Marxism is a social, economic, and political doctrine developed by German philosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels in 1848 to describe the class struggle between capitalists and laborers. It analyzes in-depth causes and effects of capitalism and advocates for a social revolution to replace it with communism.
A capitalist economy focuses on accumulating capital while influencing the working class, productivity, and socioeconomic advancement. Marx criticized this system for plundering resources and instilling a feeling of hatred among laborers against business owners. Marxist class conflict and Marxian economics are the fundamentals of Marxism, explaining power imbalances, class struggle, and social transformation.
- Marxism is a social, economic, and political theory that examines the causes and effects of capitalism and promotes communism as an alternative.
- Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, two German philosophers, proposed this theory in 1848 to explain the class conflict between capitalists (Bourgeois) and laborers (Proletariat).
- This theory suggests that the growing struggles between the social classes will eventually culminate in a revolution led by the proletariat, overturning the bourgeois and seizing control of the economy.
- Marx argued that class conflicts might have considerably more societal consequences than the theory predicts. However, due to increased competition, consumption, demand and supply, and wages, the globe has witnessed a revolution in the industry.
How Does Marxism Theory Work?
Marxism theory works on the single objective of eliminating the social class order. Capitalism, according to Marx, leads to exploitation and alienation of workers, resulting in the class struggle. He also proposed that once capitalists lose their economic and political power, laborers will seize the means of production.
Marx argued for creating a society in which there is no distinction between people based on their social class or status, nor any discrimination of any kind. Instead, every citizen collaborates to achieve a common goal and prosperity.
Marx analyzed atrocities, sufferings, and agonies of the working class. As a result, he theorized that because capitalismCapitalismCapitalism is an economic system consisting of businesses, resources, capital goods, and labour. Private entities own it, and the income is derived by the level of production of these factors. Because of the private hands, these entities can be operated efficiently and maximize their production activity also. favors private business owners and the wealthy section of society, it will inevitably result in the working class becoming poorer and poorer. He, thus, proposed that a capitalistic society consists of two class types – the Bourgeois (private business owners) and Proletariat (laborers).
- Bourgeoisie – These are capitalists who own the majority of wealth and control means of production, such as facilities, equipment, materials, etc., and the proletariat. They are economically and politically powerful enough to influence legislation and property rights and thus exploit workers.
- Proletariat – These are laborers who convert raw materialsRaw MaterialsRaw materials refer to unfinished substances or unrefined natural resources used to manufacture finished goods. into marketable commodities. However, they have no control over the means of production. They also face exploitation in the form of fewer wages and unemployment during the recession, so they become revolutionary.
Marxism Theory Explained In Points
The Marxism theory is an excellent example of how economies work in which the bourgeoisie and the proletariat will always exist. It is well-known yet disputed because Marx believed the conflict between the two could have a far-reaching impact on society than the theory suggests.
Marx truly believed that one day the working class would bring a revolution and end capitalism. However, it is not the case with the modern world. The following are the main points of the theory:
- The bourgeoisie oppress the proletariat by paying them the lowest possible wages
- The proletariat rebel against the capitalist economy, which supports inequality
- It frees the working class from social and income inequalityIncome InequalityIncome Inequality is defined as an unequal distribution of income between the masses or a situation when a large proportion of total income is held by the small percentage of the population. It happens due to variation in sources of income, number of dependents, easier availability of resources, etc. with revolution
- Demolition of social status and profit-driven thinking by introducing equality in society
- It replaces capitalism with communism
Let us look at the following Marxism examples to understand the concept better:
Assume there are two persons, one from a business family and the other from the working class. While it seems impossible for them to be friends as they come from different social classes, a friendship between them would lead to conflicts.
A loss in business or of materialistic possessions may not bother the capitalist acquaintance, but it can derail the ambitions of a working-class individual. On the other hand, it could mean a matter of survival for the working-class friend.
The bourgeoisie friend will always look at matters through the capitalist philosophy. But the proletariat friend will always see things differently. It is where the Marxism ideology comes into play. Marx suggested that Marxism is not merely the relationship between the working class and capitalists but the never-ending conflict of thoughts, actions, struggles, and successes.
Contrary to what analysts believed that the Communist Party of China promotes a modern capitalist society, President Xi Jinping stressed embracing the Marxism philosophy. Currently, when income and consumption disparities are rising across the country, Xi emphasized the idea of adopting the theories of Marx as a “spiritual pursuit” and “way of life.” He also added that as the largest self-declared socialist nation, China experienced tremendous growth and success by sticking to socialism. It, thus, shows his belief that the philosophy of Marx is still relevant to modern China.
Marxism vs Communism vs Socialism vs Capitalism
This philosophy ardently supports communism and believes in a social and economic revolution ignited through the perpetual sufferings of the working class. Due to exploitation in the capitalist system, proletarians will overthrow capitalists and seize control of the economyEconomyAn economy comprises individuals, commercial entities, and the government involved in the production, distribution, exchange, and consumption of products and services in a society. and the means of production.
In this type of economic systemType Of Economic SystemThere are four prominent types of economic systems in the world based on their characteristics. It includes traditional economy, command economy, market economy and mixed economy. , the community owns and controls the means of production, such as factories, lands, and services. It, thus, eliminates private ownership and establishes a society in which there is no class division but equality. Its best example is when Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong took over the control of China in 1949. He formed a communist country and named it the People’s Republic of China. It is something that the Marxism ideology aims to achieve.
While it may sound similar to communism, the former differs from the latter in that all individuals in society own the means of production. So, the idea of public or collective ownership is the main characteristic of socialism. On the other hand, in communism, the state owns all the properties and services communally without any single owner. A socialist economy exists in many European countries like Denmark, Sweden, Iceland, etc. One can also find traces of the Marxism philosophy in this type of economy.
The capitalist economy is a system where private corporations dominatingly own and control means of production. They also have the freedom to determine supply and demandSupply And DemandSupply has a direct relationship with the price. Thus, if the price rises, the product's supply will also increase, and if the price falls, then supply will also decrease. In contrast, demand has an indirect relationship with price. Thus, if the price drops, demand will rise and vice-versa. to maximize profit. It also establishes a legal framework that safeguards the freedom to own and transfer private property.
Hong Kong, Switzerland, and Singapore are examples of a capitalist economy. These countries passionately work toward economic dynamism by opening the door of their markets to global business and restructuring their fiscal policiesFiscal PoliciesFiscal policy refers to government measures utilizing tax revenue and expenditure as a tool to attain economic objectives. . The Marxism ideology, originating from working-class conflicts and deteriorating relationships, stands against this arrangement.
The Marxism philosophy has received many criticisms for its anti-capitalist ideology. Marx feared capitalism would fail due to intense competition and low-quality output, or the working class would dissipate it once and for all. It would eventually result in the emergence of monopolies, a supply-demand imbalance, job losses, and depression. But it has not happened over the years.
On the contrary, the world has witnessed a revolution in industrialization due to increasing competition, consumption, demand and supply, and wages. However, one cannot deny that class antagonism has always been there and grown in intensity through time, alongside industrialization and technological innovation.
Another criticism of the Marxism theory is that many socialists and historians believe a proletarian revolution does not always bring social order.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Marxism believes in the social and economic revolution led by the working class due to the growing class conflict between capitalists (Bourgeois) and laborers (Proletariat). It, thus, eventually abolishes capitalism and replaces it with communism.
A Marxist firmly believes that the working class will overthrow capitalists and seize control over the means of production and economy one day. It happens because laborers feel exploited and enslaved by capitalists that sparks a revolt against private business owners.
Marxism advocates for a social and economic revolution sparked by the working class’ constant suffering in a capitalistic economy. On the other hand, in communism, the community owns and controls the means of production. As a result, it abolishes private ownership and establishes a society exhibiting common ownership and no class division but equality.
This has been a guide to Marxism and its Definition. Here we discuss how does Marxism theory work along with criticisms and examples. You can learn more from the following articles –