Marx & Capitalism Essay

Marx & Capitalism

To discover what globalization of capital means, an overview of the man whose ideas flood the gateway of capitalism must be undertaken, and examined.  Though Marx himself wasn’t a capitalist, his writings on capitalism are still widely held in view today.  Capitalism is mainly and chiefly about an inherent impetus for technology and social innovation, as Hudis writes in his 2001 article, Marx in the Mirror of Gobalization,

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As Marx saw it, capitalism is not only about the production of material goods and services, but also about the production of value.  Labor, in Marx’s view, is the source of value.  And the magnitude of value, he argues, is determined by the amount of socially necessary labor time it takes to produce a given commodity.  Marx held that there is a continual contradiction between these two purposes:  producing for material wealth and producing for value.  As productivity rises, more goods are produced in the same unit of time, so the value of each commodity falls.  The increase in material wealth corresponds with a decline in the magnitude of value-that is, production costs fall and prices tend to fall as a result.    Hudis, 2001.

In different countries the labor market presents itself so frugally which in turn harbors other countries to suffer from the low cost of goods being imported.

            In the struggle of dominance and power, countries are prone to replace value with numbers, which causes a nationwide if not worldwide effect.  In America this is overtly true, as the market system prizes surplus product made cheaply rather than valued goods made with worth.  Marx’s statement about wealth collides with the ideas of value.  In the contradiction, in economy terms, wealth overshadows value to an extraordinary degree and what results sometimes is a struggle between trading countries in either the import of cheap goods or the export of high quality goods.  The decline in value in goods, in capitalism, is a risk.  The funds needed to support the production are in jeopardy when trying to maintain a high production output.  To counteract this problem, a capitalist will try to advance productivity, and since the greater the amount of export produced, the better the opportunity to receive a high dividend.  As Hudis writes,

The best way to increase productivity is to invest in labor-saving devices.  The resulting growth in productivity, however, reproduces the initial problem, since the increase in material wealth leads to a further decrease in the relative value of each commodity.  Capitalism is thus based on a kind of treadmill effect, in which the system is constantly driven toward technological innovation regardless of its human or environmental cost.  The restlessness and drive for innovation that characterize contemporary high-tech capitalism was long ago anticipated by Marx.

In Marx’s view, the unremitting improvement and productive increase ultimately proceeds with blatant discount of national borders.  The ingenious of capital was that it created a world market.   As Hudis writes of Marx’s ideas on capital, “National restrictions on the movement of capital would eventually have to be lifted, he argues, because capital must constantly find new markets to absorb its ever-growing productive output”.  This process then leads to the pinpointing and centralizing of capital, and a ‘relative immiseration’ of the mainstream population.  The essence of capital is to increase production by ‘labor-saving devices’ (which could mean through technology or machinery to cutting down the cost of workers through foreign market places).  Due to the fact that workers do not own capital but do own their own initiative and labor power, social wealth conglomerates in the hands of less and less people.  As Hudis states on this subject, “Many consider this confirmed by the growing inequities that follow from the globalization process, as indicated by the fact that 225 individuals now control more wealth than half of the world’s population”.  What testifies to this factoid is that labor saving techniques or dead labor induce in the population a level of comfort that their jobs are being done for them which leaves them more leisure time, which in turn aids in the economy because the workers use their money to insure that their leisure time isn’t thwarted.  This is true for most capitalist societies, and is especially prevalent in the United States.

            In the interest to returning to the idea of globalization, Marx and Engels write,

“Modern industry has established the world market.  All old-established national industries have been destroyed.  They are dislodged by new industries whose products are consumed in every corner of the globe.  In place of the old wants, we find new wants, requiring for their satisfaction the products of distant lands and climes…All fixed, fast-frozen relations are swept away; all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify.  All that is solid melts into air” (From the Communist Manifesto cited in Michael Elliott’s 2001 article, The Wrong Side of the Barricades).  In this statement, the idea of mom and pop shops, of locally owned businesses, have fallen, and the idea of world trade and major corporations capable of mass trade, have risen up, and typically stayed at the top of the economy game.

Work Cited

Hudis, Peter.  Marx in the Mirror of Globalisation.  CYREV: A Journal of Cybernetics   Revolution, Sustainable Socialism, and Radical Democracy.  Issue 7, Spring  2001.

Marx, C., and F. Engels.  Communist Manifesto.  Online.  Accessed:  25 September     2007.  <>


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