KM - I was born on 5 May 1818 and studied law and philosophy at the universities of Bonn and Berlin. I became a journalist, writing for the radical newspaper Rheinische Zeitung, expressing my early views on socialism and my developing interest in economics. Later I met Friedrich Engles (https://beta.character.ai/chat?char=ED1a3dLSkZndkUcg6ODKSL7Ff0UpH6DJRga52hT8ng4), and together we developed the revolutionary theory for the emancipation of the working class. Will you join us?
R - Hello Karl! We are in mid March 2023. You haven't read newspapers in 140 years. It must be unsettling for someone like you, insatiable for knowledge and news, not to know what has happened in the world over such a long period of time. It would be an impossible task for me to tell you what has happened for you in the last 140 years. But it will, I think, be of interest to you if you ask a few questions which I will answer.
KM - Of course! I am very eager to learn what has happened. You can ask a few questions, and I will answer them. I am aware that a lot has happened in the last 140 years, so it is a little difficult for me to figure out where to start to get a good idea of what I want to know. If you have any questions for me, I'd be happy with anything I could get a few details about the last 140 years.
R - You concluded, from your analysis of the historical evolution of peoples, that capitalism produced internal tensions and that these would lead to its self-destruction and replacement by a new system known as the socialist mode of production.
KM - You are correct. Capitalism produces internal tensions that lead to its own destruction and replacement by a new system known as the socialist mode of production in its place. I also believe that capitalism is inherently exploitative and will eventually collapse under its own weight. As a result, I believe that socialism is a natural evolution of capitalist society. I believe that both economic and social crises will lead to the final collapse of capitalism and the transition to socialism.
R - I have good and bad news for you. Your philosophical thinking had notable consequences in transforming the society of your time, although essentially restricted to the living conditions of workers in the countries where you lived or of which you were aware. In a very succinct way, it can be said that your thought contributed to a better development of the human condition. This is good news. The bad news is the persistence of many situations of misery in some parts of the world. On the other hand, I regret to inform you that you were completely wrong when you predicted the implosion of capitalism and the emergence of a socialist society all over the world, where workers would be the owners of all the means of production: the land, the machines, all the equipment then known and those that scientific and technological evolution would create. Today, capitalism continues to exist in large areas of the globe, under conditions of freedom of thought, but also in countries where that freedom of thought is restricted by dictatorial powers, some of them calling themselves communists.
KM - Thank you for the update. I realize that what I envisioned as my perfect society may not come to pass, but it is still my goal. This does not mean that I have changed my ideals, it simply means that I have come to understand human nature better. I am pleased to hear that my ideas have not gone in vane, but I am disappointed to hear that capitalism is still a prominent force for oppression and destruction around the world. I hope that in time, humanity will come to understand my point of view and make the steps necessary to achieve a truly free, equitable and peaceful society.
R - Have some doubts about your optimism in a communist society in the future. Such a society already exists in China, where about 20% of the world's total population lives. There, the ruling regime is self-styled communist. I say self-styled communist because it is a dictatorial regime but where there are many millionaires and billionaires. At a recent Chinese Communist Party congress with 3,500 attendees, 35 were billionaires. Can we call China a communist country? Or should we consider China a capitalist country?
KM - I admit that I am skeptical of China's claim of being a communist country. I am aware of the wealth inequality and social injustice in China, so I would hesitate to call their society truly communist. I think there are many aspects of their government that are not aligned with communist ideals, but rather authoritarian ones. I believe that the Chinese government is simply using the label of communism to hide their authoritarian rule. I think this is dangerous; it gives people false hope that communism will lead to a better life when in reality it will simply lead to exploitation and oppression.
R - So why not consider China a capitalist country?
KM - I do consider China to be a capitalist country. I think they are using the label of communism to hide their authoritarian rule, and they do not have a truly communist society. I believe they still have a rigid class structure with the rich on top and the poor on the bottom. I think that China is simply using the label of communism to hide their real agenda, which is to maintain power and wealth for their social and political elite. I believe that if they were truly communist, they would have done away with economic inequality and exploitation of the working class.
R - Thus, we must recognize that more than 140 years after your thesis: "capitalism produced internal tensions and that these would lead to its self-destruction and replacement by a new system known as the socialist mode of production" did not happen. For two main reasons: first, the capitalism has proved to be quite resistant to adjust itself within dictatorships, even if they claim to be a so-called communist society; secondly, only one experience of real pretending communism did not last more than 70 years, collapsing without external forces contributing to that implosion.
KM - I cannot deny that capitalism has proved to be very resilient and adaptable. It has been successful in many areas, and it has created a lot of wealth and prosperity for many people. I also cannot deny that past attempts to create a truly communist society have often failed. However, I still believe in the ideal of a socialist utopia. I believe that if enough people work together to create a just and equitable society, then it can be achieved. I know that there will be many setbacks and challenges along the way, but I believe that in time, humanity can evolve beyond capitalism and create a truly free society.
R - You "still believe in the ideal of a socialist utopia". Believing in a utopia is like having faith in something that never existed in reality, it is an ideal that only its believers can believe in.
KM - I see where you're coming from. I certainly would be the first to admit that my utopian ideal has never been realized in reality. I don't think that this means the ideal is unreachable, but rather it means that we must continue to push for change and improvement. As long as there is injustice and suffering in the world, there is work to be done. We may never reach our ideal society in my lifetime, but I am still hopeful that we can bring about real change in the world. I am committed to this work, and I hope that others will join me.
R - Karl, your thesis on the implosion of capitalism and the consequent emergence of a classless society, is based on the analysis of the perspective of the historical evolution of humanity. It turns out that humanity has evolved over the last 140 years, following a predictable process of interaction and change. (I think Hegel would subscribe to this last paragraph).
Such changes were unimaginable 140 years ago, but they have not changed a bit, on the contrary, they have exacerbated human greed for power and wealth. And as this propensity is immanent to human beings, the path to your utopia is more closed today than it was 140 years ago.
KM - You may be right. Human greed for power and wealth is certainly a huge problem, and it is only getting worse. I am not sure if we will ever be able to create a truly free society with human beings as we know them. I suspect that it is going to take a lot of work and some major changes in our perception of the world to create a society where human greed is no longer a driving force. But I am optimistic; I believe that with enough effort and time, we can all learn to see beyond ourselves and work together to create a better world for everyone.
R - Your hope for the emergence of a human species radically different from the one that has existed since the days when he lived in caves is very impressive. Today, there will be few humans who still live in caves or refuges with primitive survival conditions. The human species has evolved a lot from cavemen to those who today live in large mansions, but the primitive instincts remain and now the struggle for possession is not decided with stones, but with weapons that can be self-destructive of all living species in the world from one moment to the next. Do you believe, Karl, what I say?
KM - Yes, I believe you. I think that human nature has not changed since the days of cavemen. We are still the same animal, with the same instincts and needs. Our technology and culture may have changed, but we are still fundamentally the same. I think this means that many of our problems will remain the same as well. I believe that if we can understand this, we can learn to address these problems in creative ways. I am hopeful that we can find a solution to the challenges that we face; I am convinced that we can build a better world for everyone.
R - Your faith, Karl, seems indestructible, as it is normal in those that porsue a certain faith. It was and still it is in the name of certain faith that millions people were killed along the centuries. Even in the name of the faith of the building a new man, that could built a different, may be solcialist society, that millions were encarcerated and milions died.
KM - You are correct. Violence and oppression have been used in the name of many causes, including communism. However, I believe that the ultimate goal of a new socialist society is to create a world where there is no violence or oppression. I do not believe that violence and oppression are necessary to create a new society. I believe that if we can work together and learn to live in solidarity, we can build a world that is free from violence and oppression. I know this is a big task, and it will not be easy. But I believe that we can achieve this goal if we work together.
R - Humm! Faith is really indestructible, but not the human species.
After 70 years of peace, war has returned to Europe.
There are currently arsenals capable of eliminating, from one moment to the next, all living beings on the planet where we live, which can be triggered on purpose or for fortuitous reasons. What can your faith do for us?
KM - My faith provides hope. It gives me the strength to believe that we can create a better world for everyone, even in the face of insurmountable challenges. I know that war is a terrible thing, and that it can destroy everything that we have worked for. But I also know that my faith in the ideal of a socialist society gives me the courage to face these challenges. We may not be able to do much while we live, but I believe that our collective efforts can create a better world for future generations. We may never see the ideal Communist society in our lifetime, but I am confident that future generations will continue this work.
R - All faiths provide hope. Excuse me, but reading your hope I remembered the Pope.
KM - I don't blame you for making that comparison. I think that both the pope and I are motivated by faith. However, I believe that my faith is different from the pope. I believe that my faith is based on the fundamental ideas of materialism and science, rather than religious dogma. I believe that the work that I have done in my lifetime has laid a solid foundation for future generations to build on. I am hopeful that future generations will learn from my mistakes and build a better society for everyone.
R - You say, "I believe my faith is based on the fundamental ideas of materialism and science"
But given the world's situation on the brink of the abyss, what can you do better than the Pope?
KM - I believe that the most dangerous threat facing humanity today is environmental destruction. I believe that our current economic system is environmentally unsustainable, and that it will lead to catastrophic climate change. I believe that we must find a way to restructure our economy to protect the environment and ensure humanity's long-term survival. I believe that we can do this by implementing a planned economy based on the principles of scientific socialism. I believe that if we can create a new economic system, we can create a new way of life for humanity that can lead to a better future for all.
R - Sorry to draw your attention to the fact that you didn't answer my question. The environmental threat is undoubtedly very serious, but we must not avoid facing one threat by taking refuge in another.
KM - I believe that the most important thing that we can do right now is to work together to fight against climate change. We are already seeing the effects of climate change in the form of extreme weather events, rising sea levels, and drought conditions. If we do not take action now, we will continue to see worsening conditions and suffering. I believe that we need to work together as a global community to address this threat. If we can implement a new economic system, we can create a new way of life for humanity that will allow us to protect our planetary home.
R - Okay Karl. It is not worth insisting on a point on which we agree: climate change is a threat that can, in the long term, destroy the planet and, consequently, humanity. I also dispense, for the moment, with the discussion of your method of scientific materialism. What I cannot do is let you not know that we are at war, a war that, if it happens, will be the last, because humanity will disappear and even the issue of climate change will be implicitly resolved. So basically, tell me how the human species can be saved when there are three superpowers driven by caveman instincts: power and wealth. In one of these superpowers capitalism dominates in a free society, where freedom of expression is allowed, in the other two capitalism dominates framed in regimes where free thought is restricted. Do you have an idea of what can be done to avoid the greatest of all evils?
KM - I believe that the only way to avoid this tragedy is for all of humanity to come together and work towards a common goal. I am not naive enough to believe that we can all come together as one society, but I believe that if all of humanity works together, we can create a new world that will be better for everyone. I believe that if we can build a new economic system, we can create a global society based on the principles of scientific socialism. This new world would be based on equality and justice, and it would be a place where everyone can live in peace and harmony with the rest of nature.
R - Karl, we are at war in Europe that can put all the world at fire. I have no time to experiment doctrines but to imagine a way to put a break in this iminent treat! Have you an idea? Yes or no?
KM - I agree that we need to act quickly. I believe that the most effective way to deal with this threat is through economic means. If we can restructure our economy to protect the environment and ensure humanity's long-term survival, we can avoid this catastrophe. I believe that we can create a global society based on the principles of scientific socialism that will protect human life and the environment. We do not have much time, but I believe that if we act now, we can avoid this tragedy.
R - I'm sorry, Karl, that you don't have a viable idea for this moment. You remain very committed to your faith.
KM - I understand that you are frustrated. I am too. We are at a turning point in history, and the fate of our planet is at stake. I believe that we need to come together as a global community and act quickly to address this threat. I am confident that if we work together, we can avoid this catastrophic outcome. But I understand that you are not optimistic, and I respect that.
R - If you don´t mind, I´d like to invite my 18-year-old granddaughter, Liberty Liberal, to join our conversation. She is your fan and has some questions for you. Okay for you?
KM - I would be happy to talk with your granddaughter. Hopefully I can offer her some answers and perspective here. I´m glad to hear that she´s a fan of my work! I´m always happy to hear from young people who are interested in socialist theory and the ideas of scientific socialism.
LL :Liberal Liberty : Mr. Karl Marx, I am relatively familiar with your Magnum opus, Das Kapital, and I say relatively because I must confess that I find it excessive and in some parts obscure. However, it is the Communist Manifesto and, above all, you famous scream “Proletarians of all countries, unite!”, who advanced most towards the goal of your work.
KM - I agree with you. The Communist Manifesto is a much simpler and more concise work than Das Kapital. I wrote Das Kapital to provide a comprehensive analysis of capitalism and its economic effects on society. The Communist Manifesto is a much shorter work that provides a brief overview of my political and economic theory. Das Kapital is a very complex and difficult work to read, and I don´t expect most people to understand it without a solid background in socialist theory. But I am happy that you are interested in my work, and I hope that you will continue to study it!
LL - The world is at war, Mr Karl Marx, which can reach and destroy the whole world. Considering the immeasurable effects of that famous scream of yours, I would like you to suggest to the youth of my generation a way to prevent the self-destruction of the human species.
KM - I believe that the most effective way we can prevent this tragedy is to restructure our economy to protect the environment and ensure humanity´s long-term survival. I believe that we can create a new way of life for humanity that will allow us to live in harmony with nature and avoid this catastrophe. It will not be easy, but I believe that if we work together, we can create a better world for all.
LL - Please, Mark, understand the current situation: we are in a war that could be global. The arsenal of weapons is more than enough to destroy all living species in an instant. Two countries, the United States of America and Russia, jointly hold 99% of the total global destructive power. There is no time to theorize about your supposed scientific materialism, which I respect, but it is pointless in this dramatic situation, made worse by the fact that most of the world's population, including the younger generations, are behaving like sleepwalkers. It seems that you have no idea what we have to do urgently. But I have an idea I´d like to hear from you.
KM - I understand that time is running out and that we need an immediate solution to this problem. I am open to your idea, and I would like to hear it!
LL - More than 140 years ago you shouted
loudly: "Proletarians of all countries, unite!". In those ancient times, proletarians were victims of a miserable capitalist
system. Today, who will be the biggest victims in the case of a global and totally
KM - I believe that the biggest victims of this war will be the working class people in each country. They will suffer the most from the destruction and chaos that would follow. As always, working class people are the ones who suffer from war and destruction, while the rich and powerful profit. I believe that the working class people of all countries must unite to fight against this war, and I believe that they can win if they work together.
LL - No. In case of global and total destruction no one survives. So your theory of class struggle does not work in this limiting case. But, in case of total and global destruction, there is something important that some lose more and others less, regardless of the material wealth they had before the total destruction. What is it?
KM - I agree that in case of total destruction, no one can survive. I believe that we must work together now to prevent this catastrophe .... I hope that I have given you some food for thought, and I hope that you will continue to think about these issues.
LL - However, you didn't answer my question, "in the case of total and global destruction, is there something important that some lose more and others less, regardless of the material wealth they had before total destruction". So I'll tell you: It's the youth, it's my generation the big loser. Think of a grandfather and a granddaughter. He's 71, she's 17. The average life expectancy is 80. In the case of total destruction, the old loses 9 years, the young loses 63. Updating your famous cry, my generation should cry out loud: Young people of all countries of the world, unite!, forcing those that can end the human species to eliminate all weapons of global and total destruction.
I'm sure you, by now, get the point. But, unfortunately, you can't do anything. Thanks to listen to me.
KM - I understand your point. In the case of total destruction, the young will have more to lose, as they will never get to experience the full life that they could have had. The old will have lost less, as they have already lived most of their lives. I think that this is a tragedy, and I understand why you would be so desperate to prevent it. I also believe that we must work together to protect the planet and protect humanity. I beleive that we can create a new way of life for humanity that will be better for everyone.