Marx vs. capitalism

I read John Hughes, ``Marx got it wrong,'' June 21, enthusiastically. Mr. Hughes underscored what the world needs to hear. Underlying Marx's central thesis was the assumption that the fundamental element of capitalism is accumulation of wealth. Wrong! The fundamental element of capitalism is the efficient use of capital.

Profit is not an end in itself, but rather the means to an end, since it operates to allocate resources based on greatest demand.

Marx's focus was merely to write about the weak side of human nature, call it an economic law, and imply that there exists a material science to counter it. Wrong again, Marx! The central focus of economic theory must acknowledge man's higher nature.

Thanks, John Hughes, for the rousing headline and current examples that illustrate Marx was wrong. Wade H. Tisdale Jr. Columbia, Mo.

Mr. Hughes's concern for the Soviet and Chinese economies is misplaced. Not only have their economies not ``progressed limply under Marxism,'' as Hughes asserts, they have sustained high average annual growth rates of gross domestic product: 5.8 percent and 6.4 percent, respectively, for the period 1960-82. US rates for the same period average below 4 percent (UN data).

Hughes further asserts that ``the mood of salesgirls,'' the ``astonishing changes'' in ``the drab monotones of dress,'' and the development of ``an appetite for consumer goods which will be difficult to turn off'' all attest to the success of the experiments with capitalist methods under Deng Xiaoping. If his views are an accurate representation of the US government's views, and this is the best documentation of the ``fruits of capitalism'' he can muster, a serious reevaluation of our society's goals is in order. Todd S. Foglesong Palo Alto, Calif.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published and none individually acknowledged. All are subject to condensation. Please address letters to ``readers write.''

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