Dictionary of Revolutionary Marxism

—   Maa - Mac   —


MacARTHUR, Douglas   (1880-1964)
American imperialist general, who was in charge of the war in the Pacific during World War II, the viceroy of Japan (1945-1951), and the military director of the “U.N.” (i.e. American controlled) imperialist forces during the Korean War. In Korea he wanted to extend the war by attacking China, including quite possibly with nuclear weapons. Because of these reckless demands (even by imperialist standards) he was removed from his position by President Truman in April 1951.
        See also:

MACH, Ernst   (1838-1916)
Austrian physicist and philosopher. Mach was one of the founders of
“empirio-criticism”, a form of positivism or idealist empiricism. Mach viewed reality as a “complex of sensations”, which is a prominent form of subjective idealism. Lenin strongly criticizes Mach’s views, and subjective idealism in general, in his important philosophical work, Materialism and Empirio-Criticism (1908).
        One of Mach’s idealist notions was that a great many entities we talk about in science, such as molecules and atoms, do not actually have any real existence, but are merely “theoretical constructs” which we have found to be useful in conceptualizing how the world works despite their non-existence! In the case of atoms and molecules, it was only in his old age, shortly before his death, and long after the further absolute confirmation of the existence of molecules and atoms by many experiments, and with Einstein’s theoretical explanation of Brownian motion which depended on the actual existence of atoms and molecules, did Mach finally, yet still reluctantly, admit that atoms probably really did exist.

MACH’S PRINCIPLE (or CONJECTURE)   (Philosophy of Science)
The vague hypothesis that “mass there influences inertia here”. According to Mach both inertia and gravitation are consequences of the general distribution of matter in the universe.
        Mach was an extreme relativist. While Newton argued that there were such things as “absolute space” and “absolute time”, Mach would have none of either. He argued that the notions of rest and motion are meaningless except against a material background as a reference. More specifically, he argued that the local physical laws observed on the earth depend on the large-scale distribution of matter in the universe, or—as is often said—upon the existence of the “fixed stars”. Newton had pointed out that if you spin two spheres tied together around a point between them there will be a tension on the rope, a tension that is not there if the two spheres are not spinning. This he took to be a method of distinguishing one type of relative motion from absolute rest. Since Mach was determined to explain all motion as being entirely relative, he had to explain why there was tension in the rope in one case and not the other. The best he could come up with was to claim that “somehow” the existence of the rest of the matter in the universe creates the inertia in the spheres that causes the rope between them to have tension when they are spun relative to that external mass (the “fixed stars”). He used a similar argument about why the water in a spinning bucket has a concave shape even after the bucket itself is no longer moving relative to that water.
        The modern view in physics is that both Newton and Mach were at least partly wrong; the result is sort of a dialectical synthesis of the ideas of absolute and relative space in the form of inertial frames. (See the Wikipedia article on
inertial frames.)
        Einstein had great respect for Mach as a person and for his early writings on mechanics, but as time went on he had more and more negative attitudes towards Mach’s philosophical views, such as his notion that the laws of science are merely economical ways of describing a large collection of facts. And with respect to “Mach’s Principle” (which, ironically, Einstein himself had given that name to and was for a long time quite enthusiastic about), he eventually concluded that “As a matter of fact, one should no longer speak of Mach’s principle at all.”

A local centralized facility making tractors and other agricultural machinery available to collective and state farms (
kolkhozy and sovkhozy) in the Soviet Union. MTSs were initiated in 1927-28, and existed until 1958 in the Khrushchev era when the machinery was transferred to individual collective farms.

“The tractor had long been seen as the key to collectivization. In the autumn of 1927 the large Shevchenko Sovkhoz in the Ukraine managed to acquire 60 to 70 tractors, which were organized in ‘tractor columns’ to work its own fields and those of neighboring Kolkhozy or peasant holdings. The example was imitated elsewhere; and in 1928 Shevchenko established the first Machine Tractor Station (MTS) with a park of tractors to be leased out to Kolkhozy and Sovkhozy in the region. In June 1929 a central office, Traktorsentr, was set up in Moscow to organize and control a network of state MTSs. Peasant prejudices against the innovation, and perhaps against the degree of state intervention involved in it, were hard to overcome. Tractors were sometimes denounced as the work of [the] Anti-Christ. The success of the experiment seemed, however, to have been limited mainly by the supply of tractors; in the autumn of 1929 only 35,000, most of them of American manufacture, were available for the whole of the USSR. Everywhere it came, the tractor was a powerful agent of collectivization.” —E.H. Carr, non-Marxist British historian, The Russian Revolution from Lenin to Stalin (1917-1929) (1979), ch. 16.

A term used (mostly in bourgeois economics) to refer to the study of the whole economy, or large areas of the economy, as opposed to

Dictionary Home Page and Letter Index