In particular, this essay will magnify, in light of the classical Marxist theory, the influence and necessity of state policy in creating and maintaining a balance between capitalistic success and societal equity among existing class structures.
Rethinking Welfare produces an analysis of capitalism and welfare in the twenty-first century by exploring three axioms of traditional Marxist theory: "capitalism as a contradictory totality, Marxism as a philosophy of praxis, and socialism as the self-emancipation of the working class" (Ferguson et al. 2002: 25). The first and third components are relevant to this discussion.
Socialism is recognized by those working in the classical Marxist tradition as a "system of prioritizing human need over profit, where production is controlled and planned by the direct producers (that is, workers in their factories and offices) and where both these requirements necessitate a system of open and direct democracy- far more democratic than anything seen under capitalism" (Ferguson et al. 2002: 25). It is interesting to note that the authors conclude, "none of the past or present representatives of "actually existing socialism" come close to meeting these criteria" (25). However, the evil capitalist that Marx predicted would become his own
gravedigger, did not, in fact materialize and the Soviet Union collapsed under its own weight of oppression, contradicting Marx's prediction of the uprising of the disenfranchised and alienated worker. Capitalism, has for the most part, succeeded in holding its own power, precisely because of Marx's deeper understanding of its evolutionary nature. In his manifesto, Marx (and Engels) predict and support, among other things, the abolition of private property, the replacement of marriage by a "community of women," concentration of political power in the hands of the proletariat and the replacement of the state by "an association in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all." (Lewis 1998: 1)
These are radical thoughts and dismissed as such by most academics, but, as Ferguson et al point out, there are three important axioms in Marx's theory that have relevance in today's society.
Capitalism and "prioritizing human need over profit" are contradictions in terms and ideology. But Marx would argue that the world is a "differentiated unity" and that by virtue of the capitalistic need to employ workers to become and remain profitable, capitalism, operating in a democracy, must address the needs of the workers. The world, through Marx's eyes, is an entity that is at every point interrelated. In strictly economic terms, that is, to maximize profits and accumulate wealth, it is in the best interest of the capitalist to ensure basic welfare services to its workers. In a democracy, it is the state that allows the worker to fight for his right to a decent life-style, and yet, statistics tell us that within the world's powerful democratic states,
class distinction is becoming more pronounced and the richer are getting richer by exploiting the poor. If Marx is correct in predicting the success of the working class in overthrowing the oppressive conditions of capitalism, then we should allow the organic progress of capitalism to fulfill its own destiny. History tells us that the worker will never triumph in his pursuit for a healthy and equitable lifestyle. In countries from the Soviet Union to North Korea, wherever private property was abolished, state ownership rather than collective, public ownership took its place. Far from