Doug Page at Dissident Voice asks this in a thoughtful essay detailing the flaws of capitalism. The elite make the money, the workers get shafted, and overproduction leads to economic downturns. Standard Marxist theory, really, even if Page doesn’t appear to be Marxist. He ends by proposing that the only way to fight the State is to, among other things, “stop our consumption of the products of the elite” and “grow our own food and meet our own needs.”
Um, Page seems well-meaning and genuinely searching for answers, but unless you want to go live in a yurt in the wilderness, you will need to purchase the products of capitalism. It is folly to pretend otherwise.
A hardcore Marxist would say the State needs to own the means of production, with the workers running things. Then, with foresighted planning, everything will run smoothly and there will be no overproduction, no boom-bust economy, no shafted workers. This sounds good in theory too, but tell me, why would a group of workers necessarily be any more competent in running a factory than a capitalist? Or any less less susceptible to corruption and the emergence of a new ruling class?
Another problem with Marxist theory is that it seemingly always talks about factories. The workers will run the factories. Well, in Marx’s time,Â all they had was factories. But times have changed. Microsoft and Google are not factories, they can move production anywhere quite easily and – I’m just guessing here now – most of their workers probably don’t feel particularly exploited. Especially not the early ones who are multi-millionaires thanks to their stock options. So tell me, who has Bill Gates exploited?
Marxist theory has some valuable thoughts, but it needs to be updated and brought into the 21st century else it will be seen by most, especially in the US, as a dusty relic.