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The Problem With A Classless Society

Can everyone be equal in society? This is one of the ideals of communism, but Srila Prabhupada contends otherwise based on the strength of the truths of the Bhagavad-gita and simply observation.

Syamasundara: Karl Marx contended that philosophers have only interpreted the world; the point is to change it. His philosophy is often called "dialectical materialism" because it comes from the dialectic of George Hegel -- thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. When applied to society, his philosophy is known as communism. His idea is that for many generations, the bourgeoisie [the property owners] have competed with the proletariat [the working class], and that this conflict will terminate in the communist society. In other words, the workers will overthrow the capitalistic class and establish a so-called dictatorship of the proletariat, which will finally become a classless society.

Srila Prabhupada: But how is a classless society possible? Men naturally fall into different classes. Your nature is different from mine, so how can we artificially be brought to the same level?

Syamasundara: His idea is that human nature, or ideas, are molded by the means of production. Therefore everyone can be trained to participate in the classless society.

Srila Prabhupada: Then training is required?

Syamasundara: Yes.

Srila Prabhupada: And what will be the center of training for this classless society? What will be the motto?

Syamasundara: The motto is "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need." The idea is that everyone would contribute something, and everyone would get what he needed.

Srila Prabhupada: But everyone's contribution is different. A scientific man contributes something, and a philosopher contributes something else. The cow contributes milk, and the dog contributes service as a watchdog. Even the trees, the birds, the beasts -- everyone is contributing something. So, by nature a reciprocal arrangement is already there among social classes. How can there be a classless society?

Philosophy conversations with Srila Prabhupada- Karl Marx

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