Reflection on Marxism in Pandemic Crisis

Arif Rashid Malik

Every theory has it’s relevance in the world, so to say from two angles. One part deals with it’s theoretical part and the second one is concerned with it’s implementation- The extent to which it is acceptable to the world. Every philosopher has given his /her theory on the basis of this specific context through which it’s relevance is checked. Either it is Plato’s theory of ‘Ideal state’ Or Hobbes theory on ‘Sovereignty’. Same is in case of Marx theory of ‘Historical Materialism.’ Whenever we discuss this iconic theory, his view on economic from theoretical point of view never loses relevance in any circumstance. Either it was his own age in which he lived or it is when the whole world has taken the shape of a global village. One can’t deny the fact that this theory has a lot of complexity in it’s implementation part. The fundamental complexity of the theory lies in the Principle of need wherein he says that, “Each and every one should be given the wealth as per need and distribution of wealth should not be on the basis of ability of a human being.” According to his analysis, when we distribute wealth as per ability of human being, it creates an unjust society and because of this fact that there are few who are more well off and there are others who are living in poverty and are not able to live a life which is based on choice and freedom. Indeed, he formulates his theory on this basis of needs because of the exploitation that was going with the workers at the hands of the capitalists. Such exploitation was at pinnacle in Europe at that moment and he had given too much preference to economy as he belonged to poor. Secondly, he says that we can’t create a society based on absolute equality and capitalists in the realistic sense will not donate their wealth among the poor people on the basis of their needs. While highlighting the few fundamental problems with the Marxist approach on the basis of practical grounds, it is necessary for me to highlight it’s relevance in all times from the theoretical point of view, I will make an attempt to reject the myths that has created by the capitalists that Marxism have no relevance at all and it is completely dead. Marx was the first and foremost philosopher who had taken economic system seriously and gave a systematic analysis on it while considering economics as a serious subject matter of his theory. It was Marx who exposed the myths of capitalists that history moves in a progressive way , instead he says that there is always contradiction within the history itself because of the two antagonistic classes, who are always in conflict with each other, in which one want to oppress majority and on the other hand, majority wants to liberate themselves from this oppression. According to Marx, the base of the conflict lies in economy (because these capitalists have accumulated lot of wealth in order to exploit the workers, who are being forced to work for hours and in return, hardly getting fruits of their labor and fulfill their basic needs).According to him “If economics get changed, then it will change each and every thing”. Heads that capitalism has a fundamental contradiction within itself and will deepen it’s crisis and with passage of time they will exploit more and more workers which will create a class consciousness among the workers and all the workers of the world will unite to overthrow the capitalist system and will create a classless society. It’s true, where the revolution was predicted by Mark it had not taken place there but it had taken place somewhere else. So his prediction did not come true. One thing that makes his theory more sound and relevant in contemporary world was his prediction on the economic inequalities that were increasing due to capitalism. He also exposed the welfare notion of liberalism who was saying liberalism is based on welfare of all .Mark countered this false logic by making a simple statement saying that if it is really based on welfare, how come there is too much exploitation against workers and why few have accumulated lot of wealth for their own benefits by excluding the majority. He say also raises a serious objection on liberalism on this that why it has failed to address the problems of poor, instead liberalism creates false perception among the poor masses. That exploitation is written by God in their lives, liberalism gives religious justification in order to legitimize illegal power. Marx also says that capitalism will made huge progress and prosperity throughout the world but still it’s exploitative mission will not end rather will deepen and will create more woes and suffering in the lives of poor people. Ithas only fulfilled the greed of selfish egoistic and greedy capitalists. Instead of fulfilling needs of poor it has exploited, marginalized and oppressed them. When the U.S.S.R disintegrated, liberals claimed that Marxism in the post -cold war have no relevance. They believed that once the ideology of liberalism will be followed, there will be progress and prosperity throughout the world and will be accepted by every country with force but it didn’t happen. The best examples, we have are Iraq and Afghanistan wars that were devastated and destroyed by America for the sake of power. On the other hand the concept of globalization was brought but this concept also benefited to those who have money and who can’t survive in the market and it has hardly benefited to poor rather pushed majority into poverty.
All these reports tell us that the capitalist system is completely looting poor countries of the world and they have to pay high debt to capitalist countries in post pandemic world. At last we can say that slavery has not yet ended completely. In this backdrop Marx wants to say that human liberation is not possible as long they are unable to obtain food and drink, housing and clothing in adequate quality and quantity.
Right now, world is suffering from the economic crisis because of global pandemic and it has stopped the trade completely and has forced the world to be in strict lockdown. This pandemic has exposed the myths of European hegemony too who considered themselves as the “saviors of the world.” They myth of their welfare was based on the exploitation of the poor countries and they have garbed their resources illegally for the sake of their power. Right now, these so called saviors of world are tattering and it is China who has completely overtaken them and are providing each kind of help to every country in the world. In this pandemic crisis capitalists are also trying to show off the Welfare work right now for the poor people in order to hide their failures. The question remains, that why these egoistic capitalists are not concerning about these poor people who are dying because of hunger and starvation in the normal days. The simple reason behind it is that hunger will not make any impact on rich people and in pandemic crisis rich will become victim of it because their business has got paralyzed to a large extent. It is estimated by the World Bank due to Covid19, 49 million people would be forced into extreme poverty, which the bank defines as having to live on less than 1.90 dollars every day. Africa and Asia will be epicenter of it. According to the executive director of the United Nations World Food Program, David Beasely Warned that “Millions of civilians living in conflict scarred nations ,including many women and children, being pushed to brink of starvation with the specter of famine a very real and dangerous possibility”. A new study by WFP found that lockdown and the economic recession caused by covid-19 may exacerbate an already dire worldwide hunger crisis, almost doubling the number of people who could go hungry, pushing a total number of 265 million people to the brink of starvation by the end of the year. Pandemic will also tell us these poor people will suffer mostly because of one fundamental evil of unequal distribution wealth like two thousand billionaires own more than wealth of 4.6 billion people combined. It means these billionaires have garbed wealth of 70 percent population. Due to income inequality only privileged countries and privileged citizens have availability of best health care and poor countries and poor citizens have hardly access for it, which is evident from this fact that Tanzania has one doctor for seventy one thousand inhabitants and Mali has three ventilators for millions of people. All these reports tell us that the capitalist system is completely looting poor countries of the world and they have to pay high debt to capitalist countries in post pandemic world. At last we can say that slavery has not yet ended completely. In this backdrop Marx wants to say that human liberation is not possible as long they are unable to obtain food and drink, housing and clothing in adequate quality and quantity. “Liberation is historical not a mental act and it is brought about by historical condition and is necessary for the development of human beings”. He is of the strong view that there can’t be any compromise over basic needs of the human life and according to him need of each and every human being must be fulfilled, not the greed while on the other hand capitalism does not fulfill need of everyone rather fulfils greed of everyone. From all these facts we reach to the conclusion that Marx theory still has a strong relevance in the world.
(The author is a student at the P G Department of Political Science, University of Kashmir . Views are his own, [email protected])

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Confirmed: 5,646,010Deaths: 90,020