Why Marx Was Wrong by Lawrence Eubank

Why Marx Was Wrong

Reviewed by Douglas R. Cobb

Why Marx Was Wrong by Lawrence Eubank is a scholarly and erudite examination and refutation of Karl Marx’s book, which was highly critical of Capitalism, Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. The 500 pages of Eubank’s book is intended to serve as a convincing argument pointing out the inaccuracies in Marx’s reasoning and his central accusation that capitalism serves to make capitalists richer by the “exploitation of laborers, through the extraction of unpaid ‘surplus value’ from them.” That is exactly what Why Marx Was Wrong does, refuting Marx’s central argument thoroughly.

In order to refute Karl Marx’s argument completely and point out the philosophical rot inherent in it, Lawrence Eubank takes a look at many of Marx’s statements in his own work and explains why each of them are wrong. To help back up his point-by-point refutation of Marx, Eubank cites other authors who have a similar, pro-capitalist, perspective.

Eubank starts off Why Marx Was Wrong by pondering why millions of people around the world still believe that the central argument of Marx is a valid one, even after, as Eubank puts it, “the utter collapse of Communism.” He adds that Marx’s central argument against Capitalism is still widely-believed, “even in countries that never were subjected to Communist rule.”

Lawrence Eubank deftly shreds Karl Marx’s central argument in Why Marx Was Wrong, beginning with pointing out that even in the very first sentence of Marx’s book, he relies “on unspoken assumptions” in order to present his case against Capitalism. In other words, he states certain assumptions even in the first sentence of his book and expects his readers to blindly accept them as if they are established facts, without backing them up to add credence to his argument.

The first sentence of Karl Marx’s book Capital: A Critique of Political Economy deals with the assumption that “The wealth of those societies in which the capitalist mode of production prevails, presents itself as ‘an immense accumulation of commodities,’ its unit being a single commodity.” Marx, taking that assumption as being an accurate statement of fact, then writes that “Our investigation must therefore begin with the analysis of a commodity.”

Both Karl Marx and Lawrence Eubank write about economic systems that have been tried out, experimented with, and have supporters and detractors who often either support or oppose one or the other viewpoint without really knowing the basic tenets and arguments that have been made in favor and against Capitalism and Communism. That might be, at least in part, due to the rather dry nature of economics, in general, though it is an extremely interesting subject to people who are into knowing more about the various economic policies followed by countries around the world and why certain countries seem to become more economically successful than other ones.

One of the most entertaining of the comparisons that Lawrence Eubanks makes is between Marx’s reasoning and that of Adam Smith. The author calls Marx’s labor theory one that is typical of “paranoid conspiracy theories,” while Smith’s theory, which he writes is more of a “labor, rents, and profits” theory, is one based on an observation of facts. Eubank calls Smith “a scientist or investigator of the facts,” and Marx “a medieval Scholastic.”

In Why Marx Was Wrong, author Lawrence Eubank takes various assumptions Marx has made and lambastes them, point-by-point. Through this manner of critiquing Marx’s central argument, he probably makes the subject as entertaining as possible, though reading 500 pages of a refutation of Marx’s argument does require a commitment to want to know the exact specifics of why Marx’s reasoning is flawed. For anyone who has ever been interested in economic theories and/or has wondered why the central argument of Marx against Capitalism has continued to persist, Why Marx Was Wrong is an essential read.

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