Marxism

July 27, 2023
10 MIN READ
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Marxism is a political, economic, and social theory that originated in 1848 with the work of German thinkers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels to explain the relationship between capitalists and workers. The book argues for a socialist revolution to overthrow capitalism and replace it with communism. The goal of a capitalist economy is to increase wealth at the expense of the working class, which in turn affects productivity and social progress. Marx argued that this arrangement was exploitative and polarized workers against their employers. Marxist class conflict and Marxian economics explain Marxism's foundations, class struggle, class struggle, and social revolution.

What is Marxism?

Marxism is an economic, political, and social ideology that critiques capitalism and advocates for communism as a better system. German intellectuals Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels put out this thesis 1848 to explain the rift between capitalists (Bourgeois) and workers (Proletariat). According to this view, the developing tensions between different social groups would ultimately lead to a proletariat-led revolution that would topple the bourgeois and seize power over the economy. Marx claimed that class struggles might have far-reaching social effects beyond what is predicted by the theory. However, the world has transformed business due to rising rivalry, utilization, supply and demand, and salaries.

The process of Marxism theory

The elimination of social stratification is central to Marxist ideology. According to Marx, class conflict emerges from the exploitation and alienation of workers under capitalism. He also predicted that workers would take the means of production if and when capitalists were deprived of their economic and political authority.

Marx advocated for the establishment of a society devoid of all forms of discrimination and class differentiation. In its place, a culture of cooperation and shared wealth has emerged.

Marx examined the calamities, hardships, and anguish endured by the working class. His theory was that the working class would continue to decline in economic status under capitalism due to the system's bias toward affluent company owners. Thus, he suggested that the Bourgeois (private company owners) and the Proletariat (laborers) are the two main social classes in a capitalist society.

·       Capitalists, or the bourgeoisie, own and control the means of production (factories, tools, raw materials, etc.), and the working class, or the proletariat. They have enough financial and political clout to exploit employees by influencing laws and property rights.

·       Workers of the proletariat class transform raw resources into finished products for sale. But they are powerless because they do not own the factories. In addition to being exploited via lower salaries and more unemployment, they are radicalized by the current economic downturn.

Economics, according to Marx

Like other conventional economists, Karl Marx advocated for a labor theory of value (LTV) to clarify price discrepancies in the market. According to this idea, the worth of a thing may be objectively assessed by the average number of hours of work necessary to make it. In simple terms, if an object takes longer to manufacture than another, it should be valued twice as much. Marx included the view that this labor value signified worker exploitation in this theory.

Marx maintained that capitalism had two fundamental defects that led to employer exploitation of workers: the chaotic character of free competitive markets and the extraction of extra labor. Marx prophesied that capitalism would ultimately kill itself as more individuals were demoted to the working class, inequality increased, and competition drove business earnings to zero. He predicted it would culminate in a revolution in which production would be transferred to the working class.

How the communist manifesto and capital are organized and what they contain

Marxism is a worldview that emphasizes the eternal struggle between different social, economic, and political classes. Marxism was brought to public attention in 1848 with the publication of The Communist Manifesto, penned by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.

The Communist League commissioned the writing of the book, and it was printed in London. Marxian economics, on the other hand, provides a critique of a fully developed capitalist system. Capital in general and various capitals are the focus of Karl Marx's three-volume work Das Kapital, where the author also developed his theory.

Class conflict theory

According to Marxism, class conflict is an inevitable part of history and one of the driving forces behind economic progress. Marxism argues that the rule of history applies to every society in which different social classes compete for power in production.

According to Marx, all communities are divided into distinct classes based on access to or ownership of the means of production. According to him, there are only the bourgeois (business owners) who take control of the means of production and the proletariat (those who manufacture goods) in a capitalist society.

The bourgeoisie has greater economic and political clout than their proletarian counterparts because they control the means of production. The capitalists can exploit the workers, and the workers' capacity to generate and get necessities is constrained.

The root of social conflict in commodities

Marx's theory of class conflicts may also be seen from the viewpoint that commodities, in the form of services and capital products, characterize capitalism.

According to Marx, workers are nothing more than an instrument that can be traded. Workers without access to the means of production (land, buildings, machinery, etc.) have little sway in a capitalist economic system.

Furthermore, workers' sense of value and worth is diminished since they are easily replaced during economic downturns. Conversely, bosses are enticed to maximize profits at employees' expense by paying them below-market salaries.

The value created by employees is a private profit that capitalists ultimately own. The ultimate gain, the excess of social and natural good, is likewise appropriated by these people.

The framework of Marxism

The bourgeoisie employs various strategies to consolidate control over the proletariat. The ruling elites, tasked with ensuring economic growth for everybody, carry out the owners' wishes by all means necessary. They uphold the law and protect private property through intellectual and political influence.

Academics and journalists who support the capitalist system would rather see the public remain oblivious to the existence of the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. Marx referred to organized religion as "the opiate of the masses" because it used myths about divine wrath to comfort the proletariat and get them to tolerate further exploitation.

The financial and banking sectors routinely stage-manage the financial crises and trap employees with predatory loans to undercut workers' bargaining power and ensure a sufficient supply of unfree labor, both of which aid in consolidating capital ownership.

Socialist revolution

According to Marx, capitalism is a system of exploitation and slavery because it allows one class to exert power over and exploit members of another class. Employers use employees as cheap labor by paying them just enough to get by. Since the proletariat has little to no ownership in the manufacturing process and sees their job as nothing more than a means to an end (money), they become more radical in their outlook on humankind and company owners. Since no social group is willing to give up its advantages freely, the old power structure must be eliminated by coercion.

Capitalist companies prioritize profit maximization, whereas employees worry mostly about making ends meet. According to Marxist theory, the major cause of class conflict is the unequal access that various social classes have to the means of production. Economic and social revolution would finally resolve the societal difficulties caused by such an unjust imbalance.

Marx argues that capitalism is doomed to fail because it is built to exploit workers to the point where they rebel and take control of the means of production. Marx also theorized that the community would eventually own the means of production.

Comparing communism, socialism, Marxism, and capitalism

Communism

Marx and Engels' writings paved the way for communist thought and practice, which promotes a society without classes and in which the people hold all property and riches. Only five countries now have communist governments: China, Cuba, Laos, North Korea, and Vietnam. Particularly, these countries have loosened up on some of their strictest restrictions in the name of economic development and international commerce.

The Soviet Union was an early communist experiment that began in 1921 and ended in 1991, leaving 15 countries to start over economically. Not one of them chooses to follow communism.

Socialism

Socialism was around long before communism. Its early supporters advocated for more economic fairness, worker solidarity, improved working conditions, and the communal ownership of land and industrial machinery.

People in socialist societies retain the right to hold private property, notwithstanding the state's right to control the means of production. Socialist reform has occurred inside preexisting social and political systems, whether democratic, technocratic, oligarchical, or totalitarian, rather than due to a class revolution.

Marxism

This viewpoint strongly endorses communism and advocates for an economic and social upheaval fueled by the working class's continual misery. Proletarians will bring down capitalists and gain authority over the economy and means of production due to exploitation under the capitalist system.

Capitalism

Capitalism is an economic system defined by private ownership and a set of laws that safeguard the ability to acquire or transfer private property, and both communism and socialism are opposed to it. The means of production and the associated profits are owned by private people or the corporations they establish in a capitalist system.

The free-market economy has flaws that communism and socialism seek to address. Some examples include the exploitation of workers, social class differences, and extreme poverty.

Challenges to Marxism

Marx's ideas moved numerous people, yet few of his forecasts came true. Marx argued that more market competition would not lead to higher quality consumer products but rather to more business failures and the eventual development of production monopolies.

He theorized that bankrupt former capitalists would join the proletariat, becoming an army of the jobless. The inherently unplanned market economy would also face severe supply-and-demand issues and economic depressions.

Although capitalism has evolved since Marx's day, it has not crashed. Countries with a capitalist economic system, such as the United States, may and do take action against monopolies and monopolistic commercial activities. Governments enact minimum wage laws, while regulatory organizations establish safety regulations.

It falls short of the utopian standard. In many capitalist cultures, economic disparity has grown. Recessions and one Great Depression have occurred historically but are not considered normal in free markets.

In the present world, there is no evidence of a society devoid of rivalry, money, or private property, and there is no reason to believe that such a society would arise soon.

What did Marx have to say about the future?

Marx believed that capitalism would ultimately self-destruct. Most enterprises would dissolve and turn into unmanageable monopolies as competition intensified. Workers would reject an exploitative system. The oppressed workers would eventually topple the owners to seize oversight of the means of manufacturing, resulting in a classless society based on shared ownership.

Was Karl Marx correct?

Not at all. Since the Soviet Union's demise in 1991, the most prosperous of the few existing communist countries, particularly Vietnam and China, have changed some of their most rigorous customs. None have been able to completely eradicate personal possessions, funds, and class hierarchies as Karl Marx envisioned.

In its many manifestations, capitalism remained the dominant economic structure in 2021. However, it has evolved since Marx's time, rectifying several of the worst extremes. Examples include worker safety regulations, child labor legislation, laws regarding minimum wages, and anti-poverty initiatives.

What is the distinction between Marxism and communism?

Marxism calls for an economic and social upheaval prompted by the persistent suffering of the working class in a capitalistic system. In communism, on the contrary, the community takes ownership of the means of manufacturing. As a result, private ownership is abolished, and a society with shared ownership and no class distinction but equality is established.

Conclusion

Karl Marx established the social and economic theory of Marxism in the nineteenth century. According to Marxian economics, the capitalist production system is intrinsically unjust to workers, who constitute the majority of the population. Marx's social theories linked capitalism's defects to a developing conflict between classes between labor and entrepreneurs, eventually resulting in a revolution that empowered the working class and established common ownership of the mechanisms of manufacturing. His views have been validated in practice. The Soviet Union's communist experiment came to an end in 1991. It is still being tried in China, establishing an amalgam of social and economic structures that Marx may not recognize.