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        經濟學Essay參考案例:Comparison of Smith's and Marx's Views on Capitalism

        時間:2021-12-30 11:27:21 來源:www.equineteleseminar.net 作者:英國論文網 點擊聯系客服: 客服:Damien

        本文是經濟學專業的留學生Essay范例,題目是“Comparison of Smith's and Marx's Views on Capitalism(斯密與馬克思資本主義觀之比較)”,馬克思對資本主義的看法與斯密截然不同:馬克思認為資本主義是建立在剝削基礎上的,而斯密認為資本主義是建立在互利基礎上的。你同意這個關于斯密和馬克思資本主義觀點之間關系的評價嗎?

        'Marx has a very different view of capitalism to Smith: he believes it is founded on exploitation and Smith believes that it is founded on mutual benefit.'

        Do you agree with this assessment of the relationship between Smith's and Marx's views of capitalism?


        In this essay, I will be discussing my opinion on the relationship between Smith's and Marx's views of capitalism, which is that I agree to an extent with the assessment given however there are instances from the respective authors' works where this assessment does not hold.


        Adam Smith defines capitalism as a system of operation that naturally engages in mutually beneficial exchanges without state intervention through the help of the 'invisible hand', which is believed by Smith to determine supply and demand of goods and services in a free market efficiently "as which would have been made, had the earth been divided into equal portions among all its inhabitants, and thus without intending it, without knowing it, advance the interest of the society" (Smith, 1982, p.5).


        Marx defined capitalism as an evolutionary process and "by nature a form or method of economic change and not only never is but can never be stationary" (Elliott, 1980, p. 46). To engage in the views of Adam Smith and Karl Marx on capitalism, one must understand the prominent role that Smith believes the process of division of labour plays in a capitalist economy.


        Smith states that the source of productivity growth is from the effects of the division of labour (Smith, 1981, p. 4) which is also acknowledged by Marx to be a major source of growth in productivity by the capitalist "producing more cheaply, and new division of labour in place of the old,one capitalist[increases productivity and creates extraordinary profits]" (Elliott, 1980, p. 48).



        Adam Smith states that division of labour occurs as an unintended consequence of our propensity to barter, and exchange as humans are constantly looking for opportunities to mutually benefit in any form of transaction (Smith, 1981, p. 5). The division of labour under capitalism is ultimately a major source of productivity growth that can benefit both parties in an economic transaction through the exchange of a good or service. The mutual benefit occurs when one individual who is naturally better at producing a certain good or service specialises in its production, exchanges with another individual who has also specialised in the production of their respective good or service. This characteristic of certain individuals being better at certain tasks than others is mentioned by Adam Smith in the Wealth of Nations "In a tribe of hunters or shepherds a particular person makes bows and arrows, for example, with more readiness and dexterity than any other" (Smith, 1981, p. 5).


        This process of barter and exchange will allow people in a market economy to attain the products they require and through the division of labour, open even greater opportunities for mutual benefit. However, despite Adam Smith discussing the mutually beneficial exchanges that occur under capitalism, there is still a sense of persuasion involved to obtain the product people want in exchange for a product someone else wants which originates from the concept of self-love raised by Smith. Smith acknowledges that a transaction cannot occur solely based on the benevolence of one party but can occur as a result of persuading the other party that they will benefit as a result of a transaction by giving the opposite party what they want. (Smith, 1981, p. 5).



        This mutual benefit may not even be known to both parties involved in the transaction, as each individual is motivated by their "self-love" to obtain the things they want so the process of truck, barter and exchange can be seen as a subconscious affair that leads to mutual benefit under a capitalist economy. This viewpoint of Smith aligns with the assessment that capitalism is founded upon mutual benefit.


        Karl Marx states that under capitalism the working class is being exploited by the capitalists due to the origin of profits being the performance of unpaid labour. Marx argues that capitalists dominate the labour market and that 'The will of the capitalist is certainly to take as much as possible' (Marx, 1898, p. 6). The disguise of workers feeling unpaid labour is paid labour, under the wage structure of a capitalist economy is the basis of what capitalists receive as profit (Marx, 1898, p. 20). This profit originates from the capitalist selling a commodity at its 'real value' which is determined by the total quantity of labour required to produce the commodity (Marx, 1898, p. 17).

        馬克思指出,在資本主義制度下,工人階級正受到資本家的剝削,因為利潤的來源是無償勞動的表現。馬克思認為資本占主導地位的勞動力市場和“資本主義的肯定會采取盡可能多的(馬克思,1898,p . 6)。工人的偽裝感覺無償勞動付出勞動,工資結構下的資本主義經濟的基礎是資本家獲得利潤(馬克思,1898,p . 20)。這種利潤來自于資本家以其“實際價值”出售商品,而“實際價值”是由生產商品所需的勞動總量決定的(馬克思,1898年,第17)。


        However, this 'real value' creates a separation between the worker's actual value and the wage paid to the worker thus, resulting in the manipulation of wages to be undervalued in order to increase profits for the capitalist (Resolutereader.blogspot.com, 2014). Marx also strongly voices his view on the wage system under capitalism to be unfair towards the working class as there's a constant tension between workers and capitalists regarding profits and wages. 'If wages fall, profits will rise; and if wages rise, profits will fall' (Marx, 1898, p. 23).


        "The general tendency of capitalist production is not to raise, but to sink the average standard of wages" (Marx, 1898, p. 30).


        This shows that Marx believed capitalists will find a way to exploit workers under capitalism and even goes as far to say that the wages system should be abolished thus, indicating the unjust and exploitative wage structure under capitalism will not be tolerated by Marx (Marx, 1898, p. 29). My opinion on this view presented by Karl Marx does strongly agree with the assessment presented as it contrasts with Smith's view of mutually beneficial exchanges that occur under capitalism.

        這表明馬克思相信資本主義下的資本家會找到剝削工人的方法,甚至認為這樣就應該廢除工資制度,表明馬克思不會容忍資本主義下不公正的剝削性工資結構(馬克思,1898,p. 29)。我對卡爾·馬克思提出的觀點的看法與斯密關于資本主義下互惠交換的觀點形成了鮮明對比。


        Karl Marx mentions the term 'alienation' of workers and capitalists under the system of private property capitalism and regards it as a product of the division of labour which can certainly be interpreted as a form of exploitation due to its detrimental impacts on the economic well-being of individuals (West, 1969, pp. 1-2).


        The alienation felt by workers is argued by Marx to originate from workers having no ownership or say in the means of production as well as having no influence over the decisions made by the managers (West, 1969, p. 2). This powerlessness faced by workers is more relevant to the capitalist system due to the capitalists owning all the industrial property in production so workers are left with little to no power which leaves the room for poor working conditions and vulnerability to be 'hired and fired at will' (West, 1969, p. 3).


        The feeling of isolation is stated by Marx to be felt by both workers and capitalists. From the perspective of workers, the division of labour meant that each worker was just another component of a wider group who perform the same task, which suppresses any expression of free thought and spontaneity that an individual should possess as argued by (West, 1969, p. 4). Marx also states that the 'capitalists become isolated from workers and from other capitalists' (West, 1969, p. 4). This can be due to complete ownership of private property in production, allowing capitalists to dominate their workers and treat them as 'a piece of industrial raw material' (West, 1969, p. 3) rather than a human being.

        馬克思認為,工人和資本家都有孤立感。從工人的角度來看,勞動分工意味著每個工人只是一個更廣泛的群體的另一個組成部分,他們執行相同的任務,這壓制了任何自由思想的表達和自發性,而個人應該擁有的(West, 1969,p。4)。馬克思還指出“脫離工人和其他資本家,資本家成為”(西,1969,p。4)。這可能是由于在生產完成私人財產的所有權,讓資本家統治他們的員工,并把它們當作“一塊工業原料”(西方,1969,p . 3)而不是一個人。


        This treatment of workers will create rifts between the workers and capitalists which creates a sense of isolation for both workers and capitalists. The severe competition to produce new inventions and acquire new capital to generate greater profits can create a secluded capitalist culture that is more rivalrous as opposed to cohesive.


        Marx argues that another aspect of alienation comes from the loss of fulfilment from working due to the externalised system that capitalism promotes where the fruits of labour flow out to others but not the worker himself (West, 1969, p. 5) The loss of entitlement and satisfaction from workers when performing their jobs can suggest that Marx felt workers suffered a lot of misery under division of labour as the worker is constrained to a specific task that improves their dexterity but at the cost of "Having been rendered incapable of following his natural bent to make something independently" (West, 1969, p. 6) which turns the human worker into more of a machine rather than a free-willed human being.


        This expression of the concept of alienation by Marx suggests that capitalism has been ultimately been built upon the exploitation of mainly the workers but partly the capitalists as well which I believe agrees with the assessment presented.


        Adam Smith also acknowledged the dangers of alienation under the division of labour in a capitalist economy but to a lesser extent than Marx. Alienation is given less importance by Smith as he believed that the innate human nature to barter and exchange which led to the division of labour encouraged social interactions (West, 1969, p. 10).


        Furthermore, the benefits of the division of labour such as increased productivity trickle down to all classes in society (West, 1969, p. 8) not just to capitalists in the form of greater profit margins. Smith believes that the working-class under the division of labour "seems to be the happiest and most comfortable". This suggests that workers also receive the benefits of engaging in specialised tasks encouraged by capitalism.


        There have been mentions by Smith that the deserved wages are given to workers under capitalism due to the competitive bidding among employers guided by the invisible hand. This would counter the idea of powerlessness due to the upward trend of wages indicating that capitalists valued workers and their human capital (West, 1969, p. 9). However, Smith did acknowledge that there was room for wage exploitation under capitalism due to the employers making use of their greater bargaining power in comparison to workers (West, 1969, p. 9) which indicates that exploitation can occur under capitalism without a legal framework that protects worker rights which goes against the assessment of Smith solely believing capitalism is founded on mutual benefit and does align somewhat with the view of Marx on alienation under capitalism.

        斯密曾提到,在資本主義制度下,雇主在看不見的手的引導下進行競爭,給工人應得的工資。這將反駁由于工資上升趨勢而導致的無能為力的觀點,這表明資本家重視工人及其人力資本(West, 1969, p. 9)。史密斯確實承認,在資本主義下有工資剝削的空間,因為雇主利用他們比工人更大的議價能力(West, 1969,這表明,在沒有保護工人權利的法律框架的情況下,剝削可以在資本主義下發生,這與斯密僅相信資本主義是建立在互惠互利基礎上的評估相反,也確實在一定程度上與馬克思關于資本主義下異化的觀點一致。


        Marx does believe "the bourgeoisie, historically, has played a most revolutionary part" (Marx and Engels, 1969, p.15) through the rapid improvement of production instruments that converts even barbarian societies into civilisation (Elliott, 1980, p. 47). To explain the revolutionary role of the bourgeoisie, the crisis theory that Marx introduced can be discussed.


        The expansion of production forces depends on capitalists investing their profits in new capital which demonstrates the prominent role that capitalists played. Capitalists will only invest in new machines if there's a sufficient rate of profit to purchase these new capital goods but when the rate of profit is not enough, capitalists will hoard profits and aggregate demand falls in the economy due to lower investment. This is described as Marx as the law of the tendency of the rate of profit to fall over time due to the surplus-value(profits) being re-invested into the production process in the form of new capital to stay ahead of competitors (Bowman, 2009).


        The crisis theory when applied to the immense success of capitalism and the rapid technological advancements we still see today can be viewed as the rate of consumption matching the rate of capital goods being demanded that has led capitalists to not hoard profits but re-invest them into the economy. This means there is a mutually beneficial exchange of newly innovated products for consumers and surplus profits for the capitalists that invest through the process of innovation (Elliott, 1980, p. 51).

        當將危機理論應用于資本主義的巨大成功和我們今天仍然看到的快速技術進步時,可以被視為消費率與資本品需求率相匹配,這導致資本家不再囤積利潤,而是將其再投資到經濟中。這意味著對消費者來說,有一個新創新產品的互惠交換,而通過創新過程進行投資的資本家有剩余利潤(Elliott, 1980,第51)。


        Marx's view that the surplus profits being generated through innovation contradicts the assessment that he believes capitalism is solely founded on exploitation and agrees with the self- love concept presented by Smith where individuals engaging in exchanges initially due to their own interest that leads to mutual benefits.


        To conclude, my view on the assessment shown is that the relationship between Marx and Smith's views on capitalism to tend to oppose each other. Marx does strongly show the exploitation of workers by stating the origin of profits to be the performance of unpaid labour as well as the concept of alienation where the well-being of workers is harmed under the capitalist system through the widespread use of division of labour.


        Smith also seems to demonstrate the fundamentals of capitalism are founded upon the propensity for humans to barter and exchange that leads to the division of labour and generate even more opportunities for mutual benefit by exchanging goods and services of value to both parties.


        Despite, there being instances where Smith and Marx partly agree on the concept of alienation and the mutual benefit that occurs through innovation for capitalists and consumers, the overall evidence I have presented seems to agree with my view on agreeing with the assessment.





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