What are the strengths and weaknesses of Marxism?

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One strength of Marxism is its idealism. It works to expose injustice and fervently believes that all people should be treated with equality and dignity. It asserts that everyone should share abundantly in the wealth of a society. In its vision of a classless world, in which there is no sexism, racism, or ethnic discrimination, it holds up a compelling image of a better life for the exploited. Like Christianity, it too offers hope of a "New Jerusalem": according to Marxism, the inevitable end of history is the throwing off of the yoke of oppression and the creation of a truly just society that will wipe all tears away.

On a more practical level, Marxism offers good ideas for alleviating economic inequality, such as lowering interest rates to almost zero to spur economic development and taking out the drag of other "rents" in the economy that produce nothing and yet suck out money that could be employed for useful purposes.

It rightly questions whether it is better to build a highway that can carry goods to a distant location or erect a garish palace as the monument to one person's ego. It argues for the social benefits of free education, free health care and state run utilities—benefits that can be adopted even by an economic system that does not want to come near to embracing Marxism.

On the negative side, however, a major weakness of Marxism is that it leads to state tyranny. When the state owns everything, it can easily repress individual freedoms, behave arrogantly, and badly misallocate resources. Classic Marxism sees this period of state ownership as a temporary experience that will end with the withering of the state in favor of a utopic anarchy, but it offers no realistic path for achieving this goal.

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Marxism is designed to do away with poverty--the state controls the means of production and allocates these according to one's needs.  Everyone is supposed to work hard and contribute to society.  This is supposed to be a type of utopia.  During the 1930s Marxism grew in popularity in the United States because the Soviet Union had such low unemployment numbers.  

 

In reality, Marxism has the capacity to be quite corrupt. This is in part because so-called "Marxist" states usually violate key principals of Marxism. When states have tried to implement a version of Marxism, bureaucrats often take more than their fair share while the people suffer. Additionally, without incentive, people lose their willingness to go "above and beyond" to get a job done.  People might do shoddy work in order to meet mandated quotas of production. Without individual incentive to improve, economic life could stagnate under Marxism.  Marxism is designed to create a utopia, but it fails to take human nature into account and one of it's greatest weaknesses is that it seems impossible to truly implement.

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The major weakness of Marxism is that it does not seem to work in the real world.  This is because it does not take into account the essential greediness and selfishness of the human being.  Marxism relies on people to work hard just because they should and to forego the ability to get rich from their efforts.  Unfortunately, in the real world, this does not happen and Marxist economies have always been inefficient and unproductive.

The major strength of Marxism is a theoretical one.  In theory, it would be a much more humane way to run a society.  It would be much better if we could have societies where no one oppressed any one else and where no one was poor.  This is what Marxism promises (though it has never been able to deliver it).

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