Karl Marx - Marxism  

by Nasser Qaedi


updown    Karl Marx was born in 1818 in the town of Trier, in west Germany. He attended both the University of Bonn, and the University of Berlin. He had strong intellectual interests in law, philology and theology. He was married in 1843, and later moved to Paris where he met Friedrich Engels who shared and helped develop some of Marx's ideas. In 1848 Marx wrote the Communist Manifesto. Marx played a significant role in organizing the revolution of 1848 in western Europe. Because of this, he was let out of Belgium and France, which forced him to seek political asylum in London. There, he spent the rest of his life researching, writing, and indulging in political journalism. His great works were Das Kapita, Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844, Theses of Feuerbach, The Holy Family, Critique of the Gotha Program,  and The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte.


down    upTo understand his works we have to know that Marx began as a Hegelian. This simply meant that he adopted a philosophy which interpreted the world as a kind of dynamic and spiritual process in that things which occur later in time are better then the initial occurrences. Marx was a Left-wing Hegelian and took these left-wing ideas and expanded on them. Marx believed that the politics of his time were based on a clash of interests which were the results of the material and social conditions of the society. The most important condition of society was how people earned their living or the mode of economic production. For Marx, the mode of economic production determined the form in which wealth was created and distributed in a society. Marx believed that people should be able to control their economic life just as they should their political life.

Marx also believed in socialism, which is a structure in society in which the chief elements of production, distribution and exchange are the common property of all, or in other words, a society where there is democratic and common ownership of the means of production. Marx emphasized that this kind of democracy would be of equal interest and benefit to both the individual person and the community as a whole, and that the equal rights and powers that would be given in a society to individuals would determine who should govern the community.



down  up Historical materialism is the idea that the mode of production or economic system would in effect determine the characteristics of a society. Marx believed that changes in the modes of production determine the changes made in law, politics and philosophy etc in a society. He emphasized the major periods he perceived in history to begin with primitive communism then slavery, feudalism and capitalism. He thought that eventually, these various stages in history would end in the stage of socialism.

Marx believed that change is inevitable and that societies follow a continuous pattern of changing from being simple to complex. He thought that in every society a point is reached where most people are suffering from a lack of things which enable them to live adequately as a result of ineffectiveness in the forces of production. So that the classes in the population that have the most to gain from a change in the society, being the lower class, would become revolutionary which would result in a new social structure after a period of struggle. Marx thought that these conflicts and struggles between classes occur over such things as the division of end results of production, in trying to determine who would have more right over the goods produced, being either the workers or the owners. Marx believed that class conflicts were most prominent in politics and that economics and politics were related. He thought that groups with conflicting economic interests would clash, being the workers and the owners of industry.

So in order to solve this, Marx stated that the individuals in a society would be both the workers and the owners, this is because the key decisions would be made democratically and that in the end, no group would be exploiting the other. Marx believed that this new structure of society would be characterized as having a higher and better standard of living with greater political and cultural freedom. He expected that this level would be achieved with the eventual demise of the state and that the society with a government would be able to continue on and operate by itself without any kind of exploitation.

down  up Some of Marx=s other theories are that he describes capitalism as a system of society in which the instruments of production are used for the gain of the owners with the use of workers, in other words, he believes that capitalism is the search for profit by the wealthy and the owners of industry. Marx is against this in implying that the value of a product is determined by the amount of labor time it takes to produce the product. In this case, if the owner was to sell the good for what it cost to make or produce it, then there would be no profit, implying that profit comes from the workers because they are being paid less then the value of the product and that the workers should receive the difference between there earnings and the actual price of the product to be sold. So Marx thought the workers were being under payed and that capitalism was exploitative in that more importance or emphasis was given by capitalists towards such things as machinery and other inputs rather then higher wages for the workers. Under capitalism, Marx believed that more people would become poor and unemployed as a result of the capitalists want for profit and taking up all the wealth. He thought that in the end, capitalism would not be able to balance and support itself, and that the workers would rise up and take power. In this case Marx is implying that in the end, capitalism would in effect destroy itself.

down    upBibliography:-

  • >Marx and Marxism=, by Ajit Jain and Alexander J. Matejko, Praeger Publishers, 1984.

  • >Marx versus Markets=, by Stanley Moore, Pennsylvania State University Press, 1993.

  • >Marxist-Leninist Organizational Theory=, by John P. Roche, Corporate Press Inc., 1984.






















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