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

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

Extracts from this document...

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.

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. How and why does Locke explain the creation, value and protection of property?

    property without royal appropriation and allow an individual to withdraw his consent to government at anytime. By constituting a government in terms of its role in "the preservation of property", Locke fulfills these aims eloquently. However, as with any doctrines there are problems.

  2. 'Socialists have disagreed on both the means and ends of socialism' - Discuss

    counter-revolution by the dispossessed bourgeoisie has passed, at which time the state will wither away. The use of revolution tends to lead to fundamentalist ends. With the complete overthrow of the old order an entirely new system can be put in place, and in the past this has often led to dictatorship and repression for several reasons.

  1. Power and Politics in Organizations: Public and Private Sector Comparisons

    The leader must know and learn the productive exploitation of the distinction between having power and exercising it (Coopey 1995; Dahl 1968: 413; Gross 1964, Vol. 1: 49-72). Bureaucrats sometimes do respond as through, for example, they are the agents of legislative bodies.

  2. "...the gulf between how one should live and how one does live is so ...

    ultimately the people will forgive you anything provided you can show it to be in their interests as citizens, it is not hard to envisage several scenarios whereby a skilled politician can effectively control the state and people for his own gain while still being able to pass his actions off as being necessary for security.

  1. Discuss the advantages of Communism over other political theories like Capitalism.

    Engels and Marx believed that the capitalist system too was flawed and therefore bound to destroy itself. They tried to show that the more productive the system became, the more difficult it would be to make it function. The more goods it produced, the less use it would have for

  2. Extent of key political ideas in directly influencing change and development .

    communist danger and the need for a strong, authoritarian government that would offer every class in Germany what it wanted Hitler's propaganda machine exploited people's idealism and fears and presented a vision of national pride and regeneration, and presented Nazism as the only way of achieving this.

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

    his family (wages), while the other part of the day the worker toils without remuneration, creating surplus value for the capitalist, the source of profit, the source of the wealth of the capitalist class. The doctrine of surplus value is the cornerstone of Marx's economic theory.

  2. Socialist uses of workers' inquiry

    In other words, we wish to restate Lenin's proposition that the workers' movement is an encounter between socialism and the spontaneous movement of the working class. As Lenin illustrated with a beautiful image, in the absence of a voluntary, scientific and conscious encounter of the spontaneous movement of the working

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