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Karl Heinrich Marx (1818 - 1883) grew up in an age of repression.

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Introduction

The latter part of the nineteenth century was teeming with evolved social and economical ideas. These views of the social structure of industrial society came about through the development of ideals taken from past revolutions such as the Industrial Revolution which steamed ahead paving the way for growing commerce, and widened the gap between the classes. The development of a capitalist society was a very favorable goal in the eyes of the bourgeoisie. But it had negative implications on was the working-class and the proletarians who were exploited a great deal under the reign of capitalism. During this era of turmoil and anxiety, Karl Marx and Max Weber were two of the most influential sociologist. Both their views on the rise of capitalism have various similarities and differences. Karl Heinrich Marx (1818 - 1883) grew up in an age of repression. Marx's feeling of oppression was heightened by his family's conversion to Lutheranism just prior to his birth in order to escape the legal roadblocks and stigma of being Jewish (Pfohl 433). Marx thus was exposed to systematic discrimination and a strong desire to eliminate this oppressive system with a system that, instead of benefiting a select few, was concerned with the social welfare and social justice for all. ...read more.

Middle

Further bureaucratization and rationalization seemed to Weber an almost inescapable fate. Alienation on the same grounds is a subjective feeling, a feeling of individual powerlessness and detachment from self. In the 'Paris Manuscripts' (1844) Marx outlines four key forms of alienation, firstly, that the worker in the capitalist system has lost control of his labour, secondly, through the division of labour, thirdly, man is alienated because his work relationships with his co-workers is not one of natural human unity and fourthly, the worker is denied his true nature through the lack of self expression in his work. Marx's works have been fight against alienation to bring into being his essential political belief that communism is the true nature of humankind; his work is an attempt to battle the ideological superstructure of Capitalism and so he is fighting to relieve false consciousness. Exploitative relationships and false consciousness generated by alienation, made the worker feel like a commodity and thus, planted the seeds of Communism in Capitalism's very womb. 'A spectre is haunting Europe - the spectre of Communism.' (Taylor, 1967:78) For Marx man's labor is his self-expression and by alienating him from it, he is alienated from himself. Therefore both Marx and Weber agree that the new world of rationalized efficiency has turned into a monster that threatens to dehumanize its creators. ...read more.

Conclusion

Therefore, according to Weber, a person's class situation is basically their market situation. Weber identifies several other factors, which can determine group formation and the stratification of society. In particular, groups form because their members share a similar 'status situation.' Whereas class refers to the unequal distribution of economic rewards, status refers to unequal distribution of 'social honor.' Weber also identifies another important factor in determining social stratification, that of 'party.' Weber defines parties as groups, which are specifically concerned with influencing policies and making decisions in the interest of their membership - that is, they are concerned with the acquisition of 'social power.' While Marx argued that classes formed the only significant groups in society, Weber argued that the interplay of class, status and party led to the formation of social groups. Karl Marx and Max Weber's conceptions, lead them to very distinct conclusions about the rise of modern capitalism. Upon careful comparative analysis, a conclusion can be made about the extent to which these theorists are complementary or competing. Marx was too mechanistic, closed off to other causal factors besides that of the economic base. He took historical materialism and historical laws to an extreme and may have been stuck in the one-dimensionality of its causal chain. Weber, on the other hand, was quite ambivalent. He avoided making conclusions about the primacy or significance of certain variables and seemed to lack focus in this respect. ...read more.

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