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Karl Marx School Of Life Modern World History Essay

1083 words - 5 pages



Ideas of Karl Marx can be taken in two different ways; one being the path of destruction as shown from dictatorships derived from his political views, and the other helping us "navigate towards a more promising future". Born in 1818 in Germany, capitalism's most famous and ambitious critic was first involved with the communist party and soon becoming a journalist, eventually settling in London as he fled Germany. During his time, capitalism emerged and began to dominate the western world. Being a critic of this, Marx identified many problems with it. This School of Life video goes over several of them, the first being that modern work is alienated. One of Marx's greatest insights is that work can be one of the sources of our greatest joys, but in order for this to be fulfilled, Marx wrote that workers need "to see themselves in the objects they have created". Upon stating this, the video gave a very good example of a chair concluding that "labor offers us a chance to externalize what's good inside us". This in mind, I really began to ponder this idea and ultimately realizing that this rarely is the case nowadays due to "specialized jobs" or assembly lines. With this, Marx argued that modern work leads to alienation, a feeling of disconnection from what you do and who you feel you really are and what you feel like you could truly contribute. This leads to the second idea of Marx introduced in the video, modern work is insecure. It makes the human expendable, as we can be "let go" or fired as soon as technological savings appear or costs rise. The video then explains how Marx understood that this was not what we wanted, and goes on to explain how communism can be understood emotionally, as it expresses "that we will not be cast out". The third view of Marx presented is that workers get paid little while capitalists get rich. Upon hearing this idea, I developed a connection with our industrial revolution unit, where we learned of how some capitalists shrunk their laborers' wages for more profit. This was called primitive accumulation by Marx. He viewed profit basically being theft, and the talent and hard work of their laborers being what is stolen by the capitalists. Pondering this idea, in some sense it was and still is true. Some capitalists, thinking their profit is a reward for their genius or technological talent, saw it fit for them, but Marx was able to think from the workers' perspective. The fourth idea is that capitalism is unstable. Marx proposed that capitalist systems are characterized by series of "crises". Rather than crises of shortages as in the past, they are crises of abundance, where we are able to produce too much. The video then gave an example of how our factories, being so efficient, could be able to provide everyone what they need, but it was not the...

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