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Why the Marxist Explanation of the European Crisis is Wrong Iakovos Alhadeff

I am not a specialist on Marxism, and I have no intention of becoming one. Time is limited and you have to choose what to learn and what not to learn. But Karl Marx is always fashionable. In my document hy Marx was wrong!, I explain why Marxism is based on wrong foundations, as all rational economists recogni"e today. In this document I would li#e to examine Marxism in the context of the current financial crisis. Most people that you hear today tal#ing about Marxism have no idea about what Marxism really is. hat they are basically saying is that capitalists exploit wor#ers during the production process, and therefore wor#ers do not receive their true contribution to production, but they only receive a very small part of this contribution. $ccording to Marx most part of this contribution is stolen by capitalists. Marx called this stolen value the surplus value of labor!. %or more information on the concept of the surplus value of labor see wi#ipedia http&''en.wi#ipedia.org'wi#i'(urplus)value The whole concept of the Marxist surplus value is wrong. The thing however is that today*s ignorant +uropean Marxists, use this argument in a simplistic way to explain the crisis. hat they say is that capitalists exploit wor#ers more and more, and as a result wor#ers receive a decreasing part of their contribution to production. $s a result their purchasing power is falling and they cannot absorb the wealth produced. The wealth produced is accumulated by capitalists and there is an overproduction crisis. To summarize, their basi argument put into a senten e, is that !orkers re eive an unfair, small, and de lining part of their ontribution to produ tion, and they therefore annot absorb this produ tion" And they have to borro! from the apitalists in order to neutralize the fall in their real in omes, and be able to sustain themselves" And this is the reason they laim that people are so indebted today" I must say that this #ind of reasoning is not put forward by Marxist economists or theorists, but by ignorant people who thin# they #now what they are tal#ing about. But it is this #ind of reasoning that you are li#ely to come across in the social media. $nd this #ind of reasoning is problematic in many respects. But for us, the +uropeans and the $mericans, it is not only problematic. It is a ,o#e. Most +uropean countries and the -.(.$. were for many years running deficits in our trade relations with the rest of the world. Thin# of a world that produces only tomatoes. These countries were for instance exporting .// tomatoes and were importing .0/ tomatoes. $nd they were borrowing from the rest of the world in order to cover for these trade deficits. But a country that is running a trade deficit it is not exporting surplus value of labor!. It is importing surplus value of labor. I hope this is clear. If the -.(.$. for instance is importing 1// tomatoes and exporting only .// tomatoes, its total labor contribution

to production is staying within the borders of the country, and the country imports additional labor power from the rest of the world. I believe everybody understands that, and there should not be any disagreements. 2ne could argue though, that domestic capitalists have at the same time stolen the surplus value of domestic wor#ers, and they have also stolen the surplus value of labor of foreign wor#ers 3through imports4 and this is the reason the country is indebted. That of course raises the 5uestion why the foreign capitalists left domestic capitalists to steal the surplus value of their wor#ers and did not steal it themselves. But let*s forget about that. 6et*s ma#e things simpler. It must be #ept in mind that for someone to even tal# about Marxian theory, he must believe that the real wealth he produced was greater than the real wealth he consumed. $nd I am not tal#ing in monetary terms but in real terms. %or someone to tal# about Marxism, he must believe that he produced ./ tomatoes in the last ./ years and he consumed only 7. If he thin#s he produced 7 tomatoes and consumed ./, there is no way that someone could have possibly stolen his surplus value of labor!. +ven if he consumed these ./ tomatoes by borrowing it still ma#es no difference. The fact remains that he consumed more than he produced. I hope this is very clear. If I produce . tomato and consume ..0 tomatoes, I borrowed somebody else*s product of labor. $nd therefore one has to be honest when answering whether he produced more goods than he consumed in his life. $nd in reality we are not tal#ing about tomatoes. e are tal#ing about schooling, medical services, automobiles, trips and holidays, restaurants, houses, clothes, computers, cell phones, studies etc. 8id the average +uropean and $merican produce more than he consumed in order to claim that someone stole his surplus value of labor!9 2r did he steal:borrow! the surplus value of labor! of poor people in exporting countries li#e ;hina and India9 Because if the loans that we, the +uropeans and the $mericans, owe to such exporting countries are not paid bac#, it is these people that should claim that we have stolen their surplus value of labor. $nd therefore socialists should be the first ones to demand that $merican and +uropean loans are paid bac# to the exporting countries. $t least they should as# so, when it comes to countries li#e ;hina and India, where the average citi"en is much poorer than the average +uropean or the average $merican. But what do we see9 e see that such people are always the first to say that debts should not be paid bac#. These people are an embarrassment for Marxist theory. $nd they cannot even be sincere to themselves, and admit that they consumed so much more than they produced.