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Karl Marx and His Crtique on Capitalism

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Karl Marx and his critique of capitalism

The definition of utopia is an ideally perfect place especially in its social, political, and moral aspects (dictionary.com). This paper will discuss the changes in capitalism since Marx’s critique in 1848. Marx’s fundamental critique remains correct today. Marx is still correct about his critique of capitalism because even though there have been changes made to capitalism to prevent some abuses, capitalism still produces inequality, reduces the family relationship, destroys small business, and enslaves.

In 1848 Karl Marx wrote the Communist Manifesto which was a formal statement of the communist party. “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles […] we find almost everywhere a complicated arrangement of society into various orders, a manifold graduation of social rank” (Cohen and Fermon, 448). Marx believed that throughout the past the great societies of the world have all experienced class struggle in all their internal conflict. Marx felt that the class struggle that exists in capitalism would become the main internal conflict surpassing all other struggles. Marx illustrated class distinctions in both ancient history and modern history. Marx explained, “In ancient Rome we have patricians, knights, plebeians, (and) slaves; in the middle ages, feudal lords, vassals, guild masters, journeymen, and apprentices” (Cohen and Fermon, 448). Marx makes this point to show that if a knight fought a slave then it was a class struggle, the oppressor vs. the oppressed.

Marx comments on the cycles between the oppressors and the oppressed because he felt that the capitalistic ways of oppression have been replaced with new forms of oppression, he stated:

The modern bourgeois society […] has established new classes, new conditions of oppression, new forms of struggle in the place of old ones. Our epoch has simplified the class antagonisms: Society as a whole is more and more splitting up into two great hostile camps, two great camps facing each other: Bourgeois and Proletariat (Cohen and Fermon, 448-449).

One can see an example of prejudice disappearing in a capitalist society through women in the modern workplace, which shows that prejudices are of less importance when it comes to making money for the bourgeoisie. Marx felt that the disappearance of certain prejudice through capitalism would be replaced with enslavement to the bourgeoisie and the machine. Marx said, “They are daily and hourly enslaved by the machine, by the over-looker, and above all by the individual bourgeois manufacturer himself” (Cohen and Fermon, 453). People are slaves to the machine and the bourgeoisie because they need to work more hours daily for lower wages because the jobs become more simplistic and automated. A modern example of this is people on an assembly in Detroit, where cars are made. Things are now to the point were you can learn a job in a week when in the past it would have taken years to learn the same job. Marx believes that to sustain market growth capitalism becomes more automated for the giants of industry. Due to this “machinery obliterates all distinctions of labour and nearly everywhere reduces wages” (Cohen and Fermon, 454). In capitalism people are enslaved for lower wages, as the work becomes less appealing. Marx believed, “As the repulsiveness of the work increases, the wage decreases” (Cohen and Fermon, 453).

Marx said that due to the global market and market growth “the place of the manufacture was taken up by the giants” (Cohen and Fermon, 448). Industry taken up by the giants meant that local companies would be lost to international conglomerates. For example, in New Orleans there was a local drugstore named K and B that had been there for more than seventy-five years, it was bought out by Rite Aid a national corporation because it could not compete with the prices Rite Aid was charging.

Marx also discussed free trade as a freedom replacing other freedoms one might enjoy in another form of government. He said, “In the place of the numberless indefeasible charted freedoms, [the elite] has set up that single, unconscionable freedom- free trade” (Cohen and Fermon, 450). Marx illustrates that for free trade we have to give up our right to receive a fair wage, our free time, and our emotional attachment to our family.

Marx believed that the family relationship while under capitalism has been reduced to a “mere money relationship”. I agree with Marx on this point because, in a capitalistic family structure financial support is emphasized, while emotional relationships are not. Children are either seen as support for the family if they work or a burden on the family if they do not. Through communism this problem would be reversed and emotional attachment would once

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