“In a higher phase of communist society ... after labour has become not only a means of life but life's prime want ... only then can ... society inscribe on its banners: from each according to his ability to each according to his needs!” (‘Critique of the Gotha Programme', p. 569). Explain and critically assess Marx's conception of communist society. In Critique of the Gotha Programme, written in 1875, Marx distinguishes different stages of communism from “crude communism” to a “higher phase of communism”. He defines crude communism as “a communist society [which has not] developed on its own foundations, but on the contrary, [has] just emerg[ed] from capitalist society” . According to Marx, although it represents a more equal society than a capitalist society, inequalities still exist among people. In a crude communist society, “the individual producer receives back from society ... exactly what he gives to it” , so “the right of producer is proportional to the labour they supply” . According to Marx, this function still creates inequalities since “one man is superior to another physically or mentally and so supplies more labour in the same time, or can labour for a longer time” . Moreover, workers have different needs with respect to their familial situation –they can be married or not, have children or not– so if two workers give a same amount of labour, and hence receive “an equal share in the social consumption fund, one will in fact receive more than another” . So the crude communist society “recognizes no class differences, because everyone is only a worker like everyone else; but it tacitly recognizes unequal individual endowment” and is therefore an unequal society.
[...] She argues the moochers seem benign but are arguably more destructive than the looters, and criticizes the legal looting of governments intended to help them. In response, Marxists usually argue that if you refer to such things as food, education or medical care needs are objective and are more or less equal between individuals. Since communism eliminates private property, there is no need for people to hoard things that they do not actually need. However Marxists recognize that some people, like the elderly or the chronically sick, need more resources than they can produce. [...]
[...] In most of the societies nowadays, wealth is distributed with respect to what people gave to society: people receive different wages according to the work they did and the qualifications they have. But according to Marx, this repartition reproduces the natural inequalities between people. According to Plato, inequalities are natural and inevitable. We could then argue that only society can compensate unequal skills and abilities and put everybody on an equal footing. However, Plato uses this idea of natural inequality to justify the existence of a ruling class. [...]
[...] By this phrase, Marx means that, under a communist system, every person contributes by working hard at what he or she is good at, being equal to his neighbour despite the different jobs they accomplish, and each person receives back the fruits of his contribution and other's contribution in accordance with his needs, irrespectively of what he has produced. Since everyone has their own skills and abilities, they should be assigned to tasks that are based upon those strengths. judge two men and regard one than the other based on what field his competence is in would be immoral and unjust in the eyes of Karl Marx. [...]
[...] A very good example of communities functioning according to the Marxist conception is the Kibbutz, which are collective intentional community in Israel. In Kibbutz Samar, for example, members work where they feel they are needed, without any formal assignment. There is no longer an open cash box, but members still have a communal credit card account. Family spending is made public each month : some families spend more than others during certain periods, but the transparency and small size of the community creates social pressure to keep spending under control. [...]
[...] For Adam Smith, this type of society cannot function because of human nature: in The Wealth of Nations he argues that people are naturally self-interested and have an inevitable selfish desire to be wealthy. So there would always be people, called “free-riders”, that would cheat the system and to receive the benefits without working. This lack of labour would create a lack of products so there will not be enough to sustain the society sufficiently. “This utter chaos and rebellion would lead to the destruction of the society and the downfall of that civilization”. [...]
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