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Critically Evaluate with Emphasis on Its Contemporary Significance, the Theory of Value as Conceptualised by Karl Marx

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Review: Critically evaluate with emphasis on its contemporary significance, the theory of value as conceptualised by Karl Marx.

Eagleton, T. (2012) Why Marx Was Right. Yale: Yale University Press.

Heilbroner, R. (1999) The Worldly Philosophers: The Lives, Times and Ideas of the Great Economic Thinkers. London: Penguin, 83-98.

Wolff, R. (1985) Understanding Marx. New Jersey: Princeton University Press.


    Does Marxism still have contemporary significance in the world? This review will seek shed some light on this question through an examination of the three texts above. These texts will give different analysis of Marx’s thoughts; Eagleton will disprove the inaccurate understanding of Marxism, Heilbroner will focus on the political philosophy of Marxist, and Wolff will give a comprehensive explanation of Marx’s thinking. Despite the very different parts of the Marxism that these three texts focus on, all of them concern how Marxism related to social status as well as how to use Marxism to understand this world.

This book Why Marx Was Right refute the world's erroneous understanding of Marxism through a large amount of positive evidence and further clarifies the feasibility of operating a market economy system under the guidance of Marxist theory. The author Eagleton hopes to clarify people's misconceptions about Marxism. There are ten most common criticisms of Marx: The evolution of capitalism has brought about the dilution of class differentiation and the enhancement of social mobility. It is not the brutal capitalist world that Marx criticized, and Marxism is out of date. The practice of Marxism must be accompanied by the tyranny, and the disappearance of a free market will inevitably mean the loss of human freedom and the shortage of goods. There exists an iron law of history and the fatalism in Marx's historical philosophy, which is a neglect of the free will of man. Marx's communist society is a Utopia, disregarding the sinister human nature and envisioning everyone as a beautiful individual. The economic determinism in Marxism is too one-sided. Marx's materialism has shown disregard for the spiritual aspect of the human. The classism of Marxism is behind the times. Marxism advocates violent political struggles. Creating a comprehensive and powerful nation is
a Marxist’s idea. Marx's theory did not adapt to the tide of the new social movement and emphasized that the Marxist labor movement is no longer the mainstream of today's social movement (Eagleton, 2012).

Eagleton first analyzed the position of human nature in the framework of Marxist theory. Secondly, he criticized the purely materialism with the body as the representative of emotion or the opposite of reason. In the second perspective, the author analyzes the relationship between the individual and the state. In his analysis, first of all, Marx does not expect to establish a centralized state, but rather an advocate of democracy. Nevertheless, he advocates not a capitalist democracy but a socialist democracy based on mass autonomy. Secondly, the author Expounds the possibility of the coexistence of communism and market economy. Subsequently, Eagleton analyzes the nature of labor in Marx's mind to refute the people's imagination of Marx's utopia. The author's third perspective attends the perspective of social change. Firstly, he analyzes the dynamic mechanism of change - the contradiction between class struggle, productivity and production relations. Secondly, Eagleton attempts to defend Marx's philosophy of history as far as possible and achieves a balance between the initiative of human autonomy and the inevitability of history.

In the context of globalization, various chronic diseases within capitalism have emerged. From the disparity between urban and rural areas to the problem of economic plunder, coupled with the corruption demonstrated by global hegemony in the financial tsunami, there are indications that the opportunity for the whole world to re-understand and reflect on Marxism is emerging. The practice of Marx’s philosophy is deeply connected with the contemporary problems and the basic background to overcome the spilt and conflict (Lai and Lin, 2008). Through evaluating the theory of the Marxist, it determines a new method to encounter the challenges of today’s world.



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