. According to the authors, lowering the AC scores in individualistic countries created this necessary division. In lessoning the commitment and increasing the insecurity, the result would be the increased possibility of a class warfare struggle. This approach would distort the Marxist reasoning for a revolution. However, if the end justifies the means, would this really stop anyone from taking advantage of the system? Angle, S. (2005). Decent democratic centralism. Political Theory, 33; 518-546. In this qualitative study, the author examined the potential of democratic socialism that appears to have germinated in China. The study examines the Chinese version of democratic socialism by asking whether it is legitimate and sustainable. The author’s approach to answering the two questions used John Rawls’ concept the “Law of the Peoples” as quoted on page 520. “The ‘Law of the Peoples’ is an international perspective on social justice in which it is acceptable to have international laws overruling any national or state laws. This eventually led Angle to incorporate a ‘global philosophy’ in his conclusion whereby a decent democratic centralism can be the prerequisite to liberal democracy.” (2005, p.539)
  41. 41. 36 In the end, China would be more politically correct than the hard line they typically take with their people and other countries. The author does concede that the Chinese regime has been brutal over the years. Consequently, change would require support from the international community and any change would be slow in coming. Based exclusively on theory, Angle’s article disregarded evidence that decent democratic centralism was equivalent to a benevolent dictator giving away token freedoms to appease the people. In addition, the concept of being decent has subjective connotations allowing questionable interpretations. There would be the presumed arrogance in claiming that one country was decent without some type of empirical criteria. Rawls’ foreign policy concepts do not free anyone if they require “well-ordered people” as he suggested. (Angle, 2005, p. 540) The value that this piece offers was that a class struggle or revolution was just an illusion because in the end Angle and Rawls want to create a system made up with “decent hierarchical people” (Angle, 2005, p. 520). This hierarchy supports Sayer’s claim that class systems never go away, they just reshape themselves in to the needs of the present. Angle made an eye--opening point when he linked China’s constitution to Lenin and then subsequently linking it to Marx and Engels. (2005, p. 525) Whether Angle realized this or not, he used Russia and China as an example of countries that were built upon the socio-economic belief of democratic centralism, the same two countries which have been the most brutal towards their own people. What the author does not address sufficiently was the balance of power between the people and the government. If balance is not achieved, then the decent society is nothing but an illusion controlled by an iron fist of the government.
  42. 42. 37 Ardichvili, A. (2005). The meaning of working and professional development needs of employees in a post-communist country. International Journal of Cross Cultural Management, 5; 105-119. This qualitative study looked at the transitional affects of going from a centrally planned economy to a free market economy on 260 engineers from four large Russian corporations. The basis of the study was on the Meaning of Work (MOW) questionnaire that had “six valued work outcome dimensions” (Ardichvili, 2005, p.105). The author also looked at the potential differences between respondents from Moscow and Vladimir. The author concluded that the family came first with work being second. Family was the only category in which Vladimir’s respondents finished higher than Moscow’s. In every other category, Moscow’s respondent scored higher. With regard to work, the reason some of the engineers enjoyed work was the ability to network, while others thought work was satisfying and interesting. There was little difference between the respondents from the national capital (Moscow) and a rural city (Vladimir) located a 179 kilometers from Moscow. The article was a condensed version of the actual study; additionally, the study admittedly focused on one professional trade. With a limited cross-section of the workforce, the potential that the study’s results were skewed increase. For example, engineers used in the study may have had a degree of freedom not found in the common workforce. One other critical point to note, the focus of the study was to be on the transitional affects of switching from communism to a free market system. It appeared to be more concerned with current mindset of Russian engineers. Furthermore, three of six hypotheses (H3, H5, & H6) assumed too much without some type of
  43. 43. 38 study to indicate the engineer’s prior work-related beliefs during the years of communism. The previous point could have been a victim of the condensation of the article. Interestingly, the author highlighted some of the differences between the classical Marxist and the communist society that dominated the Russian people for decades. The respondents scored family and social relationships the highest. After capital and religion, the breakdown of the family unit was a Marxist objective. Social relationships may have been the result of pent up energy released after years of oppression. Another interesting fact was that the community and religion scored the lowest in that order. Much like social relationship, the negativity toward religion that emanated from the Russian government through the community to the individual was apparent. More specifically, religion was one of the primary targets of the Marxist secular revolution so it was not surprising that respondents scored it the lowest in both cities. Ardichvili, A. & Gasparishvili, A. (2003). Russian and Georgian entrepreneurs and non- entrepreneurs: A study of value differences. Organization Studies; 24; 29-46. The authors of this quantitative study used “Hofstede’s work-related cultural values framework” to evaluate the similarities and differences between studies conducted on Russia and Georgia over a span of approximately 10 plus years (Ardichvili & Gasparishvili, 2003, p. 30). Since earlier studies used the Hofstede method in comparing the two countries, it was again in this study as well to compare the results over time. The Hofstede method looks at Power Distance Indicators (PDI), Individualism (IND), Masculinity (MAS), Uncertainty Avoidance (UAI), and Long-Term Orientation (LTO). The study had three hypotheses that looked at all five Hofstede cultural values in different ways: the first tested to see if there were differences between
  44. 44. 39 the two countries. The second tested to see if entrepreneurs were different from managers and employees in both countries. The third tested was to see if entrepreneurs were higher than non- entrepreneurs were on four of the five indicators with a UAI expectation being lower. (Ardichvili & Gasparishvili, 2003, p. 34-35) The study produced mixed results with some being “counterintuitive” in two of the five cultural values while some of the results actually contradicted earlier studies (Ardichvili & Gasparishvili, 2003, p. 39). With the mixed results of the study, the first question that comes to mind concerns the validity of the Hofstede method being used to track cultural differences over a prolong time span. The authors of the article actually questioned several different things about the outcome. Two concerns included the events within the time span of the study and sample bias. Both could suggest that the Hofstede method has an emotion-based element that could skew the results within the current study as well as over time. Another issue that the study did not address was the impact of technology on strong secular societies, a blurring of societal norms could be occurring over time because of the Internet. Consequently, the results of the five work-related cultural values were mimicking populous trends not depicting the individual’s personal value system. Unfortunately, the article has limited value despite the potential it offered to the discussion in comparing Marxism and Capitalism. It is regrettable that the study did not dig deeper into the fundamental core beliefs of the tested individuals since this would have increased the probability of evaluating generational belief systems while excluding populous bias. One final note, there appears to be bias in some articles about “Western [socio-economic] theories [being] grounded in Protestant work ethic” (Ardichvili & Gasparishvili, 2003, p. 30). This final note was prevalent in other articles; the literary review will address this reoccurring theme.
  45. 45. 40 Cavalcanti, T., Parente, S., & Zhao, R. (2007). Religion in macroeconomics: a quantitative analysis of Weber’s thesis. Economic Theory 32, 105-123. The authors of this quantitative study attempted to answer a question posed by Weber himself, what are the quantitative results of the Calvinistic work ethic on societies and the world? (Cavalcanti et al, 2007, p. 106) The authors of this paper took Weber’s implied question one-step farther and compared the differences between Protestants and Catholics. Despite having similar religious roots, the main difference between the two religions was an understanding of a calling and using a utilitarian systematic approach while working towards a calling. The paper establishes several mathematical theories that attempt to quantify religious beliefs, technological adaptation, demographics, profit and utility maximization, and competiveness in it various forms. The results of the study were inconclusive since it could only explain differences between northern and southern Europe, but it could not explain differences between Europe and Latin America. (Cavalcanti et al, 2007, p. 106 & 121-122) The study was too restrictive in that it only examined the impact of religion regarding the spread of Capitalism. Religion was only one factor in allowing an individual to reach his or her God-given potential. The current socio-economic governmental policies and corruption play a large role in how well the individual can maximize his or her potential. For example, Hayek (2007) would note that evolution of European-style socialism played a significant role in England’s decreasing and then stagnating economic growth rate in the output per capita during the mid to late 1900’s. In addition, totalitarianism, fascism and socialism crept into countries like Greece, Italy, and Spain slowing their progress. Finally, most countries in Latin American suffer
  46. 46. 41 from corruption, socialist and totalitarian revolutions, or oppressive regimes. In those socio- economic environments, there is little chance of an individual having enough freedom to pursue a calling efficiently. The article explained why a capitalist system does not automatically transcend systematic understanding of its fundamentals to other religion and cultures. The value that this article offered was in the reality that one religious belief alone does not spread capitalism more effectively than another does. Granted, Catholics were slow in adapting free market concepts as the study did indicate; however, the type of government played a significant role on how well an individual could maximize their talents. For example, at the outset of the Plymouth colony, the contract prevented the Protestants from maximizing their opportunity and hindered their incentive to do more than they were required to do. It was only after numerous hardships did the leadership of the Plymouth colony provided the free market atmosphere for an individual to truly bloom. Jackson, K. T. (2006). Breaking down the barriers: Bringing initiatives and reality into business ethics education. Journal of Management Education, 30, 65-89. The qualitative study recommended the incorporation of ethics into day-to-day business activities. The study suggested that the business people of tomorrow “must follow social mandates”, be sensitive towards legalized ethical standards that come as a result of corruption cases, “integrating ethics into all facets of business”, and balance the cultural ethical inconsistencies that come about due to globalism (Jackson, 2006, p. 66). Jackson concluded that business educational courses should take a four-step approach that elevated the importance of
  47. 47. 42 reputational capital, have course tools that develop ethical theory and critical thinking, encourage inter-business disciplinary ethics courses, and elevate the abilities of the teacher in order to teach ethics correctly. A business or culture mirrors the ethics and morality of its leaders and more specifically its political leaders. The study was trying to address a symptom of a much larger issue that occurs with the policy makers in Washington D.C. and other international governmental organizations. One of the first things the article mentioned was that an individual or business must follow social mandates; however, what if the social mandates were wrong? For example, the United States Congress, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac forced mortgage companies to give out subprime loans in order to offer low-income families an opportunity to own a home. The faltering economy forced banks to foreclose on loans; however, the banks bore all of the blame for corrupt business practices such as predatory lending. This article demanded that the businessperson be ethical; however, to be ethical would require them not to give out the loan in the first place. This would have put them at odds with their social mandate. One of Weber’s main concerns as Capitalism progressed was that religion and its moral and ethical ethos would decrease. The intent of this paper was to reinstall ethics into a majority of the business community that had long ago given up religious ethics and morality. Despite the criticisms offered in the previous paragraph, the primary goal of the paper was to eliminate or reduce the “distant, even contradictory, relationship [that] exists between economics and ethics” (Jackson, 2006, p. 66). The pursuit of this goal needs elevated to a position that it can have a positive impact on society as a whole. This pursuit requires a search for the true root cause that focuses on systematic corruption and then cascaded down to businesses and other schools of
  48. 48. 43 thought. The first spot for the development of ethics should start with public administration and political science degrees in addition to business degrees. Kets de Vries, M. (2001). The anarchist within: Clinical reflections on Russian character and leadership style. Human Relations, 54; 585-627. This qualitative study reviewed the affects of central planning on the Russian psyche since the days when czars were in control. The author’s descriptions of the Russian character give the reader an impression that the people of Russia suffer from a split personality disorder. For instance, the author quoted Nikolai Nekrasov when he wrote, “Wretched and abundant, Oppressed and powerful, Weak and mighty, Mother Russia” (Kets de Vries, 2001, p. 586)! This quote accurately captured how the author described the Russian people. Most of the article evaluated the Russian character based on three clinical psychoanalytic paradigms. The paradigms were 1) “A rationale lies behind every form of irrationality”, 2) “much of the people’s motivation is unconscious”, and 3) “our behavior is very much a product of previously learned behavior patterns” (Kets de Vries, 2001, p. 587). The article paints the Russian people as individuals that suffered from systematic abuse. The article was informative and brought to light numerous quirks within the Russian people, whom for the most part, were both oppressed and creative individuals. Overall, the article tried to complement the Russian people on what they have endured and how they have adapted to horrid conditions that existed from the days of Czars. Unfortunately, for the Russian people, the conditions were worse under Stalin and his great purges, which ultimately led them to their current purgatory of democratic centralism. One thing that made this article unique was its
  49. 49. 44 dependence on Russian literature to help build a case in regards to the three psychoanalytic paradigms. In addition to literature, open-ended “explanatory interviews were conducted in a semi-structured fashion” (Kets de Vries, 2001, p. 588). The authors did arrange this kaleidoscope of thought in a concise manner. This article was valuable, because it provided proof that corruption and abuse did creep into the utopian ideology of Marx that formed the communist dogma, which in turn dominated the Russian people for decades. It brought out the reoccurring Marxist concept of “suffering is a virtue” (Kets de Vries, 2001, p. 594). In addition, it noted the role of socialized education system that supplanted the parent’s role of being the moral arbiter and teacher. Another item of importance was democratic centralism, “For many party officials, however, democratic centralism was nothing more than a slogan used to suppress disagreement and genuinely free discussion” (Kets de Vries, 2001, p. 618). Finally, ever since the Russian people had to adapt to a secular religion, they have been without a moral compass. As a result, this has hindered the development of the Russian economy into a market economy. Novak, M. (2005). Max Weber goes global. First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion & Public Life, 152, 26-29. EBSCOhost database. The focus of this article was not to criticize Weber, but it offered an expanded view of Weber’s theories to include other religions that provided momentum to the global capitalist movement. Novak quoted a former Marxist, Jagdish Bhagwati, using his statistics to prove his point concerning the power of capitalism, “poverty rates in China, which were 28% in 1978 that dropped to 9% in 1998”; in addition, “in India poverty rates were 51% in 1977-78 and the fell to
  50. 50. 45 26 percent in 1999-2000” (Novak, 2005, ¶ 22). According to Novak, Weber was right on one very important and critical point. Success was a conscious choice. Success was dependent upon the individual’s level of desire to improve his or her current condition while practicing sound economic principles. Furthermore, poverty and the inability to better oneself was a choice as well. The article noted the contributions of other religions but focused most of its energy on Catholicism providing examples of contributions by the Cistercians, Dominicans, and the Franciscans. Novak mentioned that Weber missed the point about Catholicism since he only focused on the Benedictine interpretation Catholic asceticism. Furthermore, a certain religious belief system was not a prerequisite for Capitalism to spread. Successful countries similar to Japan prove Novak’s main point. Consequently, there must be something natural about capitalism that it can transcend various religions except for the secular religions. In the secular religions, the power of the individual has been either suppressed forcing them to conform to a national or an international concept of fairness. The importance of this article was that it did highlight Weber’s main concern about Capitalism gaining momentum to the point where it became a soulless entity devouring the weak. However, Novak offered a different alternate ending to Weber’s soulless quagmire. (1958) Novak quoted Abraham Lincoln in offering a prediction as to what will happen if capitalism where to continue to grow, “most favorable – almost necessary – to the emancipation of thought, and the consequent advancement of civilization” (2005, ¶ 21). The problem with Lincoln’s vision was that those that ultimately benefited from the socio-economic prosperity would openly undermine and discard prosperous socio-economic principles for a historically suspect system.