16 Major Limitations of Marxism – Explained!

Limitations of Marxism:

1. Theory of Dialectical Materism Lacks Originality:

The theory of Dialectical Materialism of Marx stands borrowed from Hegel. It wrongly holds that what is real is matter.

The reality is that matter by its very nature is inert and to regard it as living and evolutionary is incorrect.

Karl Marx: The German Ideology; The Fetishism of Commodities – Art ...

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2. Marxian Materialism is Wrong:

Marx gives all importance to matter and ignores the importance of human beings.

3. Economic Factors are not the only factors of Social Change:

No doubt economic factors are very important and key factors of social change, yet these cannot be regarded as the all important determinants of social change. Communism over emphasise the importance of economic factors.


4. It is wrong to say that Society has only two Economic Classes:

Marxism wrongly accepts the existence of only two economic classes i.e. haves and have nots. Its ignores the middle class which is, usually the larger and more active class.

5. Theory of Class Struggle is not correct:

It is wrong to ascertain that antagonism or struggle is and can be the only relation between the rich and the poor. It is over simplification and unhistorical to say that history of society has always been a history of class struggle.


6. Theory of Surplus Value is one sided and wrong:

Marxian theory of Surplus Value, which is based on the labour theory of value, is not a correct theory. It wrongly holds that value depends on labour. The value of a thing depends on several factors —the cost of production and market forces, and not only on labour.

7. One sided view of History of Society:

No one can deny the role played by material factors in the evolution of society. Infact, Marx very correctly emphasised this factor. However, his division of the whole of historical process of evolution in five stages is arbitrary and un objective.

8. Capitalism is not all evil:

Marxism forgets that capitalism has some merits. The demise of the communist regimes in the former USSR, Eastern European socialist countries Vietnam and even in China (Virtual demise) has fully demonstrated the weaknesses of communism. The adoption of liberalisation, privatisation, market economies and competitive systems by the former communist (Socialist) regimes tends to reflect the importance and value of capitalism.

9. Faith in Revolution is Dangerous:

Marxism advocates revolution as the method of securing the desired objectives. Lenin explained that such a revolution has to be a violent and bloody revolution. Modern civilisation does not accept such a utility of revolution. Revolution comes into being through violence and maintains itself through force and violence. This can never be enduringly successful and fully productive.

10. State is a Social and not a Class Institution:

Marxism wrongly indicts state as a class institution and describes it as an instrument of force, violence and exploitation in the hands of the ‘Rich’. State is a natural social institution. It is an instrument of welfare. The modern welfare state is distinctively pro-poor and pro-down-troddens. It is not a weapon of the rich for exploiting the poor.

11. Idea of Classless and Stateless Society is Utopian:

The Marxist ideal of a classless and stateless society is also Utopian. We cannot conceive of a society without classes and without a state. In 73 years after its socialist revolution, the (former) USSR other socialist states failed to attain this ideal. On the contrary these suffered their own disintegrations.

12. Private Property is Natural and Essential:

Marxism wrongly criticises private property and religion as evils. Both are natural, essential and useful social institutions. These have a history behind them. No one can deny some of the evil results of these institutions but no one can really accept the thesis that these are totally harmful and evil institutions.

13. Marxism wrongly denies the Role of Morality in Society:

Marxism wrongly ignores the eternal and universal principles of moral conduct. It seeks to project man as a slave of the material conditions of life. Man can exist but not live under communism.

14. Little Chance for the Elimination of State:

Whereas Marxism projects the thesis of withering away of the state after revolution, the humankind finds the state becoming stronger and stronger in power and authority. The State has successfully survived and become stronger.

15. Marxism Wrongly gives All Importance to Workers:

Marxism wrongly gives all importance to the proletariat. It ignores the importance of other social classes.

16. Lack of a Clear Picture of Communist Society:

Marxism does not fully explain the nature of the communist society that it holds to be ideal. Marx did not explain it in his scientific socialism, and Lenin explained it only in parts. Stalin gave to it an authoritarian character, which in the ultimate analysis led to its demise in the erstwhile USSR. Between 1917—1990, was undoubtedly totalitarian, dictatorial and tyrannical. We continue to witness its authoritarian political dimension in the Peoples Republic of china.

Max Lerner has pointed out six main errors of Marxian Communism:

(i) An underestimation of the strength of capitalism,

(ii) An overestimation of the revolutionary character of the proletariate;

(iii) An underestimation of the strength of the middle class and the misreckoning of its direction;

(iv) An underestimation of the strength of nationalism and national unity;

(v) A faulty theory of human nature in politics; and

(vi) The misreckoning of proletarian dictatorship.

No one can deny the need for such noble principles as economic equality, welfare of the poor and emancipation of masses. However, no one can accept the way Marxism tries to explain and secure these principles. It is quite impossible to accept the Marxian method of revolution as the method of social change and transformation. Marxism wrongly portrays the role of the State as an instrument of class exploitation. In fact, state can play and has been playing a positive welfare role in society.

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