Marx Essay, Research Paper
Karl Marx and Max Weber have agreed and disagreed on numerous issues
during their years as sociologists and political economists. An issue that they
both discuss in great length, and disagree upon is the rise of capitalism.
Marx thought that economic factors and the use of exploited and
alienated labor were the causes of the rise of capitalism. In “Capital”, Marx
discusses the Labor Theory of Value and Surplus Value, and how they have
influenced the rise of capitalism. In the Labor Theory of Value, Marx
analyzes what makes a commodity valuable, which leads to a capitalistic
On the other hand, Weber stated that religious beliefs associated with
the Puritan religion led to the rise of capitalism. Puritans continuously worked
hard, because the wasting of time is considered a sin. There is no relaxation,
and labor was seen as rational and methodical. The enjoyment of certain
aspects in social life that do not have religous value are forbidden. One must
acquire wealth through God’s grace and hard work, for the persuit of wealth
for it’s own sake was seen as a sin. Because people were isolated, individuals
looked for signs of salvation and found it in their ability to work hard and
maintain their faith.
Weber wanted to uncover the the forces in the West that caused
people to abandon their religous values in exchange for a desire of acquiring
goods and wealth. Eventually people began to enjoy their material
possessions, and started to adopt different values and beliefs that once was
dominated during the spirit of capitalism. Religous values led to the rise of
capitalism and relflected the rationalization and methodical lives individuals
led in the past. Capitalism became a dominant force, because people still lead
rational and methodical lives like the Puritans did, but enjoy their material
Both Weber and Marx would agree that classes were distinguished by
those who owned property and those who did not. Those who owned
property, also owned the means of production and exploited the Proletarians.
Classes exist on an economic basis, in a capitalistic economy. Marx’s goal
was to eliminate the classes, by eliminating private ownership of property.