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Marxist Communism Myth #5: 

Social progress is based upon the development of the material productive forces.

 

The materialistic view of history.

The materialistic view of history is the application of the Communist dialectic and materialism to history and social problems.

The dialectic states that development occurs through the unity and struggle of opposing factors based on internal contradiction. ("Law of Development through Unity and Struggle of Opposing Factors" or, in short, "Law of Contradiction").  As the application of this "Law of Contradiction" to history, the materialistic view of history asserts that human history is the history of struggle between the ruling class and the ruled class.

The dialectic states that development is not a constant growth process but a process which is interrupted by a sudden shift from quantitative change to qualitative change ("Law of Transition from Quantitative Change to Qualitative Change").

According to the materialistic view of history in the application of this law, class struggles at first have begun as economic struggle.  The sphere of this struggle is extended gradually up to a point when radical and violent political struggle, that is, revolution, comes about suddenly.  At this time, the relationship between the ruling and the ruled is reversed and the ruled class gains the victory, bringing about a new society.

As the application of the "Law of Negation of Negation," the dialectic asserts that history started from a primitive communal society which was a classless society; after this classless society was negated, class society developed through three stages (slave, feudal, capitalist), and ultimately the class society itself will be negated to return to the higher stages of classless society, that is, Communist society.

As the application of materialism, materialistic view of history asserts that, as man's spirit is a product of matter, so various forms of ideologies in the society (various views and institutions) are products of the production relations, which are the foundation of society.  Accordingly, the superstructure (various views and institutions) shares the identical destiny with the foundation (basis), that is, the development and extinction of various ideological forms follow the development and extinction of production relations.

Critique

Communists use the dialectic and materialism to explain historical development, providing us with the vision that Communist society, the ideal society for which mankind has been longing, is sure to come about in the future.  But, the Communist countries, which were established in accordance with their theory, have turned out to be far worse than their capitalist counterparts, as Communist bloc peoples suffer from inequality, restricted freedom, and gross neglect of human rights.  The reason for their disparity is that the Communist philosophy, dialectical materialism, which they apply to historical development, is false.  The materialistic view of history, as well as other theories of Communism, is a deceptive theory which professional revolutionists have used to deceive people in order to take over the political power.  The best way to explain the development of history accurately is to learn the Unification view of history.

The materialist view of history emphasizes that social development is governed by law.

The Reason

Communists assert that social development is governed by law, because they believe that the theory of social development must become social science.  As seen in natural science, sciences can be established when they are based upon objective laws.  Communists believe that these objective laws must be material laws.  Therefore, in order for the theory on social development to become social science, it must be assumed that material laws operate on social developments.

If it is assumed that God's providence has brought about historical development, it is not possible to find material laws in history.  In that case, they insist, historical theory could not be claimed to be a science but that it would be little better than a kind of superstition.

Critique

The assertion that a historical theory must be a social science is a true view.  However, the Communist theory of the materialistic view of history is erroneous; it cannot claim to be social science in the true sense.  The Communist laws of social development (historical development) are in fact not objective laws at all, but conclusions gained by very subjective methods of analysis.  For example, there is the law: "When the productive forces progress to a certain stage, the existing production relations become a fetter to the progress of productive forces; at this point, social revolution inevitably occurs."  This is not an objective law with scientific proof, but a mere application of their subjective analytical methods, such as the law of contradiction and the law of quantitative change to qualitative change.  In spite of their subjective methods, they pretend that their theory is objective and scientific.  This cannot assert to be a true social science.

Counterproposal

The materialist view of history fails to offer true objective laws because it is asserted by mistake that social development is material development, which is the same as development in nature.  Social development, however, can be brought about by a combination (give-and-take action) of will (spirit) and matter.  Between the two, the factor which acts as subject is will (spirit).  Therefore, they should have discovered objective laws from the aspect of spirit.  But, on the contrary, they tried to discover objective laws only from the aspect of matter which is object. As matter is under the control of spirit (subject), certain laws can be found in matter.  Communists, however, use the dialectic, which is their subjective method, and camouflage their interpretation as if it were based upon objective material laws.

What are the objective laws which operate on spirit?  They are the laws of God's Providence, namely the laws of creation and the laws of restoration, which have operated through man's will.  They are not subjective, but objective laws, because they are determined by God and cannot be changed by man's will, just as man cannot change the natural laws.

Consequently, "the Unification view of history" which is the application of these laws of Providence to history can justly claim to be social science in the true sense.  Christianity up to now has been unable to present a clear view of the laws of God's Providence.  Therefore, even if Communists criticize Christianity as mysticism and superstition, Christians have been unable to make any counterattack against it.

Important points of the laws of development of history, according to the materialistic view of history.

(1) Social development is based on the development of productive forces, which are material.

(2) Man, in his social life, is inevitably involved in production relations as his most basic social relationship.

(3) The production relations progress, inevitably, following and corresponding to the progress of the production forces.

(4) Production forces and the production relations progress independently of man's will.

(5) When the production relations become a fetter to the progress of the production forces, revolution occurs.

(6) The superstructure, namely the various views and institutions (ideological forms) is the product of the production relations which are the foundation of society.

(7) Every type of state is a power institution (power organization) of the ruling class; the state is the institution of oppression which one class uses to oppress other classes.  Therefore the shifting of the state power from one class to another can be accomplished only by revolution (the theory of the state and revolution).

"Social progress is based upon the development of the material productive forces"

Critique

This law means that the basic cause of social progress is the development of the productive forces, and that the productive forces are not spiritual but material.  However, this Communist theory remains unable to explain the cause of the development of the productive forces itself.  Since dialectical development is brought about by struggle between contradictory elements, the development of the productive forces also must be explained in terms of struggle between contradictory elements within the productive forces.  But Marx and his followers say only that development of the productive forces is self-caused and they remain unable to make clear the content of the contradictory elements (opposing things) within the productive forces.  This alone proves that the development of the productive forces does not come about through the dialectic process.

Also the reason why the productive forces do not remain at a certain level but instead develop continuously remains unclear.

Counterproposal

According to the Unification Thought, the productive forces are one of the forms of man's creative power: Creative power is the ability to dominate creation (all things) in order to feel joy through the life of value (spiritual life) and everyday life (physical life) such as eating, housing, and having nice clothing.  Man is also endowed with the desire to establish God's kingdom (ideal world).  This desire, through which man constantly searches for a better life, having better clothing, food and shelter, brought about the development of creative power.  But, according to Unification Thought, development means multiplication, which can be brought about only by give-and-take action between subject and object.  The subject in this case, the Sung Sang (internal factor), is will and knowledge based on desire. The object, the Hyung Sang (external factor), is social and material conditions at a particular time.  In other words, a combination (give-and-take action) between the subject (man's will and knowledge) and the object (social and material conditions), brings about new knowledge and technique.  This is the meaning of the development of creative power, or the development of the productive forces.

The development of the productive forces, therefore, is not simple material development, but is the development brought about by the combination between Sung Sang (spiritual factor) and Hyung Sang (material factor).  In this case, because the subject factor is will, if one factor is to be emphasized, it can be said that development is brought about by the action of the will.

"The production relations progress, following and corresponding to the progress of the productive forces."

Critique

This law means that in the Iron Age, for example, when the productive forces had developed to the stage of agriculture and hand industry, the form of production relations changed into feudal society where feudal lords and serfs had relationships centered upon production.  When productive forces developed further and reached the stage of large, mechanized industries, production relations also progressed, taking the form of capitalist society where capitalists and laborers have relationships centered upon production.  But this law is not applicable today. In Communist society, which is, by their definition, one step further advanced than capitalist society, productive forces are far less developed than in capitalist societies.  This fact proves that this law is wrong.

Why did Communist production relations appear in a society with less developed productive forces than capitalist society?  We cannot help but think that the stage of production relations does not necessarily correspond to the development of productive forces.  There must be other factors that have influence upon the development of societies.

Counterproposal

According to Unification Thought, social development is necessarily brought about by give-and-take action (combination power between the subject factor and the object factor).

The development of both the productive forces and the production relations is brought about in this way.  The subject factor is will (consciousness), the internal factor, while the objective factor is social and material conditions, the external factor. The development of both the productive forces and the production relations results from the give-and-take action between "will" and "social and material conditions."  The difference exists only in the content and purpose of the respective give-and-take actions.  When give-and-take action is directed toward the development of skills or techniques, development of the productive forces comes about.  The development of production relations comes about when the give-and-take action is directed toward reformation of the social system.  In the case of the development of productive forces, the Sung Sang factor is the will of scientists; in the case of the development of production relations, the Sung Sang factor is the will of statesmen.

In the case of the development of productive forces, the Hyung Sang factors are the social conditions such as the level of scientific development and the level of productivity, and the material conditions such as capital, resources, scale of factory facilities.  In the case of the development of production relations, the Hyung Sang factors are social conditions such as suffering of the masses, corruption and injustice of public officials, upsurge of complaint by the masses, frequency of demonstrations, and material conditions such as bankruptcy of national finances, a sharp rise of prices, financial troubles of industry, and so on.  Consequently, the development of production relations does not correspond directly to the development of productive forces, but rather to the development of the condition of the subject, that is, the development of desire (will).

"The progress of the productive forces and the production relations occurs independently of man's will."

Critique

What this law means is that development from manufacturing to great machine industry, and from the invention of the compass to the opening of sea routes, and from the invention of the steam engine to the Industrial Revolution was not intended by man.  In other words, the inventor of the compass never imagined that his invention would be used to open sea routes.  Likewise Watt, the inventor of the steam engine, never imagined that his invention would lead to the Industrial Revolution.  That is what this law means.

But the compass itself is obviously a product of the inventor's will, also the opening of sea routes itself is, without doubt, a product of the will of the person who planned it and accomplished it.  Likewise, just as the steam engine is a product of Watt's will, so the spinning machine, locomotive, railway, iron foundry, and steam ship are the products of some inventor's will, respectively.

Therefore, the fact that earlier inventors failed to imagine future inventions and developments is not enough to prove Marx's theory that development of productive forces occurs independently of man's will.

Counterproposal

Every invention is the product of an inventor's will and the core of productive forces is the accumulation of inventions. Therefore, the productive forces are not independent of will, but rather are dependent on will.  However, as stated before, invention cannot be brought about by will alone, but social and material conditions must be present to make the invention possible.  So, as the Unification Thought asserts, it is the combination of will and social and material conditions that brings about invention. (God's Providence operates on man's action of will, though man does not notice it.)  The reasons why Communists disregard will action in historical development are: 1) It they admit the importance of will action, the materialist philosophy, which asserts that spirit is a product of matter, has to collapse; 2) in order to disprove the logic that appropriate political action (or political consciousness) can avert the occurrence of social revolution, that is, in order to establish the logic that, whether or not the government policies are good or not, the capitalistic production relations will inevitably collapse as the result of the development of productive forces which are material conditions.

"When production relations become a fetter to the progress of productive forces, revolution occurs."

Critique

This law means as follows: productive forces develop constantly, whereas once the production relations are established, they tend to remain fixed. Thus when productive forces progress to a certain level, conflict inevitably arises with the static production relations, (the production relations become a fetter) and revolution occurs.  This revolution means violent revolution. Communists maintain that the productive forces are usually developed by the ruled class, and the revolution occurs because the oppressed class comes to destroy the old system of established production relations, which has become a hindrance to the development of the productive forces.

The cause of the French Revolution did consist of the contradictions within the old system.  But there were also direct motivations: the gathering in Paris of the boundary defense army, failure in policy such as firing of Finance Minister Neckel, and accidental factors such as the bad harvest just at that time.  These direct motivations show that, it the statesmen had made good use of their will-power and if they had carried out good policy, they could have reformed the system peacefully without violent revolution.  The Glorious Revolution in England in 1688 is a good example. In this revolution, the parliament drove away the reactionary King James 11, who persecuted Protestants, and placed William 111, who was pro-Protestant, on the throne as the new king and let him approve the rights of citizens ("Declaration of Right"). Thus, this revolution was the bloodless peaceful reformation of the system.

Counterproposal

According to the Unification View of History, it is asserted that all struggles, including revolutions, are conflicts between good and evil, insofar as those struggles have historical significance.  When the old sovereign continues to mistreat the people, without repenting for his bad government, leaders on the side of goodness come to fight and the masses come to support them as their subject, thus revolution is brought about. Strictly speaking, the French Revolution was not a struggle between the ruling class and the rule, but a struggle between the forces of the old sovereign, the subject power on the side of evil, and the forces of the newly emerging leaders, the subject powers on the side of goodness.  The peasantry who formed the oppressed class had the same interest as the newly rising powers (commercial and industrial people), so those peasants supported and cooperated with the rising commercial and industrial citizens.  If it had not been for the people of commerce and industry, who were the rising powers, the rebellion of the peasantry, the ruled class in those days, would certainly have been suppressed.  All of the ruling class did not become the enemy of the masses.  Some of them (priests and aristocrats) sided with the third estate (citizens and peasants) and established a constitutional parliament.

As explained above, revolution is a struggle between the subject powers (sovereign forces) of the evil side and the subject powers of the good side, in short, a struggle between good and evil. (Good and evil here mean good and evil of heart, that is, good and evil of desires.)  Therefore, it can be said that revolutions are actually the conflicts between desires.

 

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