Marxism as a Sociological Theory Essay
Karl Marx is one of the best known scholars who contributed to the development of theories that help in interpreting political, social and economic phenomena in the society. He is particularly known for the development of the Marxism theory which is has political, social and economic dimensions.
Marx studied the concept of social class and how it affected social relations (Ritzer 123). He concluded that the various classes in the society are always in conflict with each other and their conflicts lead to social change. This paper will focus on Marx’s view on the role of political systems in regard to social change.
Class Conflict: Bourgeoisies Verses Proletariats
Marx believed that there are two classes in the society namely the proletariats’ and the bourgeoisies. The bourgeoisie is the social class that is associated with the “ownership of the means of production” (Ritzer 125).
This means that they are the rich in the society. The proletariats’ on the other hand refers to the lower social class that has little or no material wealth. Thus they earn their livelihood by selling their labor to the bourgeoisies. According to Marx, the bourgeoisies focus on exploiting the proletariats in order to gain their wealth.
This is based on the fact that the output of the proletariats was “valued in terms of the labor embodied in them” (Jayapalan 105). Thus the bourgeoisies were not justified to own the good that were produced by the proletariats since the former did not apply their labor to the production process. This formed the basis of the exploitation.
The proletariats were compensated though wages while the rich retained the surplus value or the profits that accrued form the sale of the goods. This led to class conflict as the bourgeoisies focused on reducing costs (wages) while the proletariats focused on earning the highest wages possible (Jayapalan 107).
The private ownership of capital was associated with the capitalist society. Thus in order to resolve the conflict between the bourgeoisies and the proletariats, Marx suggested that the capitalist system should be replaced with a socialist system.
Role of the Political System
Marx believed that the class conflict between the haves (bourgeoisies) and the have-nots (proletariats) can be resolved through an effective political system. As discussed above the inequality between the two classes can be reduced by replacing the capitalist system with the socialist system. Capitalism is an “economic system that is characterized by profit maximization and private ownership of property” (Ritzer 128). Socialism on the other hand encourages communal ownership of property and equity in regard to distribution of wealth.
According to Marx, the political system should favor socialism in order to promote equality (Jayapalan 107). This means that the government should discourage private ownership of property. In the contrary all resources or wealth should be owned by the government. Such wealth will then become the property of all citizens since the government represents the citizens.
Besides, the resources should be used for the benefit of the citizens especially the poor who are also the majority in the community. This involves eliminating the profit motive in order to facilitate equal distribution of resources by lowering the cost of accessing resources. Thus Marx believed that the political system should promote socialism in order to encourage equality. This leads to a reduction in class conflict.
Socialism: Role of Revolution
As discussed above, Marx believed that social change can only be achieved through class struggle. Thus capitalism will only be defeated through the proletariats’ revolution. The proletarian revolution is a “socio-political revolution in which the workers attempt to over through the bourgeoisies” (Jayapalan 108). The revolution is thus an integral aspect of the process of defeating capitalism. Marxists perceive the revolution as the first step in the process of replacing capitalism with socialism.
The revolution is meant to help the proletariats to gain control of the government in order to have power over the bourgeoisies. After gaining power, the proletariats will have the opportunity to implement the reforms that serves the interest of the poor. Such reforms include confiscating all the wealth or property that is privately owned by the bourgeoisies (Ritzer 128).
The confiscated property will then be used to benefit all citizens especially the poor. This will lead to equality since the resources will be redistributed from the rich minority to the poor who forms the better part of the population. The implementation of the reforms will culminate in communism which is a classless society.
The above discussion indicates that the society is divided into two classes namely, the bourgeoisies and the proletariats. The class struggle between the two social classes leads to social change such as equitable distribution of resources and elimination of exploitation.
According to Marx, the role of the political system is promoting socialism in order to facilitate equity and elimination of class struggle. This involves replacing capitalism with socialism (Ritzer 128). Socio-political revolution is thus a tool that is meant to help the poor (proletariats) to gain political power in order to introduce socialism.
Jayapalan, Nicholas. Sociological theory. New York: Atlantic Publishing, 2001.Print.
Ritzer, Goerge. Sociological theory. New York: McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2007. Print.
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