Man As Laborer: Karl Marx Essay

1172 words - 5 pages

In Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts and several notes excerpted from his other works, Karl Marx offers an interpretation of history based on the socioeconomic dichotomy between rich and poor. He classifies history as a record of the way a society organizes itself in order to satisfy the material needs (food, shelter, clothing etc.) of the people during any given point in time. Furthermore, Marx investigates the relationships among people caused by these material conditions, in order to better understand the effect a government. His theory asserts that the populace of a society stratified into social classes will experience a level of social estrangement that is dissimilar to our human nature, and the perceptible, concrete thing is considered to be datum of perception only; as a result of the exploitative manner in which the society produces its goods. Moreover, that this estrangement creates a divide among people, between those who manage and own the means of production, and those who sell their labor as means of production—facets of a capitalist government.
The basis of this hierarchical society (for Marx) is the process of production, which relies on two key elements: the ‘forces of production’ and the ‘relations of production.’ The format of production in a society is what determines all other things in a society—the ‘superstructure’. That is, everything else in a society that does not directly pertain to modes of production (legal systems, family, education, etc.). Though, it remains that the superstructure also reflects the interests and ideology of a class society, thereby preserving the economic system of private ownership. This system favors the bourgeoisie society insofar as it exploits the proletariat by paying them wages of less than the market value of the goods they produced. This principle is necessary in order for the capitalist class to maintain the cycle wealth generated by this relationship; wherein, revenue is earned through made investments, which enables further investment for the bourgeois, and so on. Thus, it is not the driving goal of the capitalist to produce for the sake of use, nor as means to increase his or her personal consumption. Production, to the capitalist is the equivalent to money, as means of accumulation for more money.
The forces of production, as depicted by Marx, refer to the ways in which people provide for their material needs; be that by ownership of land, capital, machinery, labor, factories… all of the means by which a given society produces its commodities. The problem with the liberal state and ideology is that it reflects the ways in which capitalism is codified; the structure of capitalism is such that you have people who must sell their labor, because they do not own their own means of capital or investment; and those who do have the necessary means to advance their capital, may then in turn exercise control over the market—thereby exploiting and thus alienating the worker....

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