Commie, NGO type, Kanahaiya supporter, anti-development and even Maoist sympathizer: these are some terms used on internet to troll someone holding a certain world view. The same world view once made Che Guevara - a hero (and, now a t-shirt icon), Fidel Castro – a revolutionary and Karl Marx – the most influential intellectual of 20th century. Not always, communism was defamed to this extent. In India, from 50s till 70s, there was a serious discussion on how imminent was the communist revolution. Red was the future! Bollywood stories often drew inspiration from communist ideology. Communists were a moderately strong political force – the second largest and first non-congress party to rule a state. However, since then, the ideology has consistently lost its ground. Even at the global level, communism witnessed the same fate. Once more than 35 countries were ruled by the communist regimes, now just five. The communist ideology, once viewed as the only alternative to capitalism and a ray of new hope, has severally been disgraced. So, what went wrong? Answer of this question lies in the heart of the factors behind the phenomenal rise of this ideology.
Charm of communism:
At the face of it, the idea of communism is fascinating. This utopian philosophy, first introduced by Karl Marx, pronounces that countries would eventually be replaced by boundary-less, self-governing, equal societies. No one will be rich and no one will be poor. Collective ownership will replace private possessions. Fruits of development will be fairly enjoyed by all the participants from owners, managers to labors. One would contribute as per her ability and receive as per needs. Let us call it ...
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...aughtered in millions. Events from those benighted lands would have appalled Marx as much as they appall us. But, unfortunately when disparaging words are hurled at communism, Marx does not find himself separate from the discredited list of Lenin, Stalin, Mao, Kim-Jong and Castro.
Marx’s theories are not perfect, but nor are Adam Smith’s. But both provide necessary inputs for modern economics and politics. Neither the invisible hands of Adam Smith nor the cuffed hands of Marx per se have done good to the world. In that context, theories of Marx provide necessary checks and balances in a world that is largely run on the principles of Adam Smith. Rather than name-calling, the differences of the “commie, NGO type, Kanahaiya supporter, anti-development” should be celebrated. They don’t dampen the growth but rather mitigates the risks inherent in the capitalist system.
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