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Karl Marx

Karl Marx

Social context takes precedence over innate behavior (the concept of the individual is rational only in his/her relation to the community) Human communities transform nature This process of transformation is called "labor" and the capacity to transform nature "labor power" Labor is a social activity

Karl Marx

There is a distinction between the means of production and the relations of production

The Means of Production:


Land natural resources technology The social and technical relationships people enter into as they acquire and use the means of production This comprised not only relations among individuals, but between or among groups of people, or classes.

The Relations of Production:

Karl Marx

Together these comprise the mode of production Within any society, the mode of production changes This was the result of a process known as dialectical materialism Each historical periods mode of production (thesis) was challenged by a challenging set of social forces (antithesis)

Karl Marx

The basis of human society is how humans work on nature to produce the means of subsistence. There is a division of labor into social classes (relations of production) based on property ownership where some people live from the labor of others. The system of class division is dependent on the mode of production. Society moves from stage to stage when the dominant class is displaced by a new emerging class

Karl Marx

Quote from the Communist Manifesto: the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles Translated: History is the effect of material class struggle in society The universe is not a disconnected mix of things isolated from each other, but an integral whole, with the result that things are interdependent.

Karl Marx

Nature - the natural world or cosmos - is in a state of constant motion: "All nature, from the smallest thing to the biggest, from a grain of sand to the sun, from the protista to man, is in a constant state of coming into being and going out of being, in a constant flux, in a ceaseless state of movement and change." --Friedrich Engels Insignificant and imperceptible quantitative changes lead to fundamental, qualitative changes, occurring not gradually, but rapidly and abruptly, in the form of a leap from one state to another. A simple example from the physical world might be the heating of water: a one degree increase in temperature is a quantitive change, but at 100 degrees there is a qualitative change - water to steam.

Karl Marx

Hegel turned on his head: "My dialectic method," wrote Marx, "is not only different from the Hegelian, but is its direct opposite. To Hegel, the life-process of the human brain, i.e. the process of thinking, which, under the name of the Idea, he even transforms into an independent subject, is the demiurgos of the real world, and the real world is only the external, phenomenal form of the Idea. With me, on the contrary, the ideal is nothing else than the material world reflected by the human mind, and translated into forms of thought."

Karl Marx
It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but on the contrary, it is their social existence that determines their consciousness.

Karl marx

Marx believed that the basis of social order in every society is the mode of production of material goods What is produced, and how it is produced determine the differences in peoples wealth, power, and social status The mode of production also determines all expressions of civilization: Law, Philosophy, Art, Religion, etc.

Karl Marx

Superstructure (Law, Philosophy, Art, Religion

Base (Mode of Production)

Karl Marx

The History of humanity has been punctuated by several stages characterized by different modes of production: Primitive hunting and gathering societies which had no extra wealth and therefore no private property, social classes, class struggles, or even the need for government (thesis) Struggle for scarce resources between competing groups (anti-thesis) The establishment of empires (synthesis) Slave societies with a rich ruling class opposed by an oppressed underclass of slaves (thesis) The tension between native slave holders and non-native slaves (anti-thesis) The collapse of empires (synthesis) Feudal society with a noble class of landowning lords opposed by an oppressed class of serfs (thesis) The forces of urbanization and specialization of labor, development of checking, banking systems, paper moneyed systems (anti-thesis) The emergence of the merchant class, or bourgeoisie (synthesis) Capitalist society with a rich class of factory owners, or the bourgeoisie (thesis) Challenge by an oppressed class of factory workers, or the proletariat (antithesis) Socialist society run by the workers with no private property, and thus no social classes, or class conflicts (anti-thesis, and final stage)

Karl Marx

Marxs labor theory of value:


The value of an object is solely a result of the labor expended to produce it. The more labor, or labor time, that goes into an object, the more it is worth An example of how the labor theory of value works: A worker in a factory is given $30 worth of material, and after working 3 hours producing a good, and using $10 worth of fuel to run a machine, he creates a product which is sold for $100. According the Marx, the labor and only the labor of the worker increased the value of the natural materials to $100. The worker is thus justly entitled to a $60 payment, or $20 per hour.

Karl Marx

Marxs theory of the alienation of labor

If the worker is employed by a factory owner who pays him only $15 per hour, according to Marx the $5 per hour the factory owner receives constitutes theft. The factory owner has done nothing to earn the money and the $5 per hour he receives is "surplus value" representing exploitation of the worker. Even the tools which the factory owner provided were produced by other workers.

Karl Marx
According to the labor theory of value, all profits are the rightful earnings of the workers, and when they are kept from the workers by capitalists, workers are being robbed. On the basis of this theory, Marx called for the elimination of profits, for workers to seize factories and for the overthrow of the "tyranny" of capitalism. The factory, then, becomes the collective property of the workers.

Karl Marx

The implications of Marxs theory:

The class consciousness of the proletariat will be elevated in such a way to understand and challenge capitalist exploitation. They will seize the means of production and govern as the dominant class (the dictatorship of the proletariat) The state as a development of superstructure from the Capitalist Era, will pass away Material goods will be produced by the working class who will collectively own the means of production (this means the end of private property) and democratically make all managerial decisions There will be an abundance of material goods produced by workers that will be equitably distributed to everyone according to their need, irregardless of what they have produced