Karl Marx Theory of Capitalism

Subject: Philosophy
Type: Informative Essay
Pages: 5
Word count: 1399
Topics: Capitalism, Karl Marx, Marxism, Political Science

Marx on Capitalist Society

The theory of Marxism relates to various teachings obtained from the history of socialism which was written by Karl Marx with the help of other theorists such as Frederick Engels. Marx and Frederick, n.p, (1980) had discussed the possible structure of a society basing his argument in family, production, and class. For instance, Marx and Frederick, n.p, (1980) argued that class in the society was the basic structure that segregated different individuals from others in the context of capitalism. Capitalist society believed and practiced in a production economy which was based on the individual privatization of properties. Most people in the community are segregated by class. However, Marx and Frederick, n.p, (1980) argue that the development of society from the primitive and undifferentiated state had led to the division of the population in classes. The class division has been triggered by the rising and competitive scramble for power and material wealth. The division of classes in the society was a result of the clash between different people who had different interests in the developing community. For example, the development of the capitalist society which was pivoted by the growing factories and companies led to the emergence of different classes such as exploiters and the exploited. Similarly, the difference between the buyers and the sellers contributed to the enlargement of the gap between the poor and rich which was a factor in the growing difference between classes. The rich grew interested in becoming powerful while the poor became the followers. Furthermore, Marxism theory was based on the class interest which was a social structuring element.

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Additionally, gender differences in the ancient society were a contribution to the growing capitalist society. Marx and Engels contributed to the debate on the effects of gender differences in a capitalist society. For instance, the production rate for men was higher than that of women in the society. Men had chances of accessing the scarce resources compared to women hence; contributing to the oppression of women in the capitalist society. Women were asked to be subjective to their husbands and were only recognized for procreation. However, the notion has changed with the changing structure of the modern society where Marxism feminists have changed the perspective of the society concerning women’s role. For example, women’s liberation could change with the restructuring of capitalism economy (Marx and Frederick, n.p, 1980). Women in the current society have taken some of the top positions in the economy hence; removing the barrier that hindered females from achieving or acquiring wealth same as men. Furthermore, Isaak Rubin and Silvia Federici were among the theorists in the Marx era who ascertained the incorporation of the theory of labor and value in the capitalist society. The two individuals contributed to the argument that class and gender were an essential factor for the capitalist economy. Labor was salaried, and women were the subject of being segregated from the society because of their feminist nature. However, the current society has changed which is seen in the developing community by the inclusion of women in the productive society.

Marx’s Concept of Alienation

Marx contributed to the discussion of the causes of alienation in the production sector. Marx’s theory of alienation is based on the concept of how capitalism has changed people’s perspective towards work. Work is an activity that helps an individual to access life’s basic needs through salaries. However, the capitalist economy has changed the concept of mobilizing workers to work together in an effort of breaking the monotony of work. For instance, a production company or a factory focuses in job specialization that sees the maximization of profit with minimal wastage of resources such as time. However, the strategy does not value the efforts of the employees. Job specialization and the division of labor into small sections would only lead to workers working apart from one another in the production sector (Marx and Frederick, n.p, 1980). The move would make most workers get bored with their work hence; creating a sense of alienation because they are segregated from one another. Therefore, Marx’s theory of alienation was based on the argument that the company would exploit the workers’ efforts but would make them hate their job. Alienation is being isolated from the group. For instance, workers in the capitalist economy work alone despite being in a big company with many employees. Therefore, Marx’s theory of alienation discussed the contribution of capitalism economy to the employees hence; disrupting the relationship between the workers.

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Marx had attributed several recommendations towards the abolishment of alienation in the capitalist society. For instance, the introduction of communism would result to the reviving and reunification of human consciousness. Communism should start by removing the division of labor in the production sector (Eyal, Ivan, and Eleanor, n.p, 1998). Many individuals would be handling various activities in their place of work which would encourage interaction as well as social existence. Similarly, Marx suggested that the removal of social classes in the society and the place of work would contribute to the eradication of alienation. Social classes segregate individuals in different classes that contribute to the isolation and isolation. Privatization of properties has as well contributed to the spread of alienation in the modern society. Although the system could be hard to change, the government or the state should ensure that some individuals do not have huge amounts of private properties (Eyal, Ivan, and Eleanor, n.p, 1998). Most citizens with large amounts of private properties have the tendency of exploiting others in labor or any other aspect. However, the modern society have various individuals with private properties equivalent to the governments but they do not exploit or segregate themselves from the society but contribute to the society regarding providing job opportunities and charitable events hence; giving back to the society.

Mass Reproduction and Deception

The traditional media was perceived to be durable and strong according to the theories of Benjamin and Adorno. For instance, Benjamin believed that “the work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction” was poised on the notion that the art was replicable but having a different perception on the worthiness of the piece of art. Similarly, Adorno and Horkheimer argued in the “Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception” that the media uses their opportunity to deceive the public about the actual nature of the cultural goods. For instance, the modern society utilizes the presence of social media, films, radio, televisions, and magazines to manipulate the real appearance of the commodities being sold to the community (Gur-Ze’ve, pg 120, 1998). Advertisements have become the source of income where the populations are lured about certain commodities by their appearance on the adverts leading to the increase in sales thus; deceiving the buyers regardless of their incomes.

The key difference in both theories is the definition and understanding. Benjamin’s theory believes in the modern technology have contributed to the degradation of the ancient form of art. For instance, an art that had originated from an ancient era would be technologically reproduced to obtain a durable component but would alter with the originality and worthiness of the art (Benjamin, pg 144, 2011). However, Adorno’s theory on cultural industry articulates the importance of media and the preservation processes of the traditional objects that are manipulated to fit the modern world consumers in the current market industry. Both theories talk about art and manipulation, but Benjamin’s discusses the manipulation of the ancient art while Adorno’s describes the manipulation of people’s perspective. Another difference lies on the technology advancement. Benjamin believes that technology destroys the aura of art which is the composition of the art itself. On the contrary, Adorno believes that the popular cultural with the help of technology helps in producing similar products that would deceive the community (Benjamin, pg 144, 2011). The newly manufactured goods such as art look like the traditional products but are standardized goods produced to deceive the buyers through the media. However, the cultural production is dominated by the press and the ruling class to manipulate the society by creating social constructs that favor only the ruling class. The cultural hegemony has teachings obtained from ancient philosophers that have given evidence on the criterion of manipulating the society through the media hence; becoming the victims of modern technology. For instance, Benjamin’s theory articulates the evidence on the need to retain traditional art rather than manipulating to deceive the society.

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  1. Benjamin, Walter. “The work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction.” Visual Culture: Experiences in Visual Culture (2011): 144-137.
  2. Eyal, Gil, Iván Szelényi, and Eleanor R. Townsley. Making capitalism without capitalists: Class formation and elite struggles in post-communist Central Europe. Verso, 1998.
  3. Gur-Ze’ev, Ilan. “Walter Benjamin and Max Horkheimer: from utopia to redemption.” Journal of Jewish Thought and Philosophy 8 (1998): 119-155.
  4. Marx, Karl, and Frederick Engels. Marx & Engels Collected Works Vol 13. Lawrence & Wishart, 1980.
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