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Why does Marx believe that capitalism will inevitably give way to socialism?

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Introduction

Why does Marx believe that capitalism will inevitably give way to socialism? Why did Karl Marx remain steadfast in his opinion regarding capitalism? He believed that socialism would be an inescapable consequence of the structure he was so critical of. What were the reasons for this belief? This essay sets out to answer this question. The topics of capitalism and socialism will be looked at in detail, as well as the explanation of why Marx is so influential in these areas. This essay will also discuss whether Marx's utopian vision has come to fruit as he envisaged, or has it remained to be just a theory. Karl Marx (1818- 83), a German economic critic, political activist and philosopher, is viewed as one of the founding fathers of sociology. His writings and theories have influenced many and he remains to be a much talked about figure in academia, sociological circles and beyond. A theoretical school of sociology has its roots in Marx's philosophies. It is believed that until recently, one -third of the world's population lived under governmental regimes inspired by Marx's ideas (Marshall, 1998, p393), the Soviet Union being an example. The essence of Marx's work was on the formation and the nature of modern society, and how capitalism and the class struggle played its part in this. His most famous work, Das Kapital (1867 - 95) contained his hope for the social revolution, which would eventually overthrow capitalism, as the essay question refers to. Marx began his theories by drawing from the basic knowledge, that in order to survive, humans have to produce the food and material objects, which will aid their subsistence. ...read more.

Middle

This surplus product gives the owner extra profit, therefore acting as surplus value. Marx argued that this surplus value originated from the exploitation of the labourer by the capitalist, an argument that can now be expanded. As has been explained: under the capitalist system a labourer produces a value for the capitalist that is in excess of the value of their wage. This quite clearly, is an exploitative relationship. The labourer fails to see this however due to the hourly wage system put in place. The capitalist ideology also masks the exploitative nature of this system. It is sold to society as a social order based on individual freedom, equality and justice when it is clearly not, as the labourer has little control over their labour while the capitalist appropriates the product of the workers labour (Giddens, 2001, p12). Citizenship is also a supposed right in this free and equal state, yet the majority were denied voting rights due to the property qualifications issue. (Giddens, 1986, p37). This particular situation sees a society ripe for conflict as Marx theorised. Class conflict was already in place, due to the owners of capital exploiting the workers who were forced to sell their labour power. Marx referred to these new workers as the proletariat. This was a new class, which had risen alongside the Industrial Revolution and could be said to be the working class of the Nineteenth Century. Alongside the formation of the proletariat was the development of the bourgeoisie. The bourgeoisie took over from the feudal lords and installed themselves into the new epoch as capitalists. ...read more.

Conclusion

The 'dictatorship of the proletariat' (Tignor et.al. 2001, p257) would not take their place in society as the ruling class, like the capitalists before them. They would act in the interests of all humanity. At the time of Marx's writing the German Social Democratic Party were in power and the number of proletariat were increasing, so it seemed, that this prophecy was feasible. As history shows, Marx's ideas had an impact on the world, although only after his death. Socialism did not become a universal epoch as he had predicted although a certain political party would like this not to be the case (Scottish Socialist Party). Many of his expectations about the future course of the revolutionary movement have, so far, failed to materialise, as he did not envisage the divisions, which would occur within the working class. However, his stress on the economic factor in society and his analysis of the class structure in class conflict does have accuracy and truth. The process of contemporary globalisation could be said to be proletarising the entire globe as Marx predicted capitalism would do. In conclusion, this essay has shown the reasons why Marx believed socialism was an inevitable consequence to capitalism. While Marx's arguments were compelling and could be applied to certain issues of the 21st Century his vision of socialism did not occur as his theory suggested, particular parts of the world took up his ideas but these were not typical capitalist societies as Marx had described, i.e. the Soviet Union. He still is and will always remain to be an iconic figure to many. Marx and his ideas will not retreat into the background quietly. Social Theory, Modernity and the Industrial Age 0205866 SO202 1 ...read more.

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