According to Rizter (2000), Marxism refers to a social and economic system, which is based on the political and economic theories of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. The theory purports that class struggles is central in analyzing social change, especially in the Western societies…
According to Rizter (2000), Marxism refers to a social and economic system, which is based on the political and economic theories of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. The theory purports that class struggles is central in analyzing social change, especially in the Western societies. The analysis of the seemingly complex but developing relations between social classes in society is at the center of this theory. Discussion Marxists have categorized the society into two main social classes; the capitalists (bourgeoisie) and the proletariat. Capitalists can be regarded as the owners of resources and means of production. The other social class, the proletariat, comprises of workers, who have to work for their own survival. Marxists argue that the proletariats, who comprise of the working class, do not own any property. The only thing they own is their labor, which they sell to the capitalists. Marxists also purport that the relations of people to production acts as the basis for defining class. History can be viewed to comprise of uprisings, class struggles and wars (Marx & Engels, 2009). In a capitalist society, workers receive a minimum pay, which they use to support their families. The worker seems alienated since he cannot control the products of his labor or the labor itself. Capitalists take advantage of workers because they sell the products at a value proportional to the labor used in production. In order to oppress the workers, capitalists do not pay extra wages or salary for extra number of hours worked. Marxists identified surplus value, which can be termed as the difference between the incomes earned by the workers and the price of the commodities produced (Mattick, 1983). Marxists argue that the proletariat continues to suffer in the hands of capitalists; this may be worsened by economic recessions. The recessions result from the working classes’ inability to purchase the products of their labor. To some extent, failure of the capitalists to consume all the surplus value may also contribute to economic recessions. Eventually, a socialist or proletariat revolution must be witnessed; this occurs because the state acts as a dictator to the proletariat. The ruling class uses force to maintain their rule of other classes in the society. This ensuing change from revolutions and socialism gives birth to communism, which advocates the distribution of resources in accordance to a person’s efforts. The workers can only survive by selling their labor to the capitalists; this precipitates the exploitation of the workers. The capitalist views the worker’s labor as a commodity, which can be sold or bought. The worker lacks control for the product since he cannot be termed as the owner of the product. All the profits realized from the products belong to the capitalist because he has already purchased the labor of the worker. As such, the worker cannot make any claims as to the ownership of the product (Mattick, 1983). Sowell (1985) asserts that, in Marxism, capital refers to the act of buying a commodity in order to sell at a higher profit than the price at which the commodity was bought. In the commodity exchange, a commodity may be exchanged for money, and the commodity is then exchanged for another commodity. Marxists differentiate between exchange value and use value of a commodity, which may be differentiated from other commodities in the market. Use value entails the physical properties of a commodity; this refers to the human needs fulfilled by product and the material uses of the products. In the exchange value, arguments are based on the fact that two commodities can be exchanged in the market since ...
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