Karl Marx set the wheels of modern Communism and Socialism in motion with his writings in the late nineteenth century. In collaboration with his friend, Heinrich Engels, he produced the The Communist Manifesto, written in 1848. Many failed countries’ political and socio-economic structures have been based on Marx’s theories, for example the USSR, East Germany etc. Many people believe that Marxism is not applicable to today’s society, as Karl Marx put forward his ideas not anticipating the type of society we have today.The elfare state system has effectively nullified Marx’s arguments, and made them irrelevant. Karl Marx, born on May 5, 1818, died on March 14, 1883, was a German economist, philosopher and revolutionist whose writings form the basis of the body of ideas known as Marxism.
In his youth he was deeply affected by the philosophy of G. W. F.
Hegel, and joined a rebel group called the Young Hegelians, which contributed ideas towards the movement against organized religion and the Prussian Autocracy.Later on in life, he was influenced by the writings of Ludwig Feuerbach, who wrote that God was invented by humans as a projection of their own ideals, and that in creating such a ‘perfect’ being, in contrast to themselves, mankind lowered themselves to lowly, evil creatures who needed guidance from the church and government. He said that, in creating God in their own image, humans had ‘alienated themselves from themselves.Karl Marx applied this alienation theory to private property, which he said caused humans to work only for themselves, not for the good of their species. The idea is further explained in the following sentences. The people who do the work in a capitalistic society own none of the means of production, (ie.
machines, raw produce etc. ) that they use in their work. These are owned by the capitalists, to whom the workers must sell their ‘labour power’, or ability to do work, in return for a wage.The capitalists, owning the factories, automatically have ownership rights to everything produced by it, and can do with it what the will. Because of this, the worker is alienated from the product of their labours, having no control over what is made, or what becomes of it.
Karl Marx was very concerned with the class system in Prussia. He was an avid campaigner against a system where one group of people flourish at the expense of another class, in this case the working.He believed that all things should be equal, and that sharing should abound, with no-one person owning everything, all belonging to the state. Marx believed that once most workers recognized their interests and became ‘class conscious’, the overthrow of capitalism would proceed as quickly and democratically as the nature of the capitalist opposition allowed. The socialist society that would emerge out of the revolution would develop the full productive potential inherited from capitalism through democratic planning on behalf of social needs.
The final goal, towards which socialist society would constantly build, is the human one of abolishing alienation. Marx called the attainment of this goal Communism. Marxism in its various forms has affected the world greatly throughout time. Both world wars have involved communist countries to a great extent. Communism has gone wrong in many countries, with the state turning into an uthoritarian one, with a few people at the top abusing their power for their own personal gain, at the expense of the other members of the public.In conclusion, I believe that Marx’s theories would be beneficial up to a point. I agree that there should be no class distinctions, and that everyone should have a fair go to succeed in life.
Sharing should be greater, as capitalism has risen to knew heights of greed and power lust. A communist state, however, would never work, as it is in the human nature to compete against one another, which rules out any social equality one could gain by abolishing personal property.