One of Marx's main theories was his critical assault on the capitalist system. The capitalist system being based on private ownership of the means of production, which gives the power to very few. Marx himself mounted a full scale attack on the the theories, institutions, and philosophies of industrial capitalism. His main argument was that capitalism was irrational. Marx did agree that the capitalist system was unparalleled at the method of production it used. However, under that same system, the problem existed of how to distribute the products its factories have made.
The fact was that under a capitalist system, production was meant to make a profit, not to satisfy the needs of the society. Marx stated that as long as those products being produced, were making a profit, they will remain being produced, no matter whether the public demanded that product, or not.
Also with the capitalist system, came competition. This drove the capitalists to cut the costs as much as possible. This is done through cutting the wages of the laborers. It is then evident that the public could no longer afford even the products they themselves produce. Also with competition, came the desire of the capitalist to increase volume, in the idea of grasping a larger portion of the market. This increased volume of product lead to a viscous circle, which includes overproduction, leading to lay-offs, periods of depression and recession.
With this viscous circle, that is brought by capitalism, comes economic misery for all of society. Karl Marx also had a theory which described the workers in the capitalist system. Marx used the term alienation of labour in describing what effects are felt by the labourers under a capitalist system.
He believed that laborers needed productive, gratifying work in order to remain happy. Marx stated that under a capitalist system laborers did not have a chance to develop their mental and physical capacities, something that Marx felt was essential while working. He also believed that man should not only labour as an individual, but for society as well. However under this capitalist system, man was working for his boss, who only seeked profit, and not the well-being of his workers, or the public.
Under these conditions, workers became mentally and physically drained. Marx believed that every person had a need to work. However, the capitalist system does not satisfy that need. Marx said it best when he stated that this type of work, does not satisfy the need to work, but is only a means to satisfy other needs such as food and clothes.
Marx used the term alienation of labour because this work left the laborer with a feeling of discomfort and homelessness. Marx's solution to capitalism, was the socialist revolution by the workers against the capitalists.
Marx figured that this revolution would attain several things. Firstly, it would overthrow the system of ownership of the means of production, and place the means of production in the hands of the people. Secondly, the goal of production would be to satisfy the needs of the society, and not to create a profit. Finally the socialist revolution would realize a rational way of distributing out the products it creates in accordance to need.
The resulting system; socialism, would bring a society which was based on collective ownership of the means of production, rational economic planning, equal distribution of goods and services, and lastly, production for the human need.
You can order a custom essay on Marxism now! Such technological advances de-skill the workforce. Together with increasing concentration of ownership, class polarisation is the result i. Marx argues that under capitalism, workers experience alienation because they have no control and the increasing division of labour means that work becomes a futile, meaningless activity.
The principal reason workers are unaware of the true nature of their situation is due to false-class consciousness which is explained through ideology — a set of values and beliefs that justify legitimise the existing social order as inevitable, entirely acceptable and indeed, even desirable.
This is because the capitalist mode of production which forms the economic base of society shapes or determines all other features of society — the superstructure of institutions, ideas, beliefs and behaviour that arise from this base. For example, it shapes the nature of religion, law, education, the state and so on.
According to Marx, capitalism sows the seeds of its own destruction. For example, by polarising the classes, bringing the proletariat together in ever-increasing numbers, and driving down their wages, capitalism creates the conditions under which the working class can develop a consciousness or awareness of its own economic and political interests in opposition to those of its exploiters. As a result, the proletariat moves from merely being a class-in-itself whose members share the same economic position to becoming a class-foritself, whose members are class conscious — aware of the need to overthrow capitalism.
The means of production would then be put in the hands of the state and run in the interests of everyone, not just of the bourgeoisie. A new type of society — socialism developing into communism — would be created, which would be without exploitation, without classes and without class conflict.
Far from society becoming polarised and the working class becoming poorer, almost everyone in western societies enjoys a far higher standard of living than ever before. Furthermore, conflict seems over-emphasised and there has not been any revolution in western societies.
In defence, Giddens argues that the twoclass model should be viewed more as a theoretical construct around which to build an analysis of society. Nevertheless, the focus on social class obscures other sources of inequality such as those based on gender and ethnicity. Classical Marxism has been further criticised as being too deterministic. First, too much importance is given to the economy in the economic base-superstructure distinction.
Second, it sees individuals as simply passive products of the social system, which socialises them into conformity and controls their behaviour. It does not allow for individual choice as social action theorists do. From a postmodern perspective, Marxism — as a grand theory or metanarrative — is no longer relevant for explaining contemporary societies, where social life is essentially chaotic, values are diverse, social structures have become increasingly fragmented; indeed, rather than class being the main social division, more differences arise around individual choices in consumption patterns and lifestyle.
Its focus on private ownership of the means of production provides an explanation for the extreme social inequalities in wealth, income and power that persist in contemporary societies, and for the conflicts and upheavals that periodically surface, many of which are rooted in social class inequalities.
In order to counteract some of these criticisms, more recent neo- Marxists have further developed and modified the ideas of classical Marxism. They tend to reject the economic determinism of the base-superstructure model and have tried to explain why capitalism has persisted and how it might be overthrown. More recent Marxists can be divided into two broad camps: The most important example of humanistic Marxism is Gramsci who introduced the concept of hegemony — the ideological or moral leadership of society — to explain how the ruling class maintains its position.
This counterhegemony would win ideological leadership from the ruling class by offering a new vision of how society should be organised, based on socialist rather than capitalist ideas. In a significant departure from classical Marxism, Gramsci argues that ideology has a relative autonomy from the economic base. This is the idea that the superstructure of society has a degree of independence from the economy rather than being directly determined by it.
In this way, Gramsci was leaning more towards a social action approach to society sometimes called voluntarism where humans have free will; they are active agents who make their own history. Their consciousness and ideas are central in changing the world. In contrast, structural Marxists emphasise determinism: Individuals are passive puppets — victims of ideology manipulated by forces beyond their control. Gramsci argues that socialism will come about when people become conscious of the need to overthrow capitalism, whereas structural Marxists like Althusser argue that socialism will come about only when the contradictions of capitalism ultimately bring about its inevitable collapse.
Gramsci has been criticised for over-emphasising the role of ideas and underemphasising the role of both state coercion and economic factors.
Some workers may want change but fear unemployment, while others may tolerate capitalism because they feel they have no choice rather than blind acceptance.
Essays and criticism on Marxist Criticism - Critical Essays.
- In this essay I propose to discuss two key sociological perspectives, Marxism and Radical and Liberal Feminism. I will also apply these theories to the family aspect of social life. Marxism is a structural conflict theory as outlined originally by Karl Marx ().
However, there are differences between Marxists especially over the way which social change can come about. For example, humanistic Marxists like Gramsci give a greater role to the conscious decisions and actions of human beings than do structural Marxists like Althusser, for whom social change comes as the product of changes within the . Free marxist theory papers, essays, and research papers.
Marxism: A* Essay Exemplar 1. Using material from item B and elsewhere assess the usefulness of Marxist approaches in explaining crime Marxism is a conflict theory established by Karl Marx. Mar 12, · Free Essays from Bartleby | Describe the Marxist approach to the media and discuss its strengths and weaknesses (In modern society the main influence over.