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Karl Marx was a German social scientist, economist and philosopher. He was born in 1818 in Prussia in a rich middle-class family. Marx studied in Berlin, Bonn and Jena. Later he lived in Paris, London and other European cities. He wrote for New York Tribune and other world newspapers. He was acquainted with Friedrich Engels, who was his lifetime collegue and friend. Marx wrote many works on social sciences and philosophy, the most outstanding of them being The Capital and The Communist Manifesto.
Karl Marx was a materialist; he applied his philosophy of society and politics to this trend. Most fundamentally, Marx viewed the family as the rock of all social institutions. This implies that division of labor commences in the family led by a patriarchal family chieftain. Marx observed that this gradually developed the seeds of slavery in the family. In a crude way, Marx views the family as virtually responsible for the development of private property. This implies that the family is the first form of property, which had been encoded in France, where a husband viewed a wife as private property (Dowd 188).
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Traditionally, Marx favored the formation of organizations of socialist women who would join other working classes. However, he realized that it would mirror the material interests of a particular social class, the ideology of which would retain relative autonomy. He maintained that a class conflict was the main driving force to the irreconcilable disparity between the interests of men and women (Dowd 215). Marx mainly centered on slavery as conditioned by a social class, brought about by the capitalist system that, apart from giving birth to slavery, has nurtured and sustained it. He views sexual oppression as one that only serves material interests of the aristocrats (ruling class).
Karl Marx Views on Capitalism
One of Marx’ most famous works is The Capital. According to Karl Marx, a capitalist society is characterized by a class struggle between the capitalists, who own the means of production, and the workers (laborers), who offer services. A conflict arises because laborers produce commodities for an employer. Marx criticized capitalism due to the adverse effects it had on society. He argued that a capitalist society was exploitative in nature and alienated people from the community. In terms of exploitation, Marx observed that capitalists showed little concern for the workers’ welfare. Capitalists exposed them to inhumane working conditions, such as working for many hours a day, and paid them meager wages at the expense of making profits (Meszaros 385).
Marx also criticized capitalism because it alienated the workers from their “own self,” from “others,” from the “act of producing,” and from the “product itself.” In the capitalist system, workers were used as machines or objects for producing commodities for capitalists. This deprived them of their right to live according to their will, thus affecting their relationship with other people in the society. According to Marx, capitalism did not “value” human beings by their very nature, but paid more prominence to the workers’ “output”(Meszaros 511). This deprived them of gaining satisfaction and achieving the self-worth of being human.
Why Karl Marx is so Representative
Due to the negative effects of capitalism, Karl Marx believed that only a revolution by the lower class would bring forth a communist society. Marx predicted that after the revolution would oust the capitalist system, the proletarians will rule in an egalitarian manner. This, according to him, would enhance class communism, where people would equally own the means of production (Meszaros 455).
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In addition, Marx advocated The Communist Manifesto, which called for the complete abolition of private property. It suggested that the bourgeois families should eventually vanish with the dawn of communism and disappearance of capitalism. His work foresaw the transformation of relations between men and women into an untainted private issue in which the society could never intervene. Children would be educated on a communal basis.
This would be the aftermath of the end of private property that created the form of dependence of children and women on the main characteristic of the traditional marriage. Marx also asserts that communism is in a position to abolish prostitution, which is the bourgeois type of communal women. Marx recognizes child labor and the exploitation of women, which necessitates the legislation. His works influenced the ideology of the Soviet Union and other socialist states for many decades. Ever since the crumbling of the Soviet Union, communism has increasingly been viewed as a crime. However, the ideals put forward by The Communist Manifesto are almost an accurate prediction of the 20th-century economy and turn of events (Dowd 215).
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Most importantly, The Communist Manifesto advocated by Marx carried a proclamation to all bourgeoisie that with the victory of the proletariat would ultimately decide the class conflict in leveling the playing field for everyone. This would be a solution to all social conflicts and any other problematic situations, implying the transition to a complete disregard for class struggle and private property.