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The Attack on Communism: Milton And Rose Friedman Against Karl Marx

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For centuries the debate over how civilizations should be ran whether it be through the practice of communism or capitalism, has long been argued by historical figures such as economists, Milton and Rose Friedman, and German philosopher, Karl Marx. Both of whom share conflicting views in their essays regarding their beliefs on the rights of an individual and the conditions of a society. In fact, in the essay, “Created Equal, ” by Milton and Rose Friedman, they believe in equality of opportunity and argue that any society that puts equality ahead of freedom will have neither equality nor freedom. Whereas, in the essay, “The Communist Manifesto, ” by Karl Marx, he believes that he can revolutionize an economic system that up until his time, had kept the rich rich and the poor poor. In addition, Marx wrote “The Communist Manifesto, ” long before the Friedman’s introduce their concept of equality of outcome, in which his primary goal was to create economic equality for all.

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Being that Marx would disagree with any pro-capitalist economist, it is evident that the Friedman’s are most concerned about the welfare of the individual and are perceived as the greater champions of personal freedom. Furthermore, of Marx’s ten measures listed in “The Communist Manifesto, ” the Friedman’s would oppose most fiercely the lack of individual liberty, the conditions of equality of outcome, and the idea of a controlled government because none of these measures would lead to equality. The Friedman’s believed in promoting individual liberty, which is why they would most fiercely attack Marx’s point of abolition of all right of inheritance because the Friedman’s argue that measures like these take away fairness and freedom from an individual. As a case in point, the Friedman’s mention, “However, unfairness can take many forms. It can take the form of the inheritance of property — bonds and stocks, houses, factories; it can also take form of the inheritance of talent — musical ability, strength, mathematical genius”.

Although Marx objects to inheritance in any form, one can conclude that abolition of inheritance is unfair in the minds of the Friedman’s. An example being, the inheritance in the form of talent, where the concept of “fair shares for all, ” infringes on personal freedom. In addition, the Friedman’s argue that parents should have the freedom to choose whatever they deem necessary for their children in order to assure them advanced opportunities in life. For instance, the Friedman’s state, “Look at the same issue from the view of a parent. If you want to assure your child a higher income in life, you can do so in various ways. You can buy him (or her) an education that will equip him to pursue an occupation yielding a high income; or you can set him up in a business that will yield a higher income than he could earn as a salaried employee; or you can leave him property, the income from which enable him to live better”. This quote examines the various ways in which an individual may freely choose to allocate their funds. Being the Friedman’s are more concerned about the welfare of an individual rather than the wealth of an individual, it is evident that the Friedman’s would most fiercely attack Marx’s point of abolition of inheritance as they believed in promoting individual liberty, not obstructing it.

Moreover, the Friedman’s disagreed with the conditions of equality of outcome because they supported their concept of equality of opportunity, which is why they would most fiercely oppose to Marx’s point of equal liability of all to labor and the establishment of industrial armies. To illustrate, Marx states, “Under which the laborer lives merely to increase capital and is allowed to live only insofar as the interests of the ruling class require it”. This statement goes entirely against the capitalist approach of the Friedman’s as they believed that man is entitled to serve for their own purposes, and thou shall not be forced, but motivated to pursue their own happiness. For instance, the Friedman’s assert, “He is entitled to serve his own purposes and not to be treated simply as an instrument to promote someone else’s purposes. “Liberty” is part of the definition of equality, not in conflict with it”.

Hence, Marx’s point of equal liability of all to labor, conflicts with the Friedman’s concept of equality of opportunity that individuals should be free to decide how to live their own life. Furthermore, while the Friedman’s were advocates of their concept of equality of opportunity, it is apparent that the Friedman’s would most fiercely attack Marx’s point of equal liability of all to labor because forcing all to labor regardless of their abilities validates equality of outcome and does not lead to equality. Additionally, the Friedman’s believed in little to no government intervention and for this reason they would most fiercely oppose to Marx’s point of abolition of property because they argue that a regulated government puts more restrictions on the people, thus limiting their freedom and reducing equality.

18 March 2020

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