Karl Marx, a prominent German philosopher, author, and economist in the 19th century, was a key contributor to the field of sociology through his explorations, research, and discoveries. As an author, some of his most important works include “The Communist Manifesto” and “Das Kapital”. These writings inspired generations of political leaders.
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Although, largely shunned and rejected by peers of his generation, Marx was able to successfully forge his own path in developing theories that helped explain the nature of human society’s development. The distinctive quality that separated Marx from other theorist was the fact that he placed so much emphasis on the economic structure and how it affected the rest of society from a materialistic point of view.
Marx directly shaped how we view the relationships between economics, politics, anthropology and sociology; hence Marxism. Marx brought forth a few ideas to the world, among them include how culture and class play meaningful parts in society. The fundamental concept of Karl Marx was the longstanding concern of social classes (broadly rich and poor – worker and owner) are in conflict. Marx’s theories about society argue that all society’s progress through the discussion of class struggle. He was disapproving of the current socio-economic model of society, capitalism, which he referred to it as the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, believing it to be operated by the wealthy middle and upper classes solely for their own benefit, and predicted that it would naturally result in internal tensions which would contribute to its self-destruction and replacement by a new system, socialism.
Additionally, Marx’s theories on economics include: labor theory value, surplus value, surplus product, and exploitation. In Marxian theory, production means the generation of value. Like this, economic development is the process of more value generating, labor generates value. However, high level of production is possible through further accumulation of capital and technological advancement. Ultimately, class conflicts climb. Labor conflicts start and there is class uprising. Sooner or later, there is a collapse of capitalism and rise of socialism.
Furthermore, Marx asserts that economic forces in society can be exploitive and destructive, instead of purely competitive and productive. As a notable contributor to conflict theory, Marx argued that culture served to defend inequality. The ruling class produce a culture that upholds their well-being, whilst repressing the interests of the proletariat. His renowned quote to this meaning is that “Religion is the opium of the people”. Marx believed that the “engine of history” was the clash amongst groups of people with diverging economic interests and thus the economy determined the cultural superstructure of values and ideologies.
It should be noted, that throughout his travels in Europe, Marx saw much of poverty and inequality plaguing human society. Within the laboring class,
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