Morty’s Question of the Week (#2)

The back story: This question should be filed under political philosophy because, having read Marx, I’m interested in the philosophical underpinnings of his ideas. However, I’ve been told by professors that, in some ways, Marx was really a romantic poet. I think they meant that his ideas are based on fairly romantic premises. One is that workers always have the welfare of their fellow workers in mind when they act collectively.

The question: Is there an example of a successful communist government in the true Marxist sense of that word?

A minor qualification: By successful, I mean a government that held Marxist ideals while implementing them for the benefit of its people.

Answer (by BP): In a word, no.  I have been trying to rack my brain to think of a single example of a government that fits your criteria.  There have been a number of countries that have called themselves “communist” but that doesn’t mean that they have actually put in place policies that were aimed at helping all the people of their countries.  Sure, there have countries that tried to help their citizens, but they have not gone to far as to be communist.  And there have countries that called themselves communist but were really just socialist dictatorships (e.g. China or the former Soviet Union).  So I would have to say that there have not been any countries that have successfully pulled this off.

The reasons for this are much more difficult to understand.  I think that you would have to look at each country individually to see how each went in the wrong direction.  I would simply say that it is often difficult to get those in power to share that power with others.

“Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”  – Lord Acton (1834-1902)


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