• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

How did Marx explain the collapse of Capitalism and how did the ideas of Lenin and Trotsky develop Marxist theory?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

How did Marx explain the collapse of Capitalism and how did the ideas of Lenin and Trotsky develop Marxist theory? Carl Marx (1818-83) was a German Philosopher, economist and political thinker, usually portrayed as the father of twentieth-century communism. After a brief career as a teacher and journalist, Marx spent the rest of his life as an active revolutionary and writer, living mainly in London and supported by his best friend and long life collaborator, Friedrich Engels. Marx's centrepiece was a critique of capitalism that highlights its transitional nature by drawing attention to systemic inequality and instability. Marx subscribed to teleological theory of history that held that social development would inevitably culminate with the establishment of communism. The core of classical Marxism is a philosophy of history that outlines why capitalism is doomed and why socialism is destined to replace it. What made Marx's approach different from that of other social thinkers was that he subscribed to what Engels called 'materialist conception of history' or historical materialism, Marx held that material circumstances to be fundamental to all forms of social and historical development. ...read more.

Middle

Marx thus explains historical change by reference to internal contradictions within each mode of production arising from the existence of private property. Capitalism is thus doomed because it embodies its own antithesis, the proletariat, seen by Marx as the 'grave digger of capitalism'. Conflict between capitalism and the proletariat will therefore lead to a higher stage of development in the establishment of a socialist, and eventually a communist, society. This enabled Marx to divide history into a series of stages, each characterised by its own economic structure and class system. Marx identified four stages: primitive communism or tribal society, in which material scarcity provided the principal source of conflict; slavery, covering classical or ancient societies and characterised by conflict between master and slave; feudalism, marked by antagonism between land owner and serfs; capitalism, dominated by the struggle between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. Human history had therefore been a long struggle between the oppressed and the oppressor, the exploited and the exploiter. ...read more.

Conclusion

The bourgeoisie make up the capitalist class and live off the ownership of productive wealth; the proletariat constitute the property less masses, who are forced to subsist though the sale of their labour power and can thus be seen as 'wage slaves'. For Marx the analysis of the class system provides the key to historical understanding and enables predictions to be made about the future development of capitalism. So Marx's prediction was that capitalism was destined to be overthrown by a proletariat revolution. Vladimir Illich Lenin (1870-1924), soviet communism was also shaped by the decisive personal contribution of the first Bolshevik leader, Lenin and then later by Stalin. Lenin was both a political leader and a major political thinker. Lenin's ideas reflected his overriding concern with the problems of winning power and establishing communist rule. He remained faithful to the idea of revolution, believing that parliamentary politics were merely a bourgeoisie sham, aimed at tricking the proletariat into believing that political power was exercised through the ballot box. Lenin also echoed Marx's call for a transitional dictatorship of the proletariat, between the overthrow of capitalism and the achievement of 'full communism'. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Political Philosophy section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Political Philosophy essays

  1. Why does Marx believe that capitalism will inevitably give way to socialism?

    has consolidated a sufficient degree of control over the productive forces to compel the direct producers to labour not simply to meet their own needs, and those of their dependants, but also to support this dominant group' (Callinicos, 2000, p86).

  2. "What are the main strengths and weaknesses of Marxist histories"?

    Marx figured that this revolution would attain several things. Firstly, it would overthrow the system of ownership of the means of production, and place the means of production in the hands of the people. Secondly, the goal of production would be to satisfy the needs of the society, and not to create a profit.

  1. How and why does Locke explain the creation, value and protection of property?

    the state of nature, with the inconvenience of one being ones own judge, jury, and executioner and handing out punishment as one sees fit. Locke conceives of us having a property in our own person. This type of self-ownership thesis has a lot of fault to it.

  2. What exactly is Weber's Protestant Ethic Thesis?

    This leads me to the conclusion that Weber's thesis has offered us a complete picture of the relationship between the Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, from the rise and spread of capitalism facilitated by Protestant asceticism, right through to the expansion and development of modern capitalism to a point at which it no longer requires religious sanction.

  1. Karl Marx was the greatest thinker and philosopher of his time. His views on ...

    He predicts a confrontation between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, the working class and the higher class. Because of the main logic behind capitalism the bourgeoisie will seek more power and more wealth. With them doing this, the living conditions of the proletariat will decrease.

  2. A Study of Carl Rogers' Theory of Personality

    The needs for positive regard from others and positive self-regard would match organismic evaluation and there would be congruence between self and experience, with full psychological adjustment as a result (Rogers, 1959). This ideal human condition is embodied in the "fully functioning person" who is open to experience able to

  1. To what extent did the key political ideas directly Influence change and development in ...

    implementing economic policies that were proving admirable to the Italians of nearby states. His liberal stance was realised by the calculated leaders of some of the more powerful modernising states throughout Europe. They came to him with a redrawn map of political Europe with an aim of creating a new Kingdom of Italy.

  2. An analysis of the Marxist perspective on religion

    you still have a headache, but without the pain that accompanies it you believe your headache is gone. Given that pain is your body's way of saying that something is wrong, taking a drug to cover the pain is obviously the foolish thing to do in the long term.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work