Marxism Essay, Research Paper
True Marxism: Now And Then “Modern bourgeois society with its relations of production, of exchange and of property, a society that has conjured up such gigantic means of production and of exchange, is like the sorcerer, who is no longer able to control the powers of the nether world whom he has called up by his spells.” The Marxist theory of revolution must be evaluated in regards to its strengths and weaknesses. First how it was relevant in Marx’s era, second how it was relevant after his death. The two conclusions that could be reached by assessing his theories in relation to early capitalisim and modern capitalisim. Marx had the belief that the evolution of society was a valid philosophical topic, therefore he wrote his utopian ideals of revolution with this in mind. That is the greatest strength of his theories. Marx’s views on Communism are so flexible that they have remained relevant for over one hundred and fifty years now. Most of his writings are structured around the capitalistic trends of his era, but this does not obscure the fact that much of his vision is still relevant and thus strong in theory. However, while some of the great points in Marx’s theory were once relevant, some have simply become out dated. Karl Marx was born on May 5th 1818 in Treves, Prussia. Marx youth was characterised by two basic events: The Industrial Revolution in England, and Great Revolution in France. During the early years of Marx’s life there was a changing trend in the face of production. Due to the invention of the steam engine, and other machines, This created favourable conditions for the centralisation of production into big cities, and a new style of human labor. Laborers went from an almost family like setting assembiling a product in its entirety, to an over packed room working on a production line. A once strong bond between employer and employee completely dissapeared. Workers were treated as possesions, human machines that were barley payed enough to live. This “control, and direction of production by privately owned business organizations”(Webster’s 60) was how capitalisim began. Before Marx was born and up to his manhood there was another historical event that helped mold his beliefs; The French Revolution. “The French Revolution, for example, abolished feudal property in favour of bourgeois property.”(Marx 52) The French Revolution was an upheaval of fuedal society by the workers of France. This idea spread throughout Europe, and upheaval continued in a cycle pattern, and reached its highest point when Marx wasin his early 20’s. These events that were happening all around helped form some of Marx’s views on unstableness of Capitalisim. The history of society and the trends of Capitalisim led Marx to believe that revolution was bound to happen again, and when it did it would turn the world over to
the proletariat. As Marx states in the opening quote of this paper, he belives that Capitalisim will self destruct by creating “too much civilization”(Marx 42). The ever- growing power of the bourgeois will become stagnate. This stalemate will be overcome by enforced destruction of a mass of productive forces. By doing this the bourgeois will begin to cut the foundation from beneath themselves. While trying to advance there situation the bourgeois will force the proletariat to band together like never before. Thus, Capitalism will collapse under the majority of the exploited working class. Many of these ideas put forth by Marx have held true throughtout time and remain relevant today. Marx makes the statement that capitalisim is advanced “by enforced destruction of a mass of productive forces; on the other, by the conquest of new markets, and by the more thorough exploitation of the old ones.”(Marx 42) Although Marx sees this as the start of the downfall, Capitalisim has used a balance of the three to maintain its existance. Capitalism as we know it today truly has relied on these factors through time to maintain its exsistance. Capitalisim must have a lower class in order to survive. The working class has propelled capitalisim through history. Factories are shut down every week, yet unemployment is at a thirty year low. For every opportunity crushed by our capitalistic society there is a new one opening in another area. A blending of the working class with industry and commercial business prduces a fresh, ever changing face to capitalisim. For Marx’s therioies to be fullfilled there must be a stalmate. The relations between working class and employers must break down. I believe through corperations, stock markets, and methods of investing we have found a way to build a more permenant tie between classes. I believe Marx’s Communist Mannifesto has no less importance today as it had in his time, but today it acts more as a document to help regulate Capitalisim and less as one to help bring its downall. In his expectation of the collapse of capitalism , Marx had not considered how resilliente it could become. Capitalism became more complex and Marx suddenly lost many of his major standing points. His initial judgement had been based upon the world as he knew of it, but the world changed as it always does, and so did the role of the working class. It could be said that Marx was partially correct in his assessment of capitalism. Many of the flaws of capitalisim Marx points out still hold true. Although Marx had to many great idea’s to mention, I believe the most serious flaw of his theories is his idea of what would become the ruling class. Instead of an exploited working class majority, Capitalism produced a huge working middle class with an exceptable standard of living. In the end only speculation can determine what the true strengths and weaknesses of Marx’s theory of revolution are; whether Marx would have ultimately been correct had Capitalism as he knew it continued, and only the future can prove whether he will be right should capitalism collapse under its own weight.