Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
  • Print publication year: 1991
  • Online publication date: June 2012

10 - MARXISM, COMMUNISM, AND THE STAGES-OF-GROWTH

Summary

This final chapter considers how the stages-of-growth analysis compares with Marxism; for, in its essence, Marxism is also a theory of how traditional societies came to build compound interest into their structures by learning the tricks of modern industrial technology; and of the stages that will follow until they reach that ultimate stage of affluence which, in Marx's view, was not Socialism, under the dictatorship of the proletariat, but true Communism. As against our stages—the traditional society; the preconditions; take-off; maturity; and high mass-consumption—we are setting, then, Marx's feudalism; bourgeois capitalism; Socialism; and Communism.

We shall proceed by first summarizing the essence of Marx's propositions. We shall then note the similarities between his analysis and the stages-of-growth; and the differences between the two systems of thought, stage by stage. This will provide a way of defining the status and meaning of Marxism, as seen from the perspective of the stages-of-growth sequence. Finally, we shall look briefly at the evolution of Marxist thought and Communist policy, from Lenin forward; and draw some conclusions.

THE SEVEN MARXIST PROPOSITIONS

Marxist thought can be summarized in seven propositions, as follows.

First, the political, social and cultural characteristics of societies are a function of how the economic process is conducted. And, basically, the political, social and cultural behaviour of men is a function of their economic interests. All that follows in Marx derives from this proposition until the stage of Communism is reached, when the burden of scarcity is to be lifted from men and their other more humane motives and aspirations come to dominance.