POLC73 – Week 7 – 23/10/2012
History of class association:
Era Mass-class Middle-class Elites
Pre-modern (pre-1600) Peasants N/A Feudal Lords
Early Modern (1600- Peasants become Middle classes Aristocrats
1850) workers (enclosure Liberalism Conservatism
Industrial (1850-1950) Proletariat Bourgeoisie Aristocrats
Socialism, Radicalism Liberalism Conservatism
Marx distinguishes himself from the Scottish enlightenment by proposing two dominant interests in
each era (not one single paradigm) – that of the lower and upper classes.
Marxism versus Utopian Socialism
- Robert Owen's post-industrial utopia wanted to create harmony between capital and labour.
- Marx was almost as strongly against utopian socialism as he was against capitalism.
Marx Bio (1818-1883)
- Born in Germany to a middle-class family.
- Studied law, but felt intellectually stifled (drank and wrote poetry)
- Went to Berlin to study philosophy (where he met Engels)
- Engels was a capitalist: but Marx's theories hold social change to structural/economic events,
not individual morality.
- First publication was a newspaper article on “wood theft” on the change of woodland from
common to private property (so people couldn't take wood for heat); and the destruction of the
craftsman and self-sufficiency (alienation).
“the law is hard on the man or woman
Who steals the goose from off the common
But lets the greater felon loose
Who steals the common from the goose”
- Exiled first to France, then from there to England.
- Public intellectual, journalist, and activist (organized Workers International)
- Lived quite impoverished.
- Early Marx concerned with philosophy, ideology, and alienation; later in developing his
Critique of Hegel
- Hegelian notion of the state:
- The state can reconcile the contradictions of civil society
- The state is a higher ideal that unifies and gives meaning
- Marx argues that the state reflects and intensifies (rather than resolves) conflict. The law
reflects the interests of the elites.
- Myth of the state mystifies this function. It hides the divergent views of the classes within the idea that we all belong to one state (patriotism).
Theory of Ideology
- “The ruling ideas of each age have ever been the ideas of its ruling class.” Either all share the
ideas of the ruling class, or the interests of the masses are subjected to the interests of the elites.
- Economic interests are key to developing the idea.
- “... the selfish misconception that