Karl MarxKarl Marx, (1818-1883) Prussian-born philosopher, economist, sociologist, journalist, and revolutionary socialist, father of Communism, co-author of the 'Communist Manifesto'

Questionable Karl Marx Quote

“Democracy is a form of government that cannot long survive, for as soon as the people learn that they have a voice in the fiscal policies of the government, they will move to vote for themselves all the money in the treasury, and bankrupt the nation.”

Karl MarxKarl Marx
~ Karl Marx

Questionable - no source found.

Ratings and Comments

Logan, Memphis, TN

Ahh, well said Marx. Ironically, Marx was actually in favor of democratic socialism, although he thought it moved too slowly to have the real effect he thought it should have. Absolute democracy, or "social democracy", as it is also called, is the epitome of socialism and communism; however, communism skips the step of "social democracy" by due process and calls for a physical and immediate revolution. All things are common to the majority. We often think of Democracy in terms of a form of government organization or power, but socialism and communism thought in broader terms-- instead of just Democracy for government, they argued in behalf of democracy for everyday life! SOCIAL DEMOCRACY! This means that all corporations, religions, etc. were now entities to be ruled by the majority of the people. Unless the owner of the company was the only worker, or the priest of the church was the only follower of that sect, he is usually outnumbered by his employees or followers who, by a majority vote, would take over the company or sect of religion and make it their own. This is why there are no property rights in a socialist or communist system (or in a Democracy). Marx realized that with an instant revolution, the people would not have had time to adjust to the new form of communal government as they would otherwise have under fabian socialism that was established over several decades by due process. For this reason, Communism took the end results of socialism, and merely centralized all power into the hands of the state. Pretty ingenious, actually. Marx, like Machiavelli, both understood the nature of humanity in transitioning from one form of government to another. I deplore Marx, but I give it 5 stars for the accuracy of the quote.

Daniel, Santa Clara

Funnily enough, this was the quote of the day today (2008-04-06) and in the same day I read in a book the same quote. However, in this book, the quote is quoted from Alexander Tytler, a scottish economist. Wikipedia also has this quote from him: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_Tytler It would appear this quote is not by Marx, but by Tytler.

Mike, Norwalk

That sums it up nicely. And, together with today's Jonathan Mayhew's quote, this gives a well rounded view of the US's decline. The major governmental debt today is, the state's representative giving the once sovereign his ration of the dole.

Me Again, Your Town,USA

A true statement but it doesn't have to be that way.If we had law makers in the seats of government who could see the ULTIMATE FOLLY of this mindset,then maybe democracy would work but We The People (and the policymakers)would have to Overcome the sickness of GREED for True Democracy to work.WHEN YOU CHANGE THE WAY YOU LOOK AT THINGS,THE THINGS YOU LOOK AT CHANGE!!! GET A CLUE PEOPLE!!!!!

Mike, Norwalk
  • Reply
Mike, Norwalk Me Again, Your Town,USA 1/25/24

Me again, within the constitutionally "guaranteed" republican form of government (Article IV, Section 4, U.S. Constitution) and within "the laws of nature and of nature's God" (Declaration of Independence) corporeal, "law makers" is an oxymoron. The de jure States united was to have a body politic's differing level of delegate delineation, representing individual sovereignty, inalienable rights and liberty at nature's law (laws that were endowed by our Creator / predating carnal man's governments). Me Again, as you said: "WHEN YOU CHANGE THE WAY YOU LOOK AT THINGS,THE THINGS YOU LOOK AT CHANGE!!! GET A CLUE PEOPLE!!!!!"

Logan, Memphis, TN

Good information Daniel.

Editor, Liberty Quotes

Daniel, the Tytler quote you mention is similar to Marx's but not exact - in fact this concept is common to many quotes here at Liberty-Tree.ca. We have the Tytler quote in our database here, too. No official source is known for the Tytler quote. I will try to find the source for this quote also. Cheers.

Bob, Eugene OR

He might be roasting in hell, but he got that much right.

E Archer, NYC

Those clammoring for democracy are those clammoring for access to the government money train. Better to be poor and free than rich and enslaved -- who can agree with this? ;-) Truth is, with real freedom comes real prosperity. The mistake is confusing power with greatness.

Waffler, Smith, Arkansas

Only if you think folks are as stupid as you are. If you think folks are smart like you then you feel that a democratic government can be run with intelligence and that democratic and financial institutions can be operated to benefit all. Otherwise are only hope is a Marxist or Radical Right elitism to save us all from ourselves.

warren, olathe

It was also said that our republic would survive until the voter found he could vote himself a piece of the public pie. I believe it was Hamilton.

Mike, Norwalk

Waffler, you forgot a third option, that of returning to the Representative Republic as defined by the original Constitution, i.e. a government of law that would save all from tyranny and fiscal melt-down. (-; melt-down, a long lost reference to real money ;-)

warren, olathe

Waffler the left are the elitists. The radical right live in holes in Montana.

Anonymous, Grand Rapids

Marx is right. Just look at the election of Barak Obama--this is how he got elected president.

Fishgutz, Greensboro, NC

Marx was a believer in the Frog in the Pot of water analogy. Abuse democracy to slowly move society to communist totalitarian dictatorship. Marx viewed democracy as a means to an end that is to be abandoned as soon as that end is achieved. But history shows that socialism, rather than creating a classless society, creates three classes. The wealthy ruling elite, the criminal elite and the poor. In the US the majority of the wealthy elite align themselves with the socialist far left. By the way, to Waffler, the far right is anarchy. Fascism is only slightly less left than socialism. The only difference is that Fascism allows an illusion of private ownership.

BC, Chesterton, IN

(from Logan) "all religions were entities ruled by majority. Unless the priest was the only follower, a majority would take over the religion and make it their own." In function, this is all too often true. However secularists, when they assume that they can apply this thinking to religion, are forgetting what "religion" is and what it's role is supposed to be. Religion is not just (or even primarily) "belief in God". It is "the search for meaning and purpose in life" and (especially) "the attempt to determine what kind of people we ought to be and what kind of world we ought to pursue". With this in mind, it is (always, completely) impossible to have a "religion" that is designed to tell people what they want to hear. The whole idea of a religion is to tell us what is good, evil, necessary, more important, less important, etc whether we like it or not. A "religion" based on "democratic principles" is meaningless. It tells us (collectively) that "whatever we say goes", and thus has no power to tell an effective majority what it doesn't want to hear. Effective Religion says (to quote the Bible) "Let God be true, and every man a liar." Democracy is not only inconsistent with this concept, it is irreconcialable with it. Religion is thus in some way similar to the Constitution. It represents precisely that part of the Founder's thinking (be he Moses, Christ, Mohammed or, for that matter, Marx) which is NOT subject to change and the whimsy of the majority.

Kevin, Phillips, Wi.

I need to have help with what I heard was a Karl Marx quote. That being, " Democracy is an excellent form of government but needs an eliment of socailism to make it worK effectively" Question: Is this reasonable accurate? PLEASE contact me at kssk212@hotmail.com Kevin

cal, lewisville, tx

Entitlements are destroying this nation. I don't believe this quote came from Marx, it sounds too intelligent.

jim k, Austin, Tx

Whoever said it or might have said it, it's the truth.

jim k, Austin,Texas

Reminds me of the old joke. Moses told the Israelites to load up their asses, get on their camels, we are going to the promised land. Roosevelt said , sit on your asses, light up a Camel, this is the promised land. It's been down hill ever since.

E Archer, NYC

It seems that voting for money is the only thing Congress does now -- all the new laws (like we need any more) are about money, who will it be taken from and who will get it. And so-called 'security' is merely making sure this never changes. We are being enslaved by this system. It is all warfare now -- your freedom is too threatening to the monopolies that benefit from forced tribute to them. Lawyers, doctors, bankers and the unions they must appease and the police/military that is needed to keep the people bound write the laws to keep the tribute coming. Something has got to give and it WILL happen. The frogs are waking up -- the water is getting too hot too fast -- the greed of the powers-that-be will ultimately be their undoing -- and all those that have hitched their wagon to this gravy train will go down, too.

Editor, Liberty Quotes

We have not been able to find a source for this other than other books and web sites, so we are tagging this quote as Questionable. Cheers.

Fredrick William Sillik, Anytown

On contrar, Socialism doesn't exactly restrain our voices, but amplifies them and the responsible force of the Socialist principled arrangement creates a very effective efficient moral Democrat. With scientific Socialist based  information the Democrat will speak and perform in the best interest of all. The peaceful revolution is unleashed.

Fredrick William Sillik, Anytown
  • Reply
Fredrick William Sillik, Anytown Fredrick William Sillik, Anytown 1/27/24

PS: Its not my intention to totally discredit Mr Karl Marx's efforts, he certainly had some very valuable insights, but the evolutionary process has laid to rest much of what he espoused. Mainly, revolution is never violent. Socialism is the challenge of social abilities to create.


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