Although I find Marxism interesting in concept and far more advanced intellectually than most ideologies and political philosophies, I have found that it suffers from the same issues that most ideologies do. Marxism provides a useful way to analyze history in a materialist manner, but its solution to the so-called exploitation of the workers is contradictory: an inner-party of non-proletariat intellectuals is necessary to guide revolutionary efforts, meaning that the communist vanguard politically exploits the workers themselves. Lenin himself, an advocate of an agrarian form of communism, was from the city and was robbed by the peasants when living amongst them.
Similarly, any form of democratic-capitalism ends in another form of political exploitation: the dual exploitation of the taxpayer and the voter. Despite the rhetoric of democratic societies exhorting the values of freedom and egalitarianism, a ruling class develops nonetheless: comprised of the bourgeoisie, lawyers, lobbyists, bureaucrats and other exploiters of a democratic system. In the United States, the founders intended to avoid this with a constitution, but even from it's conception the United States was based upon the exploitation of black slaves and Indian lands.
Unlike today, exploitation was openly practiced and endorsed by earlier societies. Imperialism, feudalism, religion, the city-states of Greece, all exploited one group of people or another. Indeed, there was little effort to conceal such efforts: the Roman citizenship openly supported imperialism and the festivals that celebrated it, the Catholic Church suppressed heretics and exploited Christians via tithes and the selling of indulgences, feudal lords exploited peasants to support their political and military ambitions, the city states invaded rival city states when not united against outside threats.. Although arguably this was because of the ignorance and illiteracy of commoners and even the nobility of the periods, this made deception less necessary and thus governance less convoluted and confusing.
The 20th century trends towards either capitalism or socialism (or both) is heavily influenced by the literacy and self-awareness of the masses. With industrialization, the machine has reduced the importance of human labor in development, meaning an improvement of the living standards of the average human. With the struggle for survival reduced in severity for more and more people, it has given people more time to advance their self-interests politically. This tendency has advanced even more radically with the increase in lifespan and possibility of retirement. It meant that though the masses could no longer be exploited directly, they could still be exploited indirectly, via taxes in return for the illusion of participation in the sharing of power. In democratic societies, this is done by voting, while in socialist systems this is done with workers communes or party membership.
In the 1920's to 1940s this was interrupted by the introduction of third positionist politics (an alternative path between capitalism and communism). After the devastation of World War I, the illusions of many existing governments were shattered. Hitler seized power in Germany, Stalin in Russia, and Mussolini in Italy. Each regime instituted an industrialized version of earlier societies: fascism (although Stalinist fascism wore the color red). Unsuccessful movements based upon one of the three fascist governments organized in nearly every other western nation through the thirties. Although, it could be argued that America under Roosevelt, Japan under Tojo, and a number of governments pursued fascist policies during the period.
Fascism revealed itself to be an inevitable phase in industrialized nations that would likely repeat in the future: a reversion to openly exploitative government with an industrialized twist. The contradictions of democracy and socialism made this inevitable, as fascism is the most honest of ideologies, and thus the most efficient: Fascism makes no attempt to deny exploitation, but embraces and directs it against the enemies of the state (who are mostly foreign). Thus, fascism allows for open exploitation despite the literacy and education of the people, and directs their energy towards a unified goal.
Thus, fascism is the most natural of governments in an industrialized nation, especially in times of urgency. Most western governments would have no chance as they stand today in a world war II situation: they have become fat, corrupt and inefficient with long-term peace, their populations soft, undirected and unchallenged. This is largely because they are still based upon exploitation, but spend so much energy making it indirect in nature. No politician, no bureaucrat, no bourgeoisie or proletariat leader has enough power to cut down on this inefficiency in modern peace-time, because he would be challenging the very nature of the system itself.
This inefficiency will ultimately doom modern governments. A nation can only bear so many years of contradictory government before it runs into inherent problems such as overpopulation (or immigration), a drop in real income, excess of labor, prison populations, debt, corruption, and many others. These problems are always solved by war, which reduces the excess population, expends surplus production, and maximizes employment. War also results in less measurable effects, such as national rejuvenation, national unity, the "culling of the herd," and a change in the character of the people. This was attempted by George Bush with the invasion of Iraq, but the war lacked any perceived threat to the US government itself, meaning that the government and nation actually became more bloated, inefficient, and indebted.
Thus, as the western world continue its decline, and as China ascends, we will soon see a necessary clash of interests between at least two power spheres, and possibly three. The result will be predictable and inevitable.
Edited by Tywin Lannister, 07 January 2014 - 05:28 PM.