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A Comparison of Marx's and Rousseau's Philosophies.

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�zge Baloglu Esra K�rpez WLL 13-01-2003 A Comparison of Marx's and Rousseau's Philosophies Jean-Jacque Rousseau is the intellectual forerunner of radical socialism, especially the thought of Karl Marx. In spite of different opinions on the issues of state and government, family, religion and civil society, Rousseau's ideas about private property,freedom,equality,division of labor and ideal society greatly influenced Marx's point of view on these issues. Private Property: Both Rousseau and Marx opposed private property. According to Marx, private property is the result of alienated labor. Private property also the means by which the labor is alienated. Namely it is both the cause and the effect of alienated labor. For this reason Marx wanted to change who owned property. He wanted to take all the capitalist property and make it publicly owned. Rousseau too attacked the institution of private property and thought that a society founded on private property, which is legitimized by the social contract, inevitably degenerates into despotism. ...read more.


State and Government: Rousseau's and Marx's opinions about state and government were not similar.While Marx was against state and government, Rousseau was for them. In Marx's opinion, state is, by definition, nothing more than an instrument of social control used by the members of one class to suppress the members of another and so he thought that state and government limit people's freedom. According to him, without economic classes, there would be no need for a state. State is a coercive power for class domination, therefore, he argued that communist administrative organ would not be a state in itself, because society would be classless and this administration would not exercise coercion. On the other hand, Rousseau does not advocate abolishing the state and government. Instead, he thought that a small state is good for people's self government. Division of Labor: Marx's analysis of the division of labor was remarkably similar to Rousseau's. Both argued that the desire for private property led to the division of labor, and this in turn gave rise to the existence of separate social classes based on economic differences and inequality. ...read more.


In Rousseau ideal society, common well-being rather than individual preference would be the superior. There would be no justification of ownership of goods. And to serve equality would be the first goal of his society. Civil Society: They are not like-minded about the issue of civil society. According to Marx, civil society is a terrible and destructive social system because its social effect is to sever all man's species-ties, substitute egoism and selfish need for those ties, and dissolve the human world into a world of mutually hostile individuals. Therefore, he thought that civil society is the cause of men's problems. On the other hand, for Rousseau, civil society is necessary to transform the individual into an intelligent being and a man. Civil society is essential if men are to exercise and develop their faculties, broaden their ideas and feelings, and uplift their souls. Karl Marx followed in the communitarianism tradition of political authority and obedience pioneered by Jean-Jacque Rousseau. Rousseau set the cornerstone and Marx was architect of the socialistic monument built upon it. The similarities between their ideologies shows how profoundly Marx was influenced by Rousseau. Baloglu 2 Baloglu 3 ...read more.

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