1.) Discuss two weak points in the views of Karl Marx, and explain what’s wrong with them.
Two statements that give rise to contradiction in Marx’s views are that he believes that under communism people will be able to dip into multiple trades of work each day; hunting in the morning, and painting in the afternoon without having ever become neither a hunter not an artist. He also said, however, that under communism there would be planned society and economics; that there would be a minority establishing which people did what work each day, so everyone could have exactly what they needed and nothing more. How is it possible for people to both do whatever they want for work, and also be told what different jobs to do each day? Well, it isn’t, and this was a huge hole in Marx’ s plan for communism.
Another weak point in Marx’s argument was his idea that communism would provide workers with more leisure time. This idea was hinged on the fact that society wouldn’t have capitalists anymore, but that doesn’t necessarily mean more leisure time. In fact, capitalists have an incentive to increase the productivity of labor; these increases are what makes leisure possible in the first place. Under capitalism, people may prefer (and choose) additional income over extra leisure time, because they want a higher standard of living.
2.) What were Herbert Spencer’s views, as you encountered them in the reading for this week? Does he deserve to be called a “Social Darwinist”?
To say that calling Herbert Spencer a Social Darwinist is absurd, is an understatement. He was an early Libertarian free market advocate, and his image has been slewed to the masses by a man named Richard Hofstadter upon the publication of his work Social Darwinism in American Thought 1860-1915. Throughout the piece, Spencer is slandered, and made out to be an “advocate of letting the poor die of starvation in order to weed out the unfit”. Although Spencer personally opposed tax funded welfare programs, this accusation was far from who Spencer truly was, and opposed everything he stood for. Spencer was known to have been an outspoken advocate of voluntary charity, and promoted morality with great emphasis (Richards).
Richards, Peter. “Herbert Spencer: Social Darwinist or Libertarian Prophet?”Mises Institute. Mises Institute, 4 Nov. 2010. Web. 20 Mar. 2015. <http://mises.org/library/herbert-spencer-social-darwinist-or-libertarian-prophet>.