• 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?

    is in danger of being overexploited by the ever increasing demands placed upon them by our expanding and resource hungry population (Goss- Custard and Sutherland, 1993). Deforestation in the tropics, which has converted vast tracks of forest to agricultural lands, has caused a marked reduction in biodiversity (Rivera and Aide, 1998).

  1. Discuss the conflicts between Employee and Employer by Marxist

    For example, in a car making factory, all the machineries are fixed assets to the factory owner, machineries can not make profit for the factory owner if no one operates them, and so labourers who operate machineries are the main assets to the factory owners.

  2. Max Weber - German Sociologist and First Analyst of Bureaucracy.

    administrators from the means of administration, and warriors from the means of violence. He further contended that in all relevant spheres of modern society men could no longer engage in socially significant action unless they joined a large-scale organization in which they were allocated specific tasks and to which they

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

    With win-win, the atmosphere is one constructive co-operation and a search for outcomes desirable to both "Let's work together to resolve this" is the attitude. Empathy also differs; under win-lose, people see the issue only from their own point of view, rather than appreciating it also from the other's.

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

    Why is productive activity central to our nature? And what, precisely, does Marx mean by productive activity? For Marx, our productive activity has four essential features. Firstly, productive activity is necessary if human beings are to survive, we must be productive in some respect in order to live, unless we are so rich that we simply spend our time counting the proceeds of our investments.

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

    This statement reiterates this emphasis that materialism places on being active rather than passive where one must re-shape the world to solve problems that are inherent in it, rather than simply reshaping our ideas. Only by changing the material world can society progress and reach ultimate freedom in a communist revolution.

  2. The Search for independence, Macedonia

    The largest Macedonian uprising against the Turks took place during the Austro-Turkish war and is known as the Karpos2 Uprising(1689). In this period large social changes happened in Macedonia as transition from a barter economy to a monetary economy, growth of cities, beginnings of a cultural and national awakening, expansion

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