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Marx's Critique Of Capitalism Essay

2050 words - 8 pages

Introduction: Standing at the forefront of the sweeping changes that affected Europe as a result of the impending Industrial Revolution, Karl Marx, noted 19th century revolutionist, came to the conclusion that the economic system of his day was fraught with a clear and imminent danger. Marx, of course, was many other things. He was also an economist and a philosopher, and in his Communist Manifesto, worked with Friedrich Engels in an attempt to lay out his arguments. Unbeknownst to him, this text would help to create the greatest ideological schism of the 20th century. However, in his day, it served to warn of the dangers and inevitable decline of capitalism.Summary Of Arguments: Karl Marx recognized in his time that capitalism was a transient, evolving and flowing process that was continuously changing(1). And he also was a believer of "economic determinism", which states that society derived anything social or political from the economic forces then at work. To Marx, the crux of the economic forces at work was the "mode of production of material life(2)." Also, while capitalism was a great tool for productivity the likes the world had never seen, the problems with it could boil down to 5 somewhat sequential things: 1) The aforementioned "mode of production of material life" is constantly changing, and so over time evolves into a problem.2) Unlike what Adam Smith wrote, the "invisible hand" could not guide the world into harmony in economic life, simply because the inherent problems lies in the conflict between certain two classes, specifically those who controlled the means of production, and those who did not. He called the former the "bourgeoisie", and the latter the "proletariat". Marx felt that capitalism would fail because history is littered with class struggles, and "invisible hand" or not, the death struggle between the two classes would destroy capitalism. In fact, he felt, the way it was, there was no choice but for it to inexorably fall towards this death struggle that would destroy it.3) As evolution of capitalism continued, there would be a clear delineation of the two classes. There was to be no middle ground, as those who could not survive were relegated to the ranks of the proletariat, while those who did got bigger and bigger with success. Those successful bourgeoisie will succeed in creating a world of huge enterprises - monopoly capitalism - that will dwarf everything that the masses, or proletariats, will have. Marx also believed that reform, at this point, would be ineffective simply because the government would be a tool of the bourgeoisie and so would not be useful in attempting to change the landscape. This will eventually come to the point that the proletariats will have to come to the conclusion that they are now slaves to the bourgeois class and if they are to succeed, will have to overthrow the system that is exploiting them.4) First, however, what has to happen is that the proletariat will become more and more...

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