Marx’s Capitalism Essay
Karl Marx (1818-1883) is a revolutionary communist who helped to motivate the establishment of several communist regimes in 20th century. Initially, he was studying to become a philosopher although he later shifted his interest to economics as well as politics although his social and moral work has philosophical aspects.
Marx is an obvious anti-capitalist critique as manifested in his work (Marx ‘Capital’ 2007). In earlier historical periods, the society was sectioned it a number of orders which comprised social ranks. The capitalist system is one such societal arrangement in which the bourgeoisie comprised the higher rank and drafted oppressive orders. Thus, the society was segregated into conflicting and opposing camps, the proletarians & the Bourgeoisie.
Bourgeoisie and proletarians
Under their leadership, the Bourgeoisie had been able to establish massive productive means as compared to the previous generations. They subjugated the natural forces through technological advancements in pursuit of amassing profits.
However, these were the very weapons that would ultimately destroy them, since they enabled the recognition of the proletarians, who comprised the working class. Proletarians only survival was dependent on the labor market to maximize capital. They instead earned peanuts and were taken as objects of commerce, faced with dynamic market changes (Marx & Engels 1848).
As a result, widespread machinery utilization as well as division of labor affected the proletarians where they were converted to machine like creature through monotony, yet low wages. They were enslaved by the bourgeoisie and machinery hence, they became a majority and were empowered in the light of the competitive bourgeoisie class, which created commercial conflicts and fluctuated the earning of the working class. (Marx ‘Capital’ 2007).
Therefore, the oppressive ruling of the bourgeoisie was questioned since it exploited the working class. There was a need to make proletarians a class to lead the society through overthrowing the authority of the bourgeoisie by political empowerment. This would restore moral sanity and democracy by suppressing the capitalist system and encourage socialism.
Therefore, class distinctions would be no more, a condition beneficial for the whole population as Marx assets in the communist manifesto that “Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win” (Marx & Engels 1848 Ch. 4).
Marx’s Moral Values
Marx questions on such values as: First, universal moral values such as freedom, parity, fairness, independence and self achievement are important for everyone. Instrumentation of various values comprises a logical totality, able to articulate revolutionary humanism, which comprises a crucial aspect to morally disregard capitalism. The moral disrespect against capitalism infamies is an obvious and important perspective which makes the work of Marx impressive.
Secondly, Marx points out that those proletariats were victimized in capitalism by potentially subjugating them. This perspective of class system is able to motivate his anti-capitalist views as he criticizes the political economy of the bourgeois. Therefore, this perspective highlights on the value of justice which is viewed differently by each class’s welfare and circumstances (Lowly 2002). Third, Marx sees a promising liberated prospect of a post-capitalist system, being a communist world.
This way, the negative extensive aspects of a capitalist system are exposed. Forth, capitalist growth destroyed the survival of extra human social formations which were there initially established. This was primitive communism where man lived communally with neither personal property nor patriarchal domination of females. The said values’ importance clearly portrays the immanent views in such a way it refers to actual social force against capitalism (Lowly 2002).
Marx emphasize that capitalism is characterized by inequality as well as class unrests. He points out that the dominant class also known as the bourgeoisie has power over power capital, possessions and production means, thereby affecting the workers as a source of labor, and who exceeds the bourgeoisie.
According to Marx, the inequality in capital production means as well as private property ownership was intense in the bourgeoisie. This empowered the bourgeoisie since it aligned with important social organization aspects as well as subjugation.
This made up the classes of oppressor and the oppressed such that the society was unable to thrive being ruled by the bourgeoisie since there is no compatibility (Marx ‘Capital’ 2007). Class power is compared with political authority and economic power above the working class. This is so since the bourgeoisie were able to rule over the economy as well as the industries, which reflect oppression to the societal majority being the working class.
This is because capitalism always quested to exploit them and attain maximum benefits. Therefore, revolution and work dictatorship for the proletariat or laboring class was to be empowered to lead the society justly. Here Marx assumes that the outcome would be positive since there would be justice, restored by the leadership of the proletariat (Lowly 2002).
Thematic Concerns of Marx Anti-capitalist Critique
Marx anti-capitalist critique envelops several themes which includes the following. First, exploitation injustice, which indicates that capitalism, is solely based on a political economy. The majority, low waged oppressed laboring class produced profits. Injustice was manifested through child labor, low wages, overworking time and most importantly, the squalid working environments the laboring class were exposed to (Giddens 2002).
These conditions added up to particular historical event since the system was inherently unjust as it was based on exploitation and dependency on working class who facilitated direct production. The theme is crucial since it formed the basis for the Marxist laborers movement (Lowly 2002).
Second, freedom failure due to reification, alienation and product fetishism characterized production mode in the capitalist system. The workers were controlled by what they produced and this resulted to independent fetishes beyond their power. Alienation according to Marx arose when the laborer were excluded and became externalized.
The laborer created own world by being personally overwhelmed by poverty, this world was stricken by poverty such that the laborer was unable to have a private property (Lowly 2002). This is compared to religion where the more an individual serves God, the more he is unable to acquire self sustenance.
Third, venal social requirement means that capitalism was controlled by trade value, profit flow and capital amassing, which disregarded qualitative, utility, moral values and human associations and feelings. Marx argues that capitalism initiated a diverse deprivation of social interactions and moral deterioration to pre-capitalist social associations due to economic value that was overemphasized.
Monetary power in capitalism was manifested as production mode degraded the moral values and as money accumulated and was appreciated as personal property (Lowly 2002). Forth, irrationality was characterized by overproduction in capitalism, which portrayed absurdity in that there was extensive subsistence means with the majority having inadequate subsistence means.
Finally, modern barbarism in the capitalist system was manifested through exponential productive forces growth where there was initiation of materialism. In the emerging society, there was solidarity and freedom since capitalism was a forerunner of historical advancement.
However capitalist system was a cause of social erosion since it achieved a public disaster from every economic advancement. This was accomplished through impoverishment laws as Marx points out that “barbarism reappears, but this time it is engendered in the very core of civilization and becomes an integral part of it. It is the leprous barbarism, barbarism which is the leper of civilization” (Lowly 2002). These thematic concerns attribute Marx as a communist and are well structured as anti-capitalist visualizations.
Marx also handles imperialism brought about by capitalism where there is supremacy over the colonized individuals. They have to submit to the imperatives who amass capital by maximizing production. These poor nations are subjugated by the leading class or western civilization.
In the capitalist system, capital amassing is a radical critique of terror of colonial extension through enslavement or extinction of native inhabitants, congests struggles and blacks being sold as slaves. These are regarded by Marx as extreme cruelty and infamy which should not exist in the society, all in the name of making profits and curbing historical advancement (Lowly 2002).
Analysis of Marx’s Anti-capitalist Thought
The Communist Manifesto, Marx exults in authority over nature facilitated by thriving of the capitalist system. The bourgeois hostility in only portrayed in the capitalist system as having to exploit production mode in opposition to the natural surroundings (Marx & Engels 1848).
This is through labor exhaustion as Lowly asserts that “Each progression of capitalist agriculture is a progression not only of the art of exploiting the laborer, but also the art of depleting the earth’s soil; each progression in the art of augmenting its fertility for a time is also a progression in the ruination of its durable sources of fertility.
Capitalist production therefore develops the technique and the combination of the process of social production that exhausts at the same time the two sources from which are obtained all wealth: the earth and the laborer” (Lowly 2002).
Marx’s concern is on personal relations with respect to the significant resource of the source of labor. He emphasize that capitalism intercede social interactions in production for the laborers while the capitalists’ concern is on products traded in the market. This economic relation was vital for dictating the historical progress of the society (Giddens 2002).
Marx states that amassing capital, structures the social system and to achieve social change, there had to be unrest for contrasting economic interests. A society is structured by production means. His anti-capitalist thoughts in favor of communist society, which would replace feudalism and slavery is obvious. As Marx views it, capitalism was dehumanizing arising from alienation and exploitation of laborers and resulted to poor wages and unemployment (Giddens 2002).
However, Marx asserted that capital class was the finest revolutionary historically, since it developed production means than any class and it destroyed feudalism to a new age of capitalism. As a result capitalism triggered significant development since the capitalist was able to devote profits in emerging technology as well as capital machinery. Marx points out that capitalist exploited the disparity, which existed in labor and commodity market.
He argues that in most advanced industries, input expenses are less than out put expenses to give a surplus value which emanate from surplus labor. He regards capitalists as vampires who exploited the weak for their own good. This was not on maximizing profits, but on the capital as not being equipment but as being interactions among laborers and those who own them i.e. the economic system (Marx ‘Capital’ 2007).
Marx predicts the instability of capitalism since it was constantly faced by crisis where he sees its future as having technological investment rather than on workers, thus profits would decline irrespective of economic development (Marx ‘Capital’ 2007). Consequently the capitalist would amass wealth and power while the proletariat would become impoverished. The structural crisis would pave way for a post-capitalist society, socialism or communalism, which would be facilitated by the proletariat.
They would conger production mode and advance social relations by abolishing the bourgeois to a system that has fewer conflicts (Marx & Engels 1848). The emergent society would disregard self-alienation and would be liberated from labor market to pave way for a democratic society for the benefit of all people. This is a utopian world where states would be unnecessary since they are meant to enhance alienation.
In the communist age, the proletariat would be empowered politically and rule to socialize production means. The transition from capitalism to socialism would be characterized by revolutionary changes and political transition era of the proletariat leadership, who would nullify the state. This would be peaceful in some nations, which possess strong democratic formations but in others, which are based on centralized state values would be marked by violence (Price 1986).
It is clear that the notion of historical progress, characterized Marx anti-capitalist thoughts. The existence of capitalism is by no means to be justified since it was marked by limitations such as oppression, being against nature and having a single motive of maximizing capital. Marx exposes these limitations in as critical manner and proposes a revolutionary change into a communist society.
However, his thought and prediction was not attained since the society today is characterized by economic instability and most importantly, the ruling class who amass riches and power of a given society. Irrespective of that, this problem is not being resolved properly in any society, thanks to Marx who critiqued the system and tried to offer solution for the same.
List of References
Giddens, A. 2002. Capitalism and Modern Social Theory: An Analysis of the Writings of Marx, Durkheim and Max Weber. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Lowy, M. Marxism and classical sociology: Marx, Weber and the Critique of Capitalism. Journal of Modern Society & Culture, Vol. 1 issue 3, summer 2002. Retrieved from http://www.internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article1106
Marx, K and Engels, F. 1848. “The Communist Manifesto (1848)”. Marx/Engels Selected Works, Vol. One, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1969, pp. 98-137; February 1848. Retrieved from https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1848/communist-manifesto/index.htm
Marx, K. Capital: 2007. A Critique of Political Economy – Vol. I-Part I: The Process of Capitalist Production. Edited by Friedrich Engels. New York: Cosimo, Inc.
Price, R. 1986. Marx and education in late capitalism. Totowa, New Jersey: Rowman & Littlefield.
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