Marx focuses on the materialist conception of history and claims that the premise to develop class in the society is through the ownership of the means of production.
Karl Marx defines M-C-M as a set of rules guided by the capitalist mode of production (Levine 24). This leads to the distinction of the Bourgeois and the Proletarian classes. Karl’s grand theory is based on the understanding of capitalism as the defining factor in social stratification. He views capital as an ever-expanding construct where all returns are reinvested to further increase profit (Levine 41). From his capitalistic point of view, he concludes that capital is exploitative as it depends on the exploitation of labour to create profit. In addition, capitalism leads to his theory on social stratification which divides society into two; the bourgeoisie and the proletariat (Shepard 35). The latter are the workers and provide labour for the progress of capitalism; which is controlled by the bourgeoisie. Both classes are involved in the conflict existent, in all societies.
While Marx views capitalism as the defining factor in social stratification, Max Weber views individual action as the defining factor. Weber’s theory on social stratification elaborates how our actions in society are constrained. He explains how protestant ethic turns into an iron cage that constrains our actions to reflect those required by the law. He further explains the different aspects of rationality that are exhibited by different classes.