Sadly, historical materialism is a failure and in any case the left needs a broader historical philosophy to guide a path to socialism. The question of economic systems in the development of civilization can’t be reduced to a reductionist science and the claim that Marx created such a science via dialectical materialism is mostly poppycock and a good excuse, disastrously for outsiders to steer clear of socialism where marxist theories in full idiocy have a monopoly. Those who wish to pursue such studies, do so, but the question of socialism must be released from marxist theology into a more general common domain of public philosophy. Everyone of Marx’s great insights were ruined by his obsession with grand theory in an age of positivism. A good example is the labor theory of value over which immense effort and debate has arrived at more and more confusion to the point that it is best to just drop the whole discussion. Marxists will never get it straight. And they won’t drop it. Over and over and over the whole endless nonsense is chewed through, in vain. And yet a simple observation taken empirically that labor is a part of the value of commodities is obvious to common sense and a useful way to consider the factor of exploitation. But by the time marxists are done here we end in a metaphysical idiocy beyond sorting out.
Marx’s theories need to be set aside as the left starts over and free its perspective from the maxist monopoly. The basic insights freed of theory can be useful and very practical. But the whole game is shot, and a new left should start over. It is not necessary to produce the impossible, a science of history, to found socialism, and in any case the domination of marxists is counterproductive. Simpler views of historical economics are more appropriate now.
The ideas of Karl Marx represent a fundamental turning point in the history of human thought. Applying the principles of dialectical materialism to the history and development of society, Marx disposed of all the fantastical notions to which history had formerly been forced to conform and placed our understanding of society, for the first time, on a real, scientific foundation: “real individuals, their activity and the material conditions under which they live”.