A Roman citizen often owned slaves who worked his land growing wheat; a feudal lord would seize the surplus wheat grown by the serf on the lands; the early capitalist farmers began to employ landless labourers to do their manual work for a wage that was less than the total value f the product that they created. In each case, wheat is grown on land by the labour f men and women, but the social arrangements are totally different. There are totally different class relationships, leading to totally different forms f society: ancient, feudal, and capitalist. The one thing that unites these three arrangements is that in each case a minority class rules and takes the surplus away from the producers. Each society, says Marx, embodies class exploitation based on the relationships f production, or rather, the modes f production. The key to understanding a given society is to discover which is the dominant mode f production within it. The basic pattern f social and political relationships can then be known.
Since Marx concentrates his attention on the class structure f capita...
While Marx recognizes that there are other classes, the fundamental class division is between this pairing f the exploiter and the exploited. The bourgeoisie derive their class position from the fact that they own productive wealth. It is not their high income that makes them capitalists, but the fact that they own the means f production. For example, the inputs necessary for production - factories, machines, etc. The ability f workers to work (labour power) is in itself a marketable commodity bought for the least cost to be used at will by the capitalist. In addition, the capitalist owns the product and will always pocket the difference between the value f the labour and the value f the product - referred to by Marx as 'surplus value' - purely by virtue f his ownership. His property rights also allow the capitalist the control f the process f production and the labour he buys. The proletariat in contrast, owns no means f production. Because f this exploitation, Marx viewed the bourgeoisie and the proletariat as locked in deep and unavoidable conflict. The criminal justice system, in the words or Marx, is used against, rather than for the people. Under capitalism, the system f law and punishment is inherently unjust, designed not to control crime for the good f the society but to subjugate the population. For instance, imprisonment is imposed less as a direct punishment for convicted felons than as a way to siphon off surplus labour from the population. Since a long cycle f growth and depression is inherent in capitalism, there will be times when there are too many workers that the economy cannot absorb. These surplus workers are a threat to capitalists, since they could organize into a revolutionary movement. Therefore, the theory