In this video, starting at 5:36, Stephen Hicks claims that there are three central "social science" Marxist predictions, which I would sum up as follows:

Over time, in any capitalist society,

  1. The share of the population in the lower class will increase,
  2. The share of the population in the middle class will go to zero,
  3. The number of people in the upper class will converge towards a very small number.

He then goes on to say

" ... even in Marx's lifetime, and certainly in the succeeding generations of Marxists, by the time we get to 1900, right, 1920, and so forth ... all three of those predictions failed - it's not just that they failed by a little bit or that the data was mixed, but that all of the data is showing that the exact opposite is coming to pass. [...] Social science stands on its predictions as measured by the data, and by every measure, Marxist social science failed to fit the data, in fact the data was the exact opposite. And this caused a crisis not only by people who are not sympathetic to Marxism ... but a crisis within Marxism. What you find when you read the Marxists of each succeeding generation is that they are aware of the data: we predicted this, but now the data says that."

Now I believe that the above is likely to inspire a lot of politically motivated debate, so I'd like to clarify the scope of my question: In the first half of the 20th century, did Marxists acknowledge that the social predictions of Marxism had failed and that the predictions did not fit the data?

Yes, of course they saw it. Marxism lost ground in Germany to the Catholic Centre Party and later National Socialism. At the Institute of Social Research in Frankfurt Max Horchaimer lead group of researcher known later as Frankfurt School whose aim was to keep Marxist goal, but define a new way to achieve them.

The new Marxists focused on Marx's early writings such as Paris Manuscript which was discovered in 1932. They borrowed idea of Sexual Revolution from Wilhelm Reich arguing to suppression of sexual desire leads to authoritarian personality. Herbert Marcuse in his book Eros and Civilization attempted to synthesize Marxist and psychoanalytic theory by Wilhelm Reich.

The new Marxists ignored the class struggle and argued that soon the automation will liberate people from the need of work. Everyone could go back and live close to human nature. In the Origin of family, private property and the state published after Marx dies, but based on his notes to Lewis Morgan book on primitive societies, Engels proposed that capitalism enslaved women and created family through the bourgeois marriage.

In general the new marxism is anticultural and sees culture as source of oppression.

  • 1
    This is about what I thought when reading the question as well. But it seems that the question is much narrower focused on the three listed supposed central Marxist predictions, so this doesn't really answer the question. – tim Jul 27 at 11:29
  • The question is too broad, so I understand why you don't go into too much depth, but without some quotation, just stating that it is 'anticultural' doesn't seem right. Criticizing specific aspects of a culture, or the entirety of a specific culture, isn't necessarily anticultural. – tim Jul 27 at 12:30

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