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

Brief History of Marx.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Brief History of Marx Karl Heinrich Marx (1818-1883) was a German philosopher, economist, and social theorist whose account of change through conflict is known as historical, or dialectical materialism. His manuscript, Das Kapital, is the fundamental text of Marxist economics and his systematic theses on class struggle, history and the importance of economic factors in politics have exercised an enormous influence on later thinkers and political activists. Alienation Marxism began in a critique of religion, as a young man, Marx had learned from various German philosophers that God did not exist, that 'God' was in fact a name given by men to human nature which had been abstracted and set over them as an alien power. 'God' was an illusion, a projection of human power at the expense of human well being. "The criticism of religion ends with the doctrine that for man the supreme being is man, and thus with the categorical imperative to overthrow all conditions in which man is a debased, enslaved, neglected, and contemptible human being." (1) That is what is at the heart of Marxism, that nothing is above man, neither nature nor God. ...read more.

Middle

Marx viewed history in terms of different forms of ownership and essentially thought that there were four distinct stages (or epochs) - tribal, ancient, feudal and capitalist. Tribal This was a form of primitive communism. It was based on a productive system based around kinship and where individual members co-operatively produced the means to survive collectively - therefore there were no struggles between classes as it simply did not exist. Ancient Tribes merged and formed cities and states. Property became privately owned and a system of class relations developed from this ownership. The relationship between owners and producers of labour formed a class system of citizen and slave (e.g. ancient Rome). Feudal The chief form of property in this stage was landed property, with a class system emerging between enserfed peasants who perform the physical labour, and the aristocracy, who had social and political rights giving them power over the serfs. Capitalism With the industrial revolution meaning that working on the land had given way to working in factories etc - the peasant serfs from the previous epoch were now effectively turned into 'wage slaves' who must sell their labour in order to meet their economic needs. ...read more.

Conclusion

Government, the judicial system etc would no longer be necessary. These institutions were based on the assumption that there would be conflicts of interest in society that would need to be regulated. In communism though, class will have vanished and therefore so would the basis of conflicts. Also with peoples material needs being met and the abolition of private property the main reason behind the system for law and order would no longer be required either. Criticism of Marx's Theory Marx believed that it was inevitable there would be a revolution - he did not realise that the bourgeoisie would make concessions to the proletariat helped by the formation of trade unions. He also believed in class being bipolar whereas with the rise of 'middle class' there is multi polarisation. Marx's view was that the larger and more powerful companies (or bourgeoisie) would takeover the smaller independent ones leading to a rise in the numbers of the proletariat. Though to an extent this does happen - there are numerous small or middle sized independent business still going strong - there are also laws now to prevent monopolies and competition is encouraged. Marx's theory of history has to be commended though as it is an insightful view into how class struggles have shaped society. ...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. Power and Politics in Organizations: Public and Private Sector Comparisons

    That is, power equilibria at the microlevels will be influenced in no small measure by the configuration of the larger system in which these equilibria are embedded. Pluralism Pluralist systems tend to maximize not only the number of individuals and organizations able to intervene in the policy-making and policy implementation

  2. Liberalism Notes

    Hence liberalism differs here from traditional conservatism (more pessimistic about human nature) and socialism (deny reconciliation can be readily achieved) SUMMARY OF THE HISTORICAL WHIG-LIBERAL TRADITION * 17th century - Puritanism and Parliamentarism * Late 17th/18th century - The Whig Tradition: 'Glorious Revolution' (Locke), constitutional monarchy, government by consent, division of powers, religious toleration (Charles James Fox), oligarchy, mercantilism.

  1. An analysis of the Marxist perspective on religion

    Rather it is where they are alienated. When people are alienated from one another they may feel unhappy and depressed, but these are merely symptoms of the problem and not the actual cause of the feelings. It is the separation of the economic and political systems that actually causes these feelings.

  2. Socialist uses of workers' inquiry

    between inquiry and the labour of building political relations; inquiry is also fundamental to such process. Moreover, the work needed for inquiry, the labour of theoretical discussion with comrades and workers, is one of serious political training, and inquiry is a great tool for this.

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

    He married Jenny von Westphalen, and with a member of the Young Hegelians, Arnold Ruge went to Paris to publish a radical journal on his beliefs.

  2. Karl Marx - The Greatest thinker and philosopher of his time.

    After graduation he was unable to find work. This caused him to take a job with the German newspaper Rheinische Zeitung in early 1842. By the end of the year, Marx made editor- in-chief. A few months after that in 1843 because of his radical writings, and his social views,

  1. T difficult for export orientated economics to sustain the land owning elites much longer. ...

    But, in the case of Argentina and Brazil ISI would become an important tool in helping establish populist movements as an alternative to liberal democracy in Argentina and Brazil in the 1940s. (Rueschemeyer, Stephens, & Stephens, 2000, pp 155 - 222)

  2. Examine the history of and different types of Anarchism

    Anarchists emphasise the ability of the state to coerce its citizens, ultimately through capital punishment. They also see the state as acting in alliance with the wealthy and the privileged, oppressing the poor and the weak, and conscripting its citizens to fight in wars of conquest.

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