Marx vs Mises: Rap Battle

From Emergent Order the studio who brought you Keynes v. Hayek (and round two) comes Marx v. Mises. All hail to anyone who can rap, “Now here comes the bomb via Von Bohm-Bawerk.” I was also pleased to see Marginal Revolution makes an appearance as does the socialist calculation debate. Useful background notes here.


Hi. If you are a patriotic American who wants and for the endless wars we have been fighting, believes in social justice, wants rich people to pay their fair share and thinks there is no reason to people struggle with medical bills in the richest country in the history of rich countries, you should consider voting for Representative Gabbard. She is a sane Democrat and has stood against Crooked Clinton.

You gotta puento bueno

I think that is the Chinese impersonator.

Don't be daft!

I think that is the impersonator.

It should never be framed as "capitalism vs socialism" Capitalism is more like a law of nature, it just is. Socialism is a punitive political system. What the author means is "freedom vs socialism". That is give the people the freedom to use capitalism to better themselves OR give the government the sole freedom to use capitalism denying that right to the individual citizens. Either way capitalism still exists and is used/exploited to trade work for wealth.

You're absolutely right. ' Capitalism is more like a law of nature. ' Nevertheless, the point missed by you is the fact that laws of nature are all blind like deadly viruses that make NO distinction between the good and the bad, the honest and the crooked or the rich and the poor in selecting their victims, which explains the ignominious fact that in the capitalist world, the deprived that make up around 99% of humanity are all BORN-poor, hard-working honest people that sweat blood to produce all wealth and luxuries and thus keep civilisation moving and advancing but have to lead a hard and humble existence befitting beasts of burden, which fact is NOT attributable to any fault or failings of theirs while the fact that the wealthy idlers that make up no more than 1% and have practically NO contribution to the progress and development of civilisation possess fabulous wealth and lead a fabulous lifestyle before your silly eyes is NOT attributable to any creditable or noble acts or achievements of theirs. Nevertheless, socialism ( communism ) is, as I see it, meant to rid humanity of this disgusting evil. Would like to know what led you to view socialism ( communism ) as ' a punitive political system. '. You seem to suggest that people in the capitalist order have yet to have ' freedom to use capitalism to better themselves ' and believe that it's only ' freedom ', NO education, NO talent, NO hard work, NO opportunities, NO capital, and NO exploitation of anyone, that people need to grow rich or super-rich. You also seem to believe that the 1% possess this ' freedom,' that has made them wealthy, and that they are NOT BORN wealthy NOR are the 99% BORN poor. Would like you to cite a single evidence in support of this novel thesis of yours. Would also like to know how you would reconcile your novel thesis that capitalism ' is used/exploited to trade work for wealth ' with the ignominious fact that in the capitalist world, the hard-working 99% form the army of the deprived while the 1% that possess fabulous wealth and lead a fabulous lifestyle truly consist of the idlers of the world.    

"Nevertheless, socialism ( communism ) is, as I see it, meant to rid humanity of this disgusting evil. Would like to know what led you to view socialism ( communism ) as ' a punitive political system. '"

Wow! It seems that you are serious or that you spent considerable effort to pen a joke or to troll me. You really embrace communism/socialism??? You really don't think that communism/socialism is a punitive political system???

I don't know where to start. Do I really want to debate with someone who embraces communism/socialism? No!

Let me instead address you complaint with capitalism: "the ignominious fact that in the capitalist world, the deprived that make up around 99% of humanity are all BORN-poor..."
That is the claim of those who tout the benefits of communism/socialism. But I am one of those "poor" born in the U.S. in 1943, grew up poor but in a loving family a survived to prosper. But that is common in the U.S. the most capitalist of nations. You can be born poor and rise above it. That is the single best thing about freedom and capitalism that what you do and your success is 100% up to you. In the U.S. today "poor" is a political tool that doesn't really reflect what is "poor" in reality. In the U.S. our poor have two 60" TV's, all the booze cigarettes and drugs they can consume, are 50-200 lbs overweight because they have so much food and they have $900 cell phones. The rest of the world sees how our poor live and are so envious they travel 1000's of miles to get here and live like a poor person. Why are the Poor in the U.S. so well off and the middle class even live better than the rich in many countries? Because of freedom. The freedom to use capitalism to gain wealth.

Compare that with what was the 3rd richest country in the world, Venezuela, that choose socialism in within a singe generation became the poorest country in the world with a punitive political system that forces their citizens to eat dogs to survive.

Hey, you're debating with a communist who is so far unvanquished in debates with champions of capitalism. Alex Tabarrok, the author of this silly article, that is afraid of responding to my humble query of what he regards as ' the winner's winning point ( the final argument still remaining unrefuted ) in this great debate is ' happens to one of the vanquished. I'm not interested in penning jokes or trolling you. I want a serious debate and want to defeat you. By your claim, you're one of the silly BORN poor that can see nothing wrong with the ignominious fact of being BORN poor and suffering deprivation for NO faults or failing of theirs because of the ' freedom ' they have and use to become billionaires in the capitalist order. Would like to know how you exploited your ' freedom ' to grow a billionaire in this short life time and how many billionaires you know that were BORN poor and turned billionaire in their life time like you.I've taken cognisance of your silly argument that in America the poor are NOT truly poor because they ' have two 60″ TV’s, all the booze cigarettes and drugs they can consume, are 50-200 lbs overweight because they have so much food and they have $900 cell phones. ' So, you believe people owning ' two 60" TV's, ... ' are billionaires. Would like to know what the billionaires like Bill Gates, Warren Buffets, Donald Trumps, etc are in your brilliant eyes ? You remind me of Professor Robert J. Aumann, a Nobelist economist, who, responding to my argument that capitalism is ' fundamentally flawed ', said ' Even in India, the percentage of households owning an automobile exceeds 11% and is growing rapidly. In the USA – the bastion of capitalism – it is 88%. ' Some of my arguments pointing to the hollowness of the Professor's position are as follows.
‘ In India, as far as I know, over 95% per cent of men in the national workforce don’t have taxable income. This implies that in the eyes of the Govt of India, they’re so poor as to deserve full exemption from income taxes, right ?  According to a recent report released by by the Centre for Sustainable Employment at Azim Premji University , “ 82% of male and 92% of female workers earn less than [Rs]10,000 a month, “ while the minimum salary recommended by the Seventh Central Pay Commission (CPC) is “ [Rs]18,000 per month. “In the light of the above, would it be wrong or wild exaggeration to assert that in India, the army of guys below the Poverty Level consist of no less than 90% of the Indian workforce ? '  ' The mere ownership of a car does not make an American deserve to be reckoned a rich guy in the USA in this space age The US Department of Housing and Urban Development runs a programme known as Public Housing Program that is aimed at providing US citizens who cannot afford home with decent and safe housing. Under this programme, low-rent houses are made available to eligible US citizens through open lotteries, and for this the eligibility criteria include an income figure equal to 175 per cent of the area median income ( AMI ). The AMI of the New York city for 2013 was $85,900 for a family of four. That means an American guy with a spouse and two kids and an annual income of $150,325 is eligible for the federally subsidised housing. This practically amounts to the admission that an American heading a four-member family and having an annual income under or equal to $150,325 is poor. But this figure is over 645 per cent of the official figure of Federal Poverty Threshold for 2012 for a family of four ( 2 adults+2 kids ), which is $23,283 ( or about 638 per cent of the figure of Federal Poverty Guidelines for 2013-2014  , i.e. $23,550 for a four-member family or household ), and over 174 per cent of the US per-capita taxable income in 2010 ( i.e. $86,390 ) and nearly equal to 294 per cent of the median income in 2012 of all US households. These data manifestly mock the US official poverty-ratio figures for 2012, viz. 11.8% of all families and 15.0% of total population . It is also to be noted that around 90.5% US households’ per-household annual income was below $150,000 in 2012 (see Table A-1., US Census Bureau Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States:2012 ). 'The ' American wealthiest who earn over $250,000 yearly and constitute merely, according to the then US President Mr Barack Obama, “ 2% of Americans “ ( Congress Passes Cliff Deal @ ) ' 
Any questions ?

Theodore, is what you mean by the ' fair share ' that you want the ' rich people to pay ' really clear to you ? Can you define it ?

You know, start pulling their weight around.

I'm afraid this isn't a sensible reply.

I think it is clear that the common American is being given a bad deal.

The point is if you cannot define the distinction between the ' fair share ' and the ' unfair share ', your use of these terms makes no sense, I'm afraid.

“Did you even watch this?”

“Yeah! Half of it was actually good!”

Made me laugh but also true that it probably won’t change anyone’s mind. *sigh*

Marxism doesn't work.

Is what led you to believe that ' Marxism doesn't work ' clear to you ? Could you state it ?

1: labor theory of value. Need I say more?

2: Marx sees all voluntary exchange as zero sum. In his analysis then returns to capital are losses to labor, thus 'exploitation'. This is the basis for class struggle; without this, there's nothing for the proletariat to rise up against.

3: marx himself admits his system doesn't work. He relies on the deus ex machina of a transformation of human consciousness itself which would undoubtedly occur under communism. This new conciousness would then produce the "new man" who does not respond to incentives but acts only in the interests of the party. Pretty shoddy theory, really if it relies on magic to work.

4: even with a bunch of new men who are perfectly altruistic, it's impossible to rationalize production without a price system.

5: empirically, markets and free exchange have reduced poverty across the world, centralized production and political control has increased poverty wherever it is tried.

Say what you've got to say about the labour theory of value. How does it prove Marxism wrong ? I'm eager to know.
From the communistic standpoint, ' exploitation ' is the possession taken by the capitalist of the fruit of the surplus-labour ( unpaid-labour ) the labourer has to perform under the capitalist condition of employment. This fruit of the labourer's surplus-labour is the capitalist's profit. Evidently, the ' exploitation ' of workers by capitalists leads to the affluence of the capitalists and the impoverishment of the workers. This phenomenon along with the capitalist market economy ( commodity economy ) is to blame for what I view as the most ignominious fact, namely, the disgusting division of humanity into the 1% idlers ( the BORN rich & the BORN super-rich ) and the 99% ( the deprived millions ). It is the deprived 99%, the BORN poor, that sweat blood to produce all wealth and luxuries and keep society and civilisation moving and make them advance too while the 1%, the BORN wealthy, that lead a fabulous, wasteful lifestyle before your silly eyes practically have NO significant contribution to the progress and development of civilisation. Only communism can rid humanity of such silly evils and ills, the way I see it.
Would like to know where did you find the nonsense that ' marx himself admits ... work. '
Would also like to know why production ' without a price system ' is impossible.
Would like to know how you view the fact that the gulf between rich and poor has kept on widening globally.

Marxism is unfalsifiable claptrap masquerading as "science". It wouldn't be so bad if Marx and his disciples didn't demand and command as much social authority and political power. If they were relegated to the influence of the astrologists it would be more tolerable.

Was there a communist revolution? Yes? This proves Marx was right!
Was there no communist revolution? This also proves Marx was right! The bourgeois conspired against him!
Do you hate your job? Do you feel alienated from your labor? Yes? This proves Marx was right!
Do you enjoy your job and like your boss? Yes? This also proves Marx was right! You merely embraced your own bondage and are a blinded by false consciousness!
Are profits falling? Yes? This proves Marx is right!
Are profits not falling? Don't worry they eventually will somewhere which will eventually prove Marx right!

See also:

This is also how the Austrian School works. The economy is bad? Interventionism is to blame. The economy is booming? It is fake, soon or later there will be a recession. Actually, Mises taught that facts don't matter.

I actually agree, which is why I am not an Austrian. While I personally have found more wisdom within the Austrian school than Marxism and have drawn from it I ultimately reject it because of its absurd dogmatism and bizarre methodology(praxeology).

Some of the insights of Hayek remain important and the discipline of economics owes much to the Austrian school, but with little exception they have not been relevant since the 1930's, maybe even the 20's.

Theory of communism is a science, for which reason, it's ' unfalsifiable '. The world has yet to witness a communist revolution. This fact really does NOT prove the theory of communism wrong. The theory of communism does NOT want you to hate your job or love your boss. It enlightens you about the classless order, what it's meant for, and how you can achieve it. So far  none has found a sound and substantial argument against the theory of communism. Your comment amounts to an unwilling recognition of this fact.  

J. M. Keynes. “A Marxian Socialism must always remain a portent to the historians of opinion – how a doctrine so illogical and so dull can have exercised so powerful and enduring an influence over the minds of men, and through them, the events of history.” And, killed 100 million.

They tried it out with disastrous results in a number of countries.

But, it was all bad luck. It will work next time.

It was very well done!

Alex, what do you think is the winner's winning point ( the final argument still remaining unrefuted ) in this great debate ?

Wouldn't Menger be the more temporally adjacent Austrian?

I didn't watch because the Keynes vs Hayek video made a big deal of bottom-up vs top-down a la Road to Serfdom even though Keynes endorsed that book. It also didn't actually present Hayek's theories on capital and the business cycle to contrast with Keynes, perhaps because they didn't actually have much confidence in that.

Would like to know whose side you're on and why in this great debate ' CAPITALISM VS SOCIALISM '.

Capitalism, because I don't want to live in North Korea or Venezuela. I find the Chicago school more persuasive than the Austrian school, which has resisted the use of empirical evidence by insisting that economics is logically a priori like math. As soon as I read about the "plucking model" from Roger Garrison I decided ABCT was wanting:

Neither North Korea Nor Venezuela Nor China is communist. All of these countries are essentially capitalist dictatorships.

'Pure' communism, like 'pure' anarchism, are both impossible systems for human beings to coordinate at any meaningful scale. There are 7 billion humans, and neither -ism can accomodate that.

' Pure communism ' is NOT ' pure anarchism ' Prehistorical barbarism was followed by civilisation that began with slavery that was replaced by Medieval serfdom, and Medieval serfdom was replaced by capitalism followed by mixed-economy welfare-capitalist dictatorships and democracies of our times. Historical materialism, the premise of the theory of communism, that acquaints you with the law governing these changes in the social order remains unrefuted to date. No one, the Nobelist economists included, has to date succeeded in finding a substantial argument against communism till today. Theory that the size of population will prevent the evolution of the classless order that, by the theory of communism, is certain and irresistible is silly, I'm afraid to say.

My point was both of those -isms are completely unworkable for large groups of humans, you daft pillock.

Yours is NOT a ' point '. It's an unfounded assertion or a mere silly opinion, and it'll remain so as long as you fail to provide it with a sound logical foundation, I'm afraid to say. 

Almost everything Marx wanted for capitalism he got--minimum wage, maximum hours, two days off a week, labor unions, safe working conditions, employee health care, unemployment insurance, pensions, patreon, progressive income tax.

Almost nothing Hayek wanted for socialism he got--freedom of speech, social media, youtube, freedom of association, right to keep and bear arms, school choice, no searches and seizures without warrants, right to remain silent, presumption of innocence, speedy trial by jury of peers.

Marx won all the battles which handed Hayek the crown.

Hey, your ignorance of the theory of communism is as great as an ocean. Communism aims at a classless order based on the production for consumption. In order to its goal, communism must do away with the institution of private property ( because it's responsible for the division of humanity into the propertied few and non-propertied millions ), the production and exchange of commodities, thus the market economy ( because the concentration of huge wealth in a few hands leading to the pauperism of the multitude reflects the fundamental law of a commodity economy ), capital and wage slavery, hence all sorts of wages ( all these are meant to serve the interests of the capitalist class alone ), etc. Communists support demands like ' minimum wage, maximum hours, two days off a week, labor unions, safe working conditions, employee health care, unemployment insurance, pensions, patreon [sic], progressive income tax ' etc because all these are meant to benefit the working class under capitalism.

The 'theory of communism' is a bunch of childish dreams.

The reality of communism is authoritarian control, destruction of human capital, and heaps of corpses.

It is the ultimate in slavery because the state owns the property and production of it's citizenry, and it is the ultimate in a rigid class structure between those who hold power hence all property and those who don't.

Derek, your view of communism is plain wrong. It's silly to admire or condemn a book that you never read. The truth is communism, and communism alone, is meant to rid humanity of the ignominious division of humanity, not on the basis of talent or achievements but on the basis of mere property ( i.e. money the filthy lucre ), into the 1% idlers and the deprived 99%, swarms of the BORN poor and let you lead a healthy and meaningful existence.

"Communists support demands like ' minimum wage, maximum hours, two days off a week, labor unions, safe working conditions, employee health care, unemployment insurance, pensions, patreon [sic], progressive income tax ' etc because all these are meant to benefit the working class under capitalism."

By all accounts communists failed to deliver those things relative to the capitalist dictatorships of Canada, Sweden, Japan and the United States. Indeed, the reason why developed countries have those things(MW, safety standards, social insurance) is because we are wealthy and can afford the costs associated with them.

Not communists. People you believe to be communists were or are all pseuds. You're NOT wealthy. You're a silly guy, so silly as to be unable to see the truth glaring before your eyes like the mid-day summer sun. The wealthy in the capitalist world consist of only 1% idlers all of whom are BORN wealthy, which means their wealth and fabulous lifestyle are NOT attributable to any creditable or noble acts or achievements of theirs while the deprived 99% consist of the BORN poor who are hard-working people, the innocent millions, that sweat blood to produce all wealth and luxuries but have to lead an existence befitting beasts of burden, and what I view as the most disgusting and distressing is the fact that the ignominious, pathetic plight of the deprived 99% in a capitalist order is NOT attributable to any sin or faults of theirs. Any questions ?

Hey, guys. Are you tired of mindless political rants the apparently unbridgeable chasm between Democrats and Republicans? Are you feeling discouraged because the choice in 2020 seems to be going to be between a crazy man-child and a communist harpy? What if there is another way, a better way? Representative Gabbard may be the person we, Americans, have been looking for in vain until now. She cares about American workers, she wants to stimulate entrepreneurs, she wants to keep America's military strong and will defend America's hegemony. She opposes brainless military interventionism and she will defend the little guy's interests. She is a person like you and I are. She understands the values that make you and I tick. This comment has been paid by no one. Take money out of America's politics.

I respectfully request that you seek help from a qualified mental health professional.

Why? Can you zuggest a better candidate?


She should run as a 3rd party candidate.

That was marvellous. Probably inspired by epic rap battles of history, but with a more serious tone, if not as high on sheer entertainment.

Great, as if undergrads didn't think of economists are being cringey enough already.

One again AIER strikes gold. This series has been amazing.

But what about their employees? One of them (a "content director," which is very libertarian) wrote Ron Paul's racist 90s newsletters. One of them (a video star) has called for a libertarian-fascist alliance and for all leftists to be lined up against the wall. And shot.

Aier is now making videos for undergrads? Yikes.

It is quite fitting to depict Marx as a rapping thug.

It's been a long wait for the new video but worth it.

Alex, you seem to be groping for words in the dark. I just want you to state what, in your view, the winner's winning point ( the final argument still remaining unrefuted ) in this great debate is.

Hi Alex, it's silly to have recourse to muteness in response to comments on your article. Such things show only the hollowness of your learning.

Comments for this post are closed