CH 2. KARL MARX 1
SEPTEMBER 26, 2013
Sought the explanation for the nature of capitalism that spread across Europe in 18-19 century.
o Economic deficiencies and social injustice broke down capitalistic societies.
Basis of his theoretical system, historical materialism came from Georg W.F. Hegel’s philosophy
of social change.
o Marx had join the Young Hegelians (group of radical thinkers) while studying history and
philosophy in Berlin.
Blacklisted by the Berlin ministry of education for his radical views.
Henri de Saint-Simon (1760-1825)
o Ideas led to creation of Christian Socialism (movement aimed to organize modern
industrial society via social principles of Christianity).
o Counter capitalism – the ethic of brotherhood and cooperation, social justice.
Also studied the work of Adam Smith (1723-1790) and David Ricardo (1772-1823), political
o Their work was the first representation of systematic examination of government policy
and its relationship with nation’s economic growth.
CENTRAL ROLE IN POLITICAL ECONOMY
Associated with the League of the Just and Communist League.
Collaborated with Friedrich Engels and produced The Germany Ideology and The Communist
o The German Ideology (1845-1846), influenced by Hegel.
Detailed account of Marx’s theory of history.
History, a progressive, dialectic process that culminates in utopia of freedom
and self-realization. It is material existence (NOT CONSCIOUSNESS) that fuels
Ideas of the ruling class are the ruling ideas. Dominant economic class controls
means of production and also production of ideas (IE. Ideas of individual
equality) – Think of this as division of labour.
o The Communist Manifesto (1848), written by both Marx and Engels.
Downfall of the capitalist class and rise of the proletariat.
Due to the ‘epidemic of overproduction’ – overabundance of goods
Too much civilization, means of subsistence, industry, and commerce.
Productive/forces no longer further conditions of bourgeoisie property.
o Conditions too narrow to comprise wealth accumulated.
o To overcome crisis, enforced destruction of mass productive
forces, conquest of new markets, or exploiting old ones.
Communists identify and bring out common interests of all proletarians.
Represent the interest of the movement as a whole.
Goal – Formation of proletarians into class, overthrow bourgeoisie supremacy,
and the political power of the proletariat. CH 2. KARL MARX 2
SEPTEMBER 26, 2013
Distinguishing feature of communism is the abolition of bourgeoisie property
Represents the system of producing based on class antagonism.
Also, the abolition of bourgeois individuality, independence & freedom.
Freedom as in its condition of production (free trade, selling & buying).
Theoretical orientation – primarily rationalist and collective.
o Mostly reflected in class-based interests.
‘men make their own history…they do not make just as they please; they do not make it under
circumstances chosen by themselves, but under circumstances directly found, given and
transmitted from the past,’ -MARX
In reaction to the social/economic conditions of the Industrial Revolution, Marx created a
theoretical model that acted as an interpretation of the political/economic world
Wanted to change it and in doing so, he analyzed the economic classes.
o Classes as in groups of individuals who share common position in the means/forces of
Classes of modern society consist of …with income (wages, profit, and ground-rent)
o Wage labourers
Was the result of the Industrial Revolution in Britain (technological advances in transportation,
communication, and manufacturing commercial goods)
Birth of modern capitalism and rise of middle-class owners of capital – the bourgeoisie
o Modern bourgeoisie society established:
New conditions of oppression
New forms of struggle
Bourgeoisie simplified class antagonisms
Market grows as demand rises
Modern industry has established the world market (an European influence)
The Bourgeoisie constantly revolutionizes instruments of production and ended all feudal,
patriarchal, and idyllic relations.
o Created enormous cities through increased urban population.
Proletariat CH 2. KARL MARX 3
SEPTEMBER 26, 2013
Def. Wage earners who do not own property.
Make up the majority of the population.
Proletariat’s, the modern day working class; way of survival is to work.
o Commodity > exploitation of worker
The various stages of development
o Struggle with bourgeoisie
o Laborers riot (a small-scale attack on the bourgeoisie)
o The number and strength of proletarians grow
o Wage reduction spread, and workers create union.
o Expansion of union
Bourgeoisie gives proletarian to fight back (the backfire of capitalism)
o Proletarians are the lone class that can face the bourgeoisies.
o Must abandon old methods for a successful revolu