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To what extent is Marxism a flawed political ideology?

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Introduction

To what extent is Marxism a flawed political ideology? Ever since Marxism was established as a political ideology it has been subject to much scrutiny; as Karl Marx gave his opinions of society based on either scientific evidence or personal belief, it was only natural that some would disagree and thus criticise his convictions. The majority of Marx's ideology was based on the idea that the superstructure of society was totally dependent on the economic base (and any changes made to it), and that the capitalist society in which we currently live would create a revolutionary working class which would ultimately lead to a communist society. Essentially, Marx claimed that communism was inevitable, and this was a heavily criticised aspect of Marx's overall ideology. As this suggested that human history is not something that individuals have any control over, critics argued that Marxism was more comparable with a religion rather than a scientific theory. This was further reinforced by Karl Raimond Popper's argument that Marxism was unscientific as it could not be disproved. Defenders of Marx claimed that although Marx had publicly used the term 'inevitable' on several occasions, it was only to emphasise the importance of his ideas; in his more serious works he did not suggest that communism and other stages of history which he discussed were inevitable. For example, it is argued that one of his ideas that was often misconstrued was the idea that a capitalist society would eventually ...read more.

Middle

Critics disputed that this deterministic approach to describe the progression of human history was too simplistic, and that it does not comply with what has actually occurred throughout history. In opposition to Marx's idea that history was a progression of ever improving stages which would eventually lead to the final (and 'best') stage of communism, it was argued that critical accidents and mistakes e.g. Hitler's decision to invade Russia in 1941, which led to his downfall, played an important role in history. Others argued further that human history was not a series of ever improving stages, but cycles whereby social development could have gone backwards or forwards in improvement. Additionally, some believed that G-d has an overall plan and decides the development and fate of human history. Once again Marx was defended in the argument that his concepts had been misconstrued to be more deterministic than they seemed; Marx's theory of history was not supposed to reflect every period of human history, as he acknowledged that society could go backwards and forwards in development. Marx's concepts examined the key turning points in history, mainly the r/evolution of society charting transitions from feudalism, to liberalism, then capitalism, and eventually communism. Marx's theory of history also led to his concept of class and how society became divided between the working class (proletariat) and the ruling class (bourgeoisie). ...read more.

Conclusion

Marx therefore deduced that the state was only necessary in a society where class i.e. property ownership was an issue, to intervene and resolve conflict which may arise from disagreements between capitalist organisations, workers threatening to go on strike, or economic crisis. Marx therefore considered the state as part of the problem of capitalism, which could subsequently not be used to solve this problem unless the ruling class is overthrown and classes do not exist. Coinciding with Marx's theory of history, Marx maintained that a society under capitalism would ultimately lead to crisis and the eventual establishment of communism, causing the state to be unnecessary and gradually "wither away". This theory was opposed by critics who said contrarily that the state works in the interest of the people and not just the ruling class, and elections held create a neutral and democratic government which the majority can use to ensure that their wishes are carried out. Moreover, critics argued that even under communism the state would have a large role in controlling the disruptive individuals of society, which they maintained would still be present regardless of any drastic social or economic changes. Marx further disputed this by saying that the state would only "wither away" once capitalism had been replaced, and a true democratic society had been established. As Marx always argued in favour of communism, basing part of his argument on the fact that a capitalist society can never be truly democratic, critics disputed his theory saying that communism leads to dictators like Vladimir Lenin. ...read more.

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