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How does Karl Marx account for the 'industrialisation' of society?

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Introduction

How does Karl Marx account for the 'industrialisation' of society? Sociology has been classified as the last in a long line of emerging scientific disciplines which people have developed and explored in order to make sense of their world. Early theories such as the positivist approach of Comte, the functionalist views and the conflict perspectives of Karl Marx have offered a view of why human beings behave as they do and how they fit together in society. In the eighteenth and nineteenth century European societies experienced major changes due to the industrial revolution. These changes included a radical change in the economy, and many changes to aspects of society. Although it can be argued that these changes were important for society, these changes led to mass confusion. People begun to feel insecure about the future of social order and thus many early sociologists felt compelled to explain and understand these changes. One of the many early sociologists who attempted to explain how the industrialisation of society occurred was Karl Marx. Karl Marx was born in 1818 and died in 1883. During his life Marx wrote and contributed too many writings. Although the roots of these writings lay in the eighteenth century, which was a time of major social and political change that stemmed form the revolution of 1789 in France, they have had their greatest influence in the political sphere and possibly the intellectual world in the twentieth century. ...read more.

Middle

During this era there was class struggle between the guild owners and Merchants. The merchants won and eventually took over, which marked the beginning of capitalism. New markets evolved from the closed guilds due to the discovery of America and rounding of the cape. Thus the manufacturing system took the place of the guilds because they could no longer fulfil the growing wants of the new markets. The masters of the guilds were replaced with the manufacturing middle class, and thus the means of production belonged to one minority group. As the new markets continued to grow there was a massive increase in the volume of goods put into circulation, which in turn lead to the multiplication of circling commodities and the expansion of the world market. As these new markets continued to thrive so did the importation of precious metals, which in turn created a new economic base. Demand grew, as the new markets did and the manufacturing system no longer sufficed, thus manufacturing lost its place to giant modern industry. Those who owned these giant modern industrialised companies formed the modern bourgeoisie (communist manifesto). The modern bourgeoisie can therefore be seen as developing through stages, with each stage corresponding to a political advance of that class. As the bourgeoisie developed its capital increased, and as a result each class that had been handed down since the Middle Ages was pushed into the background. ...read more.

Conclusion

Furthermore Marx concentrated on conflict and therefore ignored any type of consensus in the emergence of capitalism and industrialisation. Lastly it is argued that Marx theory is biased and takes no consideration into other aspects by concentrating on economical reasons. Another criticism that is often levelled against Marx is that his interpretations of class and society were too simple and do not reflect real life situations. Marx claimed that a member of one class could only work to favour their own class' interest but this has been proved to be inaccurate, notably by Marx's contemporary Engels who was a middle-class businessman but at the same time advocated Communism and equality for workers. His division of society into stages such as slave societies, Feudalism and Capitalism was also too simplistic: 19th century America, for example, combined a Capitalist economy with the widespread use of slavery. In conclusion Marxism emerged as a philosophy following the death of Karl Marx is 1883. A determinist philosophy, it sees society as being on an inevitable course towards socialism. Marx's ideas have provided an evolutionary explanation of how societies developed through a series of stages and provided knowledge of how during pre capitalists times mans knowledge grew with the development of science. However, his view is heavily criticised as shown in this essay and therefore it is somewhat difficult to assert that the industrialisation of society occurred in the manner that Marx ascertains. ...read more.

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