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Karl Marx

Marx believed that history was driven by class struggle and that important social changes were the outcome. Was a German philosopher who believed that material goods are at the root of the social world. According to Marx, social life is fundamentally about conflict over food, land, money, and other material goods. Marx believed that the ideal government would be a communist state where resources are equally shared.

Marx criticized the capitalist system as an order in which the powerful firms have gained considerable power and clout. He argued that workers are treated as commodities under this system.Marx believed that history was driven by class changes and that important social changes were the outcome of irreconcilable interests.

 

Review- One basic tenet Karl Marx’s defines in his famous Manifesto of the Communist Party is the distinguishing characteristics of two opposing social classes, the bourgeoisie and the proletariat classes. These classes can easily be defined as those who gain wealth (bourgeoisie) from the working class (proletariat). While the bourgeoisie class continues to gain wealth and power, the proletariat falls in a downward spiral of social and economic crisis. One was the bourgeoisie who owned and controlled the means of production and hired wage laborers. The other was the proletariat, who were common workers who owned nothing but the right to sell their own labor. Capitalisms very nature would ensure that eventually these classes would struggle against one another to the point where the class of workers would get big enough, where it would over throw the bourgeoisie, seize the means of production from it and end the economic system known as capitalism.

When he compares the situations under feudal and capitalistic societies, he finds that unlike in the former where ‘what laborers produce not only has immediate use value to them but it affirms their relationship to themselves in their own productive powers’; production in the latter, to say the least, is sent to the medium of exchange called market and thus the product of labor is not for the laborer’s use but for someone else’s. Already, the means of production are under external ownership and hence this makes both the purpose and result of labor appear external to the worker. Taking in from undergrad I got this, “This, as he calls, is the worker’s alienation from the product. When the workers engage in such labor, they lose their ability to affirm their being and define their self-existence.”

In his words,

“The worker only feels himself outside his work and in his work, feels outside himself… as a result, he no longer feels to be freely active in any but his animal functions- eating, drinking, procreating, or at most in his dwelling or in dressing up” Marx

According to Marx, an alienation from productive activity, through which the worker’s life becomes animalistic in its look and feel. As the workers start engaging freely only in animalistic functions, there develops a hiatus between them and their species being. What distinguishes humans from animals, Marx believes, is their ability to think of themselves as conscious beings. And in capitalistic society, the worker, he says, ends up blurring this distinction.

Critique: In a capitalist society, human needs are defined by the system of private ownership. Instead of mere food, clothing, and shelter, human beings need money. I totally agree with what the book says, in the book it states; the system is “dog eat dog” dominance. As capitalists accumulate wealth, their needs become increasingly more refined, even as the workers are forced to adjust their needs downward, making do with the bare minimum that the system pays them to stay alive. The modern system of ethics is shaped by the needs created by capitalism. Capitalism demands that people be oriented to the world in this way simply to secure their own survival. Today, for a example, the apple store, yes the bosses will always come up with ways to keep the customers happy, then give the ideas to the workers and want the workers to do the same. Apple never wants to cut their cost or lower their price they always want to stay at the same price, because they are competing against other technologies in the surrounding areas.

Two research questions: what attitude does the audiences have towards Marx himself as the philosopher he is?

Who is the communist manifesto target audience?

 

 

2 Comments

  1. I feel like the target audience for the communist manifesto is the whole world. It was written at the time for anyone who did not quite understand communism, or who were against it. I think it was written to help people understand the ideology, and to act as a call to action for the proletariate workers to unite against the bourgeois upper class.

    • I agree when you say, you believe its for the whole world. When Marx wrote the Communist Manifesto hoping that it would create a Utopian society, where there are not any rich people or poor people and everybody could be in the same class. But obliviously his dreamed had failed.

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