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

Which theorist is most applicable to understanding work today, Marx, Weber or Durkheim?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

2. Which theorist is most applicable to understanding work today, Marx, Weber or Durkheim? "We often associate the notion of work with drudgery - with a set of tasks that we want to minimize and if possible escape from altogether." (Giddens, 2001: 375) Many of today's working class would probably agree, however Karl Marx views work as the means through which individual creativity may be expressed and explored. Seeing as Marx felt so strongly about work, his theory of capitalism recognized and thus criticized the dehumanizing effects and exploitative nature of work in capitalist societies. His theory is generally applicable to the understanding of work today, however after having thoroughly studied and understood his theory, I felt that he overemphasized the effect of a society's economic structure on social life. Nevertheless Marx's theory on capitalism applies to many major aspects of work today and appreciates, more than other theorists, problems faced by today's society and its labour at work. The change in the occupational structure in society today is based on the phenomenon of the division of labour. Marx, unlike Durkheim, appreciates the negative as well as the positive aspects that the division of labour imposes on work. ...read more.

Middle

The theory states that 'all forms of wealth, created for purposes of exchange, get their value from the work put into producing them' (Kettle, 1963: 32). It distinguishes between use (or intrinsic)-value and exchange-value. In the past use-value was important. People simply exchanged objects or used money to exchange goods however, in capitalist societies, exchange value is prioritised. Capitalists aim to turn commodities into money. In other words, owners are generating wealth out of human labour. For example, production by labour is exchanged for an unequal exchange of wages. Capitalists made workers work more than they (the workers) received in return, in the form of wages. The needs of people are downgraded in favour of the desires of consumers and the desires of consumers are satisfied based on the amount of money the consumers are willing to pay. This is displayed in societies today where dominance lies with those with the most money. Hence Marx argues that exchange value is dangerous and increasingly, everything will become dominated by exchange value, even morality. Marx classified labour as a unique commodity that creates value, arguing that it should not be reduced to exchange value because we are purchasing an individual's time and generating use value out of it. ...read more.

Conclusion

Therefore in an industrial world, we lose sight of many humanitarian considerations. Finally, members of society also face alienation from our community, as a population. People's relationships revolve around money and the exchange involved between members of society. Our social community has very little importance in many of our lives. Eventually humans begin to behave like economic animals. Marx's theoretical interpretation of capitalism coincides well with the society and the work lives that we encounter today. In my opinion, his focus on the treatment of human labour is fundamental to understanding work today. Nevertheless, Marx's thought overemphasizes the economic structure of society and its influential role on social life. I agree that as a result of competition, innovation and several other capitalistic features in society, many have become increasingly economic-minded and work has had de-humanising effects on many of us, however, for some, work is still an expression of individual creativity. Despite that, I found that I agreed with most of Marx's theory and developed a better and a more realistic understanding of work today. Although I agree with Weber's theory of rationalisation and feel that his interpretation of capitalism is somewhat similar to Marx's, I feel as though Weber neglected to focus adequately on the issue of the exploitation of work today. Marx seemed to appreciate the most the essence of human labour. ...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. The Productivity of Colonial Power

    Once again, the hard-and-fast distinctions become blurred and the metropole's citizens are confronted by something more complex: the metropole becomes a cosmopole. It is worth noting that literature is a particularly fertile field for such transcultural activities, whereby colonised peoples seek to express themselves in the modes of the coloniser,

  2. What did Karl Marx mean by 'exploitation' in a capitalist economic system?

    These conditions are alleged to have created a status with similar conditions to servitude on the island, which is illegal in the United States. (Economist, 2001) These two examples of exploitation, both deal with exploitation of labour within poor

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

    The second part also stresses the importance of the necessity of the proletariat and bourgeoisie being common and the level of class being the same. The third part critiques other social ideas of the modern day. The final and fourth part discussed the differences between his political issues as apposed to those of the other oppositonal parties.

  2. Socialist uses of workers' inquiry

    From this perspective, I believe that the demise of sociology in the Marxist tradition is actually symptomatic of an involution in Marxist theory. In the past twenty years, sociology largely prospered outside of the theory and tradition of Marxism, even though Weber, who is regarded as the most important figure

  1. The ability to manage conflict is undoubtedly one of the most important skills a ...

    Compromising can be quick, however, and although leaves neither satisfied, it can be useful in situations where time is running out or when collaboration and/or competition have failed. It can also provide a temporary, short-term solution to a conflict while collaborative discussions continue.

  2. This essay is aimed to distinguished between what Marx mean by Alienation in relation ...

    Now how is this possible? How can we, or our lives, be in opposition to or not in the proper relationship to our very nature? To clarify this we must little more closely at what our nature or species being is. Why is productive activity central to our nature?

  1. Compare and contrast Marx and Engels with Mill regarding social and economic progress

    events has shaped their theory of the future and future progression in society. Engels called his and Marx philosophy of history 'the law of development of human history'. View of world history: The first premise of world history is the existence of human beings.

  2. Discuss the conflicts between Employee and Employer by Marxist

    In every organisation or company where people work together, misunderstandings and agreements will occur. Sometime, conflicts often are hidden in a workplace, which has not been dealt with in an open way. These types of hidden conflict can lead to decreased motivation among the employees.

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