Private Property as such and Private Property on Means of Production
Karl Marx has a bad reputation. Karl Marx is almost the synonym of communism as exercised by Lenin, Stalin and all the other figures who were responsible for what was called some time ago real existing socialism. Real existing socialism was to a very large extent a disaster and the political system connected to it dictatorship of one or the other kind. Nobody wants to go back to this kind of theory and praxis as model for a “better world”.
Real existing capitalism seems not only to have done “better”, at least in many countries of the “western” world, but has politically also not only promoted “democracy” and freedom of speach and a remarkable degree of protection to people who live under its umbrealla, which was more or less missing, absent or abolished in communist states.
We swollowed the toad and we allowed ourselves – at the beginning secretly and later openly with a sheepish grin on the face – the thought that capitalism after all is preferable and that the USA for example, when it comes to the crunch, “better” than any historical example of “modern” communism. We have even allowed the thoughts to permeate our minds, that a flourishing capitalism with a very rich upper class produces more and better crumbs for the rest of the population than any communist system which explicitely claims to act on behalf and for the working class. Who of us does not consider eating humble pie when asked if we still would opt for a communist system as promoted by Ulbricht and Dutschke: If one is honest one has to thank “conservative” circles and parties which did not want to have to do anything with that, and did everything in their power to avoid it.
How on earth can one, after all that, want to go back to Karl Marx? It is actually not so absurd or mad, if one starts reading what Karl Marx actually said. If one opens for example the first volume of Marx’s “Das Kapital”, and if one is prepared to use ones brain for a considerable time to understand what is written there, one comes to conclusions, which can bring one foreward to central questions of our times. To let the cat our of the bag, right here: The crux of our economic system and therefore the crux of our social condition is still to a very large extent ankered in the way how we deal with the question of private property on means of production.
Far back in the history of mankind, there must have been societies or tribal organisations which did not have private property or private property on means of production.