Marxian economics were developed as macroeconomic theories in order to understand how capitalist society operates, as alternative theories to the more mainstream neo-classical economic theories, which more often than not put an emphasis on free market capitalism rather than socialism as did Marx. Marx’s economic theories have been expanded upon by prominent figures such as Lenin and Stalin, as well as numerous others who study the field of Marxism. However, Marxian economics have never found much ground among mainstream economists and more often than not the theories go unheard of or are simply discarded. Contrary to Marx’s theories, John Maynard Keynes economic theories ironically have received far more attention and recognition than Marx’s. Keynesian economics state that decisions made within the private sector may lead to detrimental outcomes in the overall economic structure of society, hence these decisions made by individuals in the private sector have a macroeconomic effect rather than a microeconomic effect. In order to balance the effects made by the private sector, Keynes theorized that there should then be policies that place decisions in the public sector, and governments should aid the public sector with things such as stimulus bills, particularly in the effort to stabilize the economy. Because of the mix of private and public factors, Keynesians are essentially calling for a mixed economy rather than say, a laissez-faire or socialist approach of managing the economy. However, Keynes still favored privatization and therefore dominance among the private sector rather than the public sector. Despite this fact, many unfortunately view Keynesianism as a step toward socialism, and therefore confuse the economic policies of those such as Obama with socialist policies when they are actually far more in alignment with Keynesian economics. When one gets right down to it, although Keynesianism interferes with laissez-faire, it still is strongly in favor of capitalism, and therefore Keynesian economics are merely a way to save capitalism from being crushed under it’s own weight, whether effective or not.
It was once Roosevelt was elected as president in 1932 that the previous laissez-faire style economics themselves began to loose their significance, and the overall moral and political decay of this “hands off” system was exposed. Likewise, this was the era where “radical change” was becoming more prominent. Under the presidency of Roosevelt, Keynes theories were able to be seen in action, and they continued to be heavily utilized during World War II. Even today Keynesian economics play a role in the shaping of American economy. In fact, when Keynesianism first swept the nation, numerous economists believed that Keynes’s theories would even go so far as to replace Marx’s theories, and although Keynes was certainly not a socialist, his work appealed to many “socialists” throughout his day and age, often because of the far less radical position it took contrary to Marx’s. At any rate, those “Marxists” who claim adherence to Keynes’s theories are absolutely ridiculous and do not deserve to be considered Marxists at all. Keynesianism is as mentioned an attempt of saving capitalism from itself. Much like the social-democrats and other assorted liberalistic, petty-bourgeois reformists see their watered down efforts as solutions to capitalism, adherents of Keynes see Keynesianism as the perfect resolution to the problems of capitalism themselves as well. In fact, some “Marxists” of the Keynesian era were content to simply ignore economics and ultimately buy into Keynesianism while focusing their attention solely on the cultural problems of capitalism [and of course ignoring everything else that Marxism stood for]. These “Marxists,” as well as numerous groups scattered across the political spectrum, believed that Keynesianism would end the crisis-cycle of capitalism, which was at best purely optimism, and their optimism turned sour during the 1970s when inflation, unemployment, and a weakened industrial infrastructure began to defy the fundamentals of Keynesianism; according to Keynesianism, such events shouldn’t happen at the same time, which is clearly optimistic nonsense. It was in the same era that it became increasingly obvious that no longer could society spend it’s way out of crisis; no longer could society rely on orthodox Keynesianism. Despite this, many economists are still waiting for the 21st century Keynes to appear to solve their problems, failing to realize if society would only abolish capitalism, these cyclical problems would not arise. On the other hand, other economists believe that Keynesianism itself still is particularly effective, and that it’s failures have little to do with itself, but with a lack of real, concrete data to support the theories. Clearly, these economists are merely reactionaries refusing to let go of Keynes’s theories, thus refusing to let go of capitalism.
But even further right of the hand have been the Austrian-school economists such as Hayek, who have always opposed Keynesianism and anything remotely socialistic in favor of “free market capitalism.” But those such as Hayek have always been C students at mathematics and economics. In fact, Hayek’s entire justification for discrediting socialism lies in his views of the market being as merely a system of information. Further according to Hayek, the problems that the American economy faced in the 30s was due to error filled fiscal and monetary policy, and that Keynes was further pumping errors into the system, so to speak. However, Hayek’s claims were essentially nothing but subtle attacks on Keynes, and held no real substance of their own. The problems of the time were in actuality based on imbalances between supply and demand within the labor market, on both sectors of the economy. Hayek then would claim that cutting wages could cure unemployment, but Keynes and others had already disproved this idea. Hayek was therefore essentially an idealist, grounded in his own rampant individualism and anti-empiricism, as were the rest of the adherents to the Austrian school of thought. Then aside from the Austrian schoolboys was Milton Friedman, the great turtle looking idiot and capitalist fetishist who refused to believe capitalism had any real problems, and refused to believe anything Keynes had to offer. Friedman claimed the economy was fundamentally sound, and that any problems that could arise would have to do with “disturbances in the monetary sphere.” But on that note, Friedman was hardly providing anything new to economics, as such theories had already existed. In fact, numerous sources have even asserted that Friedman manipulated data to suit his views and establish the principles of monetarism. The bottom line is that Friedman, Hayek, and the like have attacked Keynesianism and socialism so viciously, yet have failed to provide any empirical evidence for their own claims, and in these regards are hardly worth the time and effort as “real” economists, even with Keynes’s problems. However, at least these opponents of Keynesianism had something of any intelligence to their arguments. Many of today’s opponents of Keynesianism are so confused in their definitions of Keynesianism and socialism that they merely spew the same circular reasoning as Glenn Beck does to subdue their opponents and confuse the populace into thinking that socialism is something it’s not.
But by now it seems that I’ve been digressing from the original purpose of this article; defining the relation of Keynesianism to Marxism. One of the pressing issues Keynesianism faced in it’s day and age was with the intervention of the State within the market. For Marxists, our view is far different than Keynes when it comes to state intervention. State intervention and regulations in the capitalist economy have little to do with freedom or solving problems, but with saving capitalism and the interests of the bourgeoisie, in whatever form that may take. Marxism furthermore rejects the notion brought forward by Keynes that the state is a neutral being, and we certainly reject the notion that the state acts in our will. In these regards, Keynes ignores class struggle, and ignores the fact that the state arises as an instrument of class domination. The state always is in action, and is never passive, so it is hardly plausible that the state can somehow be neutral according to Keynes, and even the radical “anti-state” capitalists acknowledge this. Where there becomes a “socialistic tendency” [e.g. regulations, interventions] it is important to realize that this “socialization” takes different forms, most importantly being a further division of labor among the whole economy, which itself can be a detriment, and likewise all forms of “socialization” are within the interests of the bourgeois ruling class rather than the people themselves. At any rate, a consequence of increased state action in capitalist society is the fact that the state does in fact gain a monopolization over capital and resources, and thus is able to even further act in their own interest; ulterior motives are always present in the capitalist state, even where “benefits” are given to the working class. According to Keynesianism, intervention is necessary within the capitalist system, and the fact of the matter is that government intervention is inevitable to support capitalism. However, Keynesianism is in these regards a reformist approach of “improving capitalism” rather than Marxism as being an attempt to abolish capitalism altogether. Keynes himself furthermore believed that so long as capitalism could be “wisely managed” that it would bring about a more “just society,” which is merely nonsense. Although his theories were more mature in that they called for a moving away from the anarchy of laissez-faire, they now were calling for a “wisely managed” economic entity [e.g. the state] to control and direct economic forces. Even with his “emphasis” on the public sector, it is still merely capitalism. Essentially, Keynesianism is not a sufficient way of dealing with the problems of capitalism, and as numerously mentioned, to drive the point toward rightists, it is merely a way of saving capitalism from itself. Given the dire economic conditions that we face today, we can do better than Keynesian capitalism, and we can ideally move toward socialism, and therefore abolish the cycle of capitalism. In fact, Keynesians themselves need to realize that once economic conditions of capitalism are suitable for their theories, and once the conditions are stabilized, they will no longer be of any relevance until the next depression, and thus capitalism will once again return to privatization and a more laissez-faire style society, and will then once again return to depression.