SocialEconomic Views Of Marx Essay Research Paper

Social/Economic Views Of Marx Essay, Research Paper


The latter part of the nineteenth century was teeming with evolved social and

economical ideas. These views of the social structure of urban society came about

through the development of ideals taken from past revolutions and the present clash of

individuals and organized assemblies. As the Industrial Revolution steamed ahead paving

the way for growing commerce, so did the widening gap between the class structure

which so predominantly grasped the populace and their rights within the community. The

development of a capitalist society was a very favorable goal in the eyes of the

bourgeoisie. Using advancing methods of production within a system of free trade, the

ruling middle class were strategically able to earn a substantial surplus of funds and

maintain their present class of life. Thus, with the advancement of industry and the

bourgeoisie’s gain of wealth, a counter-action was undoubtedly taking place. The

resultant was the degradation of the working-class, of the proletarians whom provided

labor to a middle-class only to be exploited in doing so. Exploitation is a quarrel between

social groups that has been around since the dawn of mankind itself. The persecution of

one class by another has historically allowed the advancement of mankind to continue.

These clashes, whether ending with positive or negative results, allow Man to evolve as a

species, defining Himself within the social structure of nature. Man’s rivalry amongst one

another allows for this evolution! through the production of something which is different,

not necessarily productive, but differing from the present norm and untried through

previous epochs.

Karl Marx

At this time in history, mankind was moving forward very rapidly, but at the price

of the working-class. Wages were given sparsely, and when capital gain improved, the

money paid for labor did not reflect this prosperity. This, therefore, accelerated the

downfall of the proletarians and progressed towards a justifiable revolt against the

oppressive middle class. The conclusion of this revolt was envisioned to be a classless

society, one in which its people benefit from and that benefits from its people. The

overthrow of capitalism would create a socialist society eventually flourishing into

communism. Karl Heinrich Marx (1818 – 1883) was the philosophical analysis who

created communism and saw it as an achievable goal. Marx denounced religion and

created what were thought to be radical ideas, which resulted in the banishment from his

native land of Germany and then France, eventually ending up in England. (Compton’s

Encyclopedia, 121) Through dialectical processing Marx was able to synthesize a theory

of a classless society. This society would be achievable through the joint union of the

proletarians and overthrow of the governing bourgeois. For the working-class man does

not benefit from the labor which he provides. His labor is external to himself and is not

actually belonging to his essential being. Therefore in work, the proletarian denies

himself and does not validate his worthiness as an individual.(Marx from Haberman,

183) The worker has no existence except to work, which furthers the employer, but

degrades the laborer and eventually results in a grasping individual.

Marxism and the Political/Economic Structure

Marx realized that with the unification of the working-class, they would be able to better

themselves and their lives, and in doing so, better society on the whole. The aspiration to

achieve this was purely theoretical and though Marx felt attainable, it was undoubtedly

flawed. The communist ideals are purely a utopian dream which cannot be reached

because of humans inescapable desire to satisfy their own egos. A proletarian society

would not remain harmonious without individuals seeking personal satisfaction, and

without a governing body chaos would result, paving a road which would lead to

totalitarianism. Marx’s views were of the proletarian class rising to crush the bourgeois

ideals which governed their lives. This would result in a proletarian dictatorship, through

which ends would have to be met in order to rid the community of the existing means of

production and prosperity. The abolition of private property would be achieved by

ridding the bourgeoisie’s ownership of lands, and allowing them to be publicized. This

would enable the removal of selfish individualism which splits society into segregated

portions, and allow the rich and poor to become more economically equal in status. This

however is only partially attainable, for one cannot undo what has already taken place.

Marx states that the faster industry progresses, the weaker the proletarian becomes.

Eventually storming the top of the social pyramid in order to reconstruct and overthrow

the bourgeois assembly. This revolt would take place as a result of the demands of the

laborers not being met, and wages not increasing with the increase of profit. The

proletarian would feel worthless, and with nothing to lose, revolt against their employers.

The vision of a capitalist state neglecting its workers and allowing them to use their mass

of people to simply reverse the ways of society is ridiculous. In a capitalist state, the class

which finds itself in the position of dividing up labor to produce a marketable product is

the one which benefits the most. The bourgeois in this case would be in this class, and in

ruling, would not allow the organized overthrow of their established system. In order to

increase net profit, the employer must exploit the labor provided by his workers to ensure

the increase in overall revenue. In a capitalist society, the expansion of markets and

growth of production allows for the unfortunate increase between classes and their

economical value. Having acquired business sense which has allowed them to maintain

their more than satisfactory lifestyle, the bourgeois would have unquestionably not have

exploited the work of proletarians to the extreme. Not increasing wages and allowing the

workers to become restless would have been a grave mistake on the part of the

employers. A solution in preventing an outcry at a revolutionary level would be to

increase wages sufficiently in providing maximum surplus capital, but at the same time

creating a payroll which would satisfy the workers. While raising the level of pay would

create wage wars amongst different proletarian groups, it would stabilize the lifestyle

which the bourgeois were living. If wages did not increase at least a minute amount, then

the middle-class lifestyles would become threatened, eventually resulting in personal

instability which would not be worth the money saved in keeping payrolls at such a low


If the working class did decide to proceed to overthrow the bourgeois, then yet

another problem would arise. This problem would be in the control of the revolting

populace. The communist goal is to achieve a classless society with the eventual

abolition of the state itself, in order to unite all working-class men. This would be very

difficult without the organization of a governing assembly which would then defeat the

revolutions own purpose. In order to achieve an ultimate goal, there must be some type of

plan implemented in order to successfully do this. A spontaneous clash with an opposing

minority would just reveal to that class what it is that they have done wrong, and allow

them to correct their errors in order to restore the profitable production which they have

to this point maintained. To properly overthrow the ruling class, an appointed assembly,

within the revolting assembly, would need to direct and acquire the ideas and interests of

all its followers. This would create the establishment of the proletarians own class

society within their own people, therefore going against everything in which the

revolution was trying to accomplish.

This organization of the proletarians could enable them to attain the goals which

they set out to grasp. Upon reaching these goals it would be reasonable to question

whether the classes now set up within would actually disintegrate and allow for equality

amongst all men. This would mean that the governing proletarian assembly would

deteriorate and become one of the same. Also, the defeated bourgeois who were hated

and envied, could not themselves be oppressed by the proletarians. In order to meet the

goals of the revolution, they would have to become equals and allowed to take from

society as all else do. This would leave the door open to a counter revolution in order to

restore society to the previous means of operation. As well, through human nature man

cannot simply defeat its enemy and then expect to live along side of it. To defeat your

enemy is to become your enemy, and in this case that would result in an oppressor and an

oppressed, appositely situated when looking at it from a class structure.

Equality for All

The idea of creating an equal society is a provocative promise in order to rally

people together and create a common goal, but keeping this goal is very unrealistic. Now

the ruling assembly within the working-class has gained power, and like the bourgeois,

they can see that this power is easily harnessed. By altering the goals of the revolution in

a way that still brings about change from the past ways of society, allows the ruling class

to bring prosperity to their own lives. Falling under the same “spell” as the bourgeois did

themselves, the new rulers can fulfill their own egos while governing a body of people

who are much more tolerable. Their tolerance comes from the feeling of victory which

really just creates a much more efficient work force. Because of their own blindness, they

cannot see that in the light of change, in fact, nothing really has.

The Communist Manifesto ends proclaiming: “Workingmen of all countries,

unite!” This is to further emphasize Marx’s belief that the proletarians have only each

other and do not belong to a country or state. What exists as a state is only known and

developed within a capitalist society by the bourgeois. The state is created in order to

identify with trade and production techniques, and helps in creating various bounded


The technique which the proletarian class would use to overthrow the bourgeois

would be to join all workers in a mutual interest of intent. In doing so, Marx believes the

state or nation will collapse, allowing the unification of all laborers, regardless of

heritage and state of origin. Therefore clashes between nations would cease, and only one

world of united people who want to live and work equally would exist. Another

imperfection in Marx’s theories is revealed. If socialism, communism being the ultimate

goal, was to flourish, it would not be ubiquitous. Hence, some states would progress

faster than others, while some would not be interested in a socialist society at all. In

theory, this develops a unified nation which through joint interest becomes stronger as it

strives toward its target. Through the collaboration of many, a devotion develops in the

form of nationalistic views. This nationalism which strengthens the undertaking, will

directly and indirectly threaten other nations or states which have not progressed at the

same pace. This will obviously create tension between nations, especially those

geographically bordering each other, and could lead to conflict or persecution of one

state by another. This would then take the capitalist theory of the oppressed and the

oppressor to a different level, again steering away from the communist goals which were

to be accomplished. An example of communism’s flaws can be seen in the revolution led

by V.I. Lenin in Russia. Using politically left winged tactics, he sought to achieve

communism through the heading of the Bolsheviks. Following his death, Stalin saw the

opportunity to create an industrial state which could grow to engulf the larger capitalist

states around. Stalin’s form of governing resulted in the political system known as

totalitarianism, which created an ultimate power. This corrupted the utopian dream of

communism and again resulted with a specific figure and class living off the wealth

produced by the rest of the state. Throughout history man has evolved, becoming a more

and more complex thinker. This process of evolution is in order to further himself and

socially adapt to the changing times in which he lives. Evolution is inevitable and will

never cease, therefore man will continue learning, trying to gain more knowledge and

accomplish what hasn’t been done.

Individual or Society

Communism does not allow for man’s own gratification, that is why it is an

impractical way of thought. To strive towards a society which everyone is equally

represented does seem pleasant, but it becomes an inaccurate way of reasoning. For once

the ideal communist society is reached, what would be the point of working? Labor and

work are to advance society as a whole, though not all at the same rate, varying on the

type of work and strength at which one strives. Therefore once communism has been

reached, essentially the evolution of man ceases. This would be an impossibility. Since

man is born into an imperfect world, he too is imperfect, changing to meet his own needs

within the needs of the environment in which he lives. Since the only consistency in the

universe is change, then man cannot expect to become the controlling factor of change

and govern its principles. In living in a communist society, man believes that all are

equal, contributing to the advancement of the Race as a whole. But the error here is that

not all believe that all are equal. Many feel that their own personal goals are correct, and

they set out to reach them. Consequently, a society of classes begins to develop, where

one voice gains followers while another speaking out against the first creates his own as

well. What then results from these cries is a clash between various groups, leading to the

establishment of a class system. Communism is an idealists utopian dream. It is only

achievable through the unification and agreement of all who populate a state. Only when

an entire populace lose their own individuality will a communist society then take form.

Man continuously strives to prove his own self worth, to himself and not humanity.

Humanity on a whole will continue to progress regardless of personal achievements great

men rise while others fall. It is therefore seen that a communist society due to the facts

regarding social evolution, cannot exist. For a communist society moves ahead together,

yet remains idle when looking at an individual. This is illogical, for we are just that,

individuals. We as humans are imperfect individuals, and selfishly stride towards

justifying our personal goals, collaborating with others only when knowing it will

strengthen our own grip.

The following references were used to either compile text information, create

figures, or for direct quotation.

“Communism”. Academic American Encyclopedia. 1989.

“Marx, Karl”. Compton’s Encyclopedia. 1986.

“Socialism”. Academic American Encyclopedia. 1989.

Ebenstein, William. Today’s isms. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall Incorporated, 1970.

Haberman, Arthur. The Modern Age: Ideas in Western Civilization. Toronto:

Gage Educational Publishing Company, 1987.

Marx, Karl and Friedrich Engels. The Communist Manifesto. Illinois: AHM Publishing

Corporation, 1955.

McKay, John P. and others. A History of Western Society. Volume II, 3rd ed. Boston:

Houghton Mifflin Company, 1987.


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