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Marx & Engels Materialist Theory Of History.

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Introduction

Marx & Engels Materialist Theory Of History In 1859, in the preface to his Contribution to the Critique of Political Economy, Marx wrote that the hypothesis that had served him as the basis for his analysis of society could be briefly formulated as follows: "In the social production that men carry on, they enter into definite relations that are indispensable and independent of their will, relations of production which correspond to a definite stage of development of their material forces of production. The sum total of these relations of production constitutes the economic structure of society, the real foundation, on which rises a legal and political superstructure, and to which correspond definite forms of social consciousness. The mode of production in material life determines the general character of the social, political, and intellectual processes of life. It is not the consciousness of men which determines their existence; it is on the contrary their social existence which determines their consciousness." This hypothesis was later called Historical Materialism. Marx applied it to capitalist society, both in The Communist Manifesto and The German Ideology. Basically he comments that social reality is composed in this way; beneath everything in society lays the real basis of society, economic structure (infrastructure). Marx starts with the observation that in order to survive humans must produce food and material objects, we therefore must enter into social relationships. ...read more.

Middle

Feudalism followed this, one rich owner had a lot of land that needed to be farmed and worked. He would employ serfs (peasants) to work the land and in return they would receive a meagre wage and accommodation. This wage would have been food and water and other very basic necessities. Capitalism was the next epoch. Capitalism is about profit and increasing profit. Most of the means of production are privately owned and production is guided and income distributed largely through the operation of markets. People work for a wage, and with this wage they can purchase items for consumption. In capitalism whatever is needed more at the time is worth more (supply and demand). Communism, the final epoch is a system of political and economic organization in which property is owned by the state and all citizens share in the common wealth, more or less according to their need. Karl Marx successfully predicted Capitalism and his materialist theory of history seems to work. It is almost poetic in its simplicity. The theory flows as if he had not created it, it was the truth and had always been. But there are limitations to his theory. Historical Materialism is a body of knowledge based on observation. An epoch will develop into a new one, thesis, antithesis and then synthesis, followed by a new epoch. ...read more.

Conclusion

Libertarians assert the freedom of will and go directly against Marx's theory, which is deterministic. Contemporary libertarians cite quantum physics and "the principle of uncertainty" as evidence that determinism is false. Marx and Engels theory of history was the basis for their whole work, and has therefore changed the face of the world forever. The Soviet Union was under communism for many years, from 1922 until 1991, and this republic as played a major role in the history of the world. Arguably the main Country in ending Hitler and Nazi Germany, after their heroics at Stalingrad. Whatever flaws can be seen in Marx's philosophy, it was enough to scare the US into a war. The cold war was the US fearingthe Marxis Soviet Union, and suspecting that they had much power. Enough power to threaten the mighty USA. However, Communism failed in the Soviet Union, this could be down to the basic flaws in the theory. Historical Materilamsm was the basis and was not 100%. But the Soviet Union did not engage capitalism. They skipped an epoch and went straight from feudal to communism. Its could be argued that this is why it failed. The Communist state was a Utopia, destined to fail by defintion. Utopia comes from the greek word ou, meaning "not" and topos, meaning "a place". "Not a place". An alluring idealogy and theory of history, yet not workable in reality. ...read more.

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