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38. Marx & Communism.docx

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Philosophy 1020
Cathy Thorpe

38. Marx and Communism 0. Biography - German born, educated in Bonn and Berlin - Went to Paris, Brussels and finally to England - 1849, after co-writing manifesto - Wrote on subjects of politics, sociology, history and economics - Lived and died in poverty yet in 1999 was voted greatest thinker of millennium 1. The extent of Communism A common Objection - Communism is a failed theory - No communist society has ever been successful Question? Have any of these societies actually fulfilled the criteria that Marx sets out? 2. Marx's political theory a) Three classes  Marx breaks society into 3 classes o Bourgeoisie (Those who have money and own the means of production: factories, farms, etc.) o Proletariat (Those who make up the working class) o Aristocracy (Those who are off hunting and playing polo)  Marx’s theory revolves around relationship between Bourgeoisie and Proletariat b) Class warfare “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles. Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guildmaster and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight…” (struggle of one class against another)  This is usually a struggle between those who have material goods and power and those who do not  Marx views “modern” society as a struggle between bourgeoisie and proletarian forces c) Society before the Industrial Revolution  The economy was dominated by small business where the “owner” and the “worker” was usually one and the same person  Example: shoemaker owns business and also has profession of being the shoemaker d) Society after the Industrial Revolution i) Factories much of production done with aid of machinery (this makes working conditions miserable) ii) Move to cities The Industrial Revolution also triggered a change in population demographics- to find work and food people left country and flocked to cities in droves iii) Ownership of the means of production by the bourgeoisie Small number of people (Bourgeoisie) owns most of the property, everyone else forced to rent from these landowners; small number of people own factories and businesses that employ the rest (ownership and worker function are separated) 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 line; As Kant would put it workers are treated only as a means to an end, and not as an ends in themselves Members of the proletariat are exploited by the bourgeoisie, in order to make enough money workers are forced to work long days, leaving them just enough “free time” to go home and sleep before heading back to work v) Alienation of labour “The worker is related to the product of his labour as to an alien object.”  Example: Pre-Industrial revolution shoe maker is invested in his product, proud of the shoe  After industrial revolution, someone’s job to roll cigars, flick a switch, always do the same thing you cease to have this relationship of pride with the product of your labour  If one’s life is composed only of working or sleeping, a worker lives only to create more goods (goods from which you are alienated)  No longer a human, nothing more than a product making automaton Problems with Labour:  Externla to the Worker, A worker is a person only during her free time  Work is forced, only a means of satisfying other needs  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  Since the bourgeoisie own the land and the means of production they will continue to get richer  They get r
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