But of course, a little thought reveals this to be nonsense. Nothing has intrinsic value. Absent a person to value it, nothing has value at all. And the value of things is entirely subjective. If it weren’t, no trade would occur. Every voluntary exchange occurs because two people have something to trade, and each person places a higher value on the other person’s object than their own. If they both valued both equally, there would be no point in swapping. Even though there is a price denominated in dollars on an item in a store, that doesn’t mean that’s what it is worth. It won’t move off the shelves unless its price is lower than its value to some of the customers. If it is higher than the value to everyone, it will not be sold.
Both of these notions undermine the logic of the free market, and when they are implemented into policy and law, as they have been over the past century or so, the growth of wealth of the nation, and sometimes its absolute value, is accordingly reduced. And while they are intrinsically Marxist notions, many hold them who do not consider themselves Marxists.
So, with apologies to Jeff Foxworthy, let me disabuse them of their false consciousness:
If you believe, as the president does, that “it’s good for everyone when we spread the wealth around,” you might be a Marxist.
If you believe that “the rich” don’t “need” tax rate reductions, you might be a Marxist.
If you believe that, at some point, other people have “made enough money,” you might be a Marxist.
If you believe that we have to “keep people in their homes,” even when they have never had any equity in them, and despite the fact that they can’t afford the mortgage and the market is not being allowed to clear, then you might be a Marxist.
If you believe that there is a floor on the value of everyone’s labor, and it is a single number applicable in every state of the union, regardless of the cost of living, then you might be a Marxist.
If you believe that handing someone who pays no taxes a government check is a “tax cut,” you might be a Marxist.
If you believe that the government should pay the “prevailing local wage” on government projects, you might be both a Marxist and a racist, since Davis-Bacon was instituted to shut lower-paid minorities out of such projects.
If you believe that unemployment checks are the surest, fastest way to stimulate the economy, you might be a Marxist.
If you believe that the capital gains tax should be increased, even though it would result in reduced government revenue, because that’s what is required for “fairness,” you might be a Marxist.
If you believe that you know better than someone else what they “need,” and are willing to impose your belief on them at gunpoint and force them to purchase it, and not allow them to purchase things that they think they need, then you just might be a Marxist, too.