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Does Karl Marx or Max Weber Offer a Realistic Analysis of Today’s Society?

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Introduction

DOES KARL MARX OR MAX WEBER OFFER A REALISTIC ANALYSIS OF TODAY'S SOCIETY? Throughout this essay the writer will be questioning the analysis of society which German sociologists, Karl Marx (1818-1883) and Max Weber's (1863-1920) both offer and come to a decision as to who offers a more realistic analysis of society today. Is society becoming deskilled? Is Capitalism maximising profit? Are non-owners of the means of production becoming similar due to technology? Marx suggests that there are many contradictions within society, he referred to the term contradictions to refer to the stresses and strains that weaken the social structure from within, he claims that such contradictions can not survive in their existing form. One of these contradictions involves the class members of society and their relationship to the means of production, meaning the way in which things are produced in the economy. Marx's theory suggests that the Bourgeoisie (The Capitalist) who own the means of production (oomop) have the capital to invest. Therefore the have the power to exploit the no owners of the means of production (noomop), the Proletariat. They do this by paying the lowest price possible for their labour. The waged labourer does not own the raw materials and machinery that are used to manufacture the products of industry, which are main aspects of the mop. ...read more.

Middle

Resulting in a highly specialised workforce. Weber proposed that an individuals skill will be waged differently dependant largely on whether it is in demand or not and weather the supply of the skill is greater than the demand for it. Therefore, he suggested the market situation of that skill is not constant. In Weber's terms, the value of a skill is based upon a market economy model. Here Weber suggested that a person's class is dependant on their market situation. Unlike Marx, who believed that status is ascribed, meaning that an individual is born into their status (which Marx suggests is controlled by capital), as they will take on the same status as their family, becoming either oomop or noomop, therefore they have no social mobility (the opportunity to move from one stratum in society to another). For example, if there are two sons of a father who is a waged labourer and one son becomes an unskilled worker, that son isn't socially mobile. Weber suggests that if someone were to win the lottery they would then have the power (the capital) to invest to allow him or her to make a profit. Even if this was to happen to an individual Weber suggests that their 'status' would disallow them from entering upper class because his/her lifestyles have been completely different than that of someone of a higher status. ...read more.

Conclusion

Better working conditions and pay have increased. Even the unemployed, sick and lone parents receive benefits, therefore Weber argues that there is no reason for anyone to revolt as everybody has been catered for and society will stabilise. This has actually been proven. Firemen and City College are on strike but it is not a class issue and they have not become class conscious. It is a self-interest strike as they are not seeking class war or better working conditions. They are seeking better pay conditions, in the interest of better life styles for other members of their groups. Weber's theory definitely has more credibility here. Technology has taken over many jobs but this as not resulted in the deskilling of the work force as Marx predicted. Evidently highly specialilised individuals have emerged within the working class as Weber predicted. Yes, people can change and achieve a higher status as Weber proposed. No, non-oomop are not homogeneous like Marx suggested, and Yes, capitalists do seek the cheapest labour (globalisation). Karl Marx and Max Weber both offer amazing, yet staggering theories and analysis of today's society. Even though Weber's ideas offer a more realistic analysis of today's complex and specialised society, Marx's revolutionary ideas haven't been dismissed, but the essay specifically asks today. Dawn-Aleah Andrew. 32311 11/11/02 1 ...read more.

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