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I don’t think capitalism and communism can be effectively compared

December 10, 2010

This essay is about Howard Bloom and Karl Marx. For those of you who don’t know, Howard Bloom is the author of “The Genius of the Beast: A Radical Revision of Capitalism”, a capitalist manifesto of sorts. For those of you who haven’t been awake for the last week in class, Marx is the author of the “Communist Manifesto.” A prominent idea of Marx’s was that Capitalism was a phase of the evolution of human society which would eventually lead to the penultimate communism. Bloom argues that capitalism is intrinsic within us and is humanity’s best path to achieve all that is possible.
It’s extremely odd, because the two are polar opposites. Howard envisions that boom and crash will inevitably be part of humanity and is good. That expansion and digestion, which he calls a “secular genesis machine,” has been with us since the first cells came into being and has powered the human race for its entire existence. On the other hand, Marx believes that utopia will be achieved when there is no more boom and crash. The odd part in there, is that I agree with both of them … sometimes, I think. After studying Marx in class, reading Bloom’s book (which I highly recommend), and then trying to make sense of the two in context to each other, I believe that you can’t compromise one with the other. I believe this because they have different visions of what a utopia should be.
In Marx’s mind, a utopia means you’re not forced to work the job that don’t want to, that we’re all equal, and government is no longer necessary. In Bloom’s mind, utopia is where boom and crash has pushed humanity far beyond its humble origins in not only technological or political terms, but in culture and creativity. Furthermore, I don’t think it’s always appropriate to argue to correctness of a philosopher’s ideas about government. I believe it’s more important to look at how they define a utopia. Mill’s “idea marketplace” and insistence on openness would lead to a society where over time only the best ideas and beliefs exist until finally we have no more public opinion, but rather truth. Hobbes would simply envision a perfect society where everyone is a cog in a crystalline, indestructible pyramid where the king’s at the top. So how then are we to debate between these writers’ ideas on governing, when these writers have different ideas of what that governing should ultimately lead to?
Instead of always shouting over which system “works” better, it would be a much better use of time if we discussed what a system is working towards.

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