Tuesday, 26 February, 2013
38. Marx and Communism
- German born
- Educated in Berlin
- Lived both in Paris & Brussels
- His notable work came from England
- Educated in Classics
- Wrote on history, politics, sociology and economics
- Died in poverty
1. The extent of Communism
Spread East Europe & North EastAsia
ACommon Objection: Often said no communist regime has been successful
2. Marx's political theory
Bourgeoisie: Those who have money and own the means of production.
Proletariat: Those who make up the working class.
Aristocracy: Those who are off hunting and playing polo.
“The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class
struggles. Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild
master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in
constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now
hidden, now open fight…”
c) society before the Industrial Revolution
- The economy was dominated by small businesses where the ‘owner’and the
‘worker’was usually one and the same person.
d) society after the Industrial Revolution
- With the industrial revolution, however, the focus shifted to large
- Much of the production was done with aid of machinery.
- The working conditions were miserable.
ii) move to cities
- The Industrial Revolution also triggered a change in population
- In order to find work, and get food, people left the country and flocked to
the cities in droves.
iii) ownership of the means of production by the bourgeoisie - Asmall number of people own most of the property. Everyone else is
forced to rent from these landowners.
- Asmall number of people own the factories and businesses that employ
iv) miserable conditions of life
- The bourgeoisie treat the proletariat as a commodity, and just like any
other commodity their value is only insofar as they increase the bottom
- As Kant would say: The workers are a means to an end, and not as an
ends in themselves.
- Labors have to work long days to make enough money to live.
v) alienation of labour
“The worker is related to the product of his labour as to an alien
- If one’s life is composed only of working or sleeping, a worker
lives only to create more goods.
- She is no longer a human herself, she is nothing more than a
- 1. It is external to the worker.Aworker is a person only during
her free time.
- 2. The work is forced, and is only a means to satisfy other needs.
- 3. The worker does not work for himself, but only for others.
vi) No escape: what is to be done?
- As it stands, there is no escape from this.
- Bc the bourgeoisie own the land and the means of production, they will
continue to get richer.
- They get richer at the expense of the proletariat who