and nineteenth centuries respectively. Karl Marx was a revolutionary political philosopher and
believed that those with means would invariably use their power to exploit the working class beneath
them, and viewed communism and revolutions as an eventuality brought about by this rift between rich and poor. Adam Smith posited that individuals should own the means of production and reinvest said
capital for the betterment of society, a system that he believed would allow equal opportunity for gaining wealth. Both men had big ideas pertaining to what is known as classical economics (with Marx even drawing inspiration from Smith); but while Smith is one of the greatest optimists towards capitalism, Marx is perhaps the greatest critic. This makes the divergence in their political views and their opinions the role of both freedom and power in society wildly different.
Marx 's concept of economic power and Smith 's are different on a fundamental level. Marx believed that there was a limited amount of power in society, and this void of power is filled by one group or person at a time. He stated that in a capitalist society, the power is in the hands of the wealthy, who own the machines and businesses required to produce, while the working class is relegated to selling their labor for a pittance. Marx also argued that the competition inherent in a capitalist society leads the rich to take advantage of their workers by extracting an even greater amount of labor without the workers profiting in any way. In Marx 's mind the sheer amount of labor coupled with the repetitive nature of factory work also caused a disconnect in the worker he called alie...
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...hand”. For Marx, freedom in a laissez-faire economy was proportional to the amount of money the individual possessed. The worker has some freedoms but they are always limited by his/her class, and since the working class is burdened with tiresome work and alienation, achieving true freedom is impossible.
Both Smith and Marx made huge contributions to economics that are still studied and talked about to this day despite the foundational differences that create a huge divide in their ideologies. Smith had a static view of economics that was more focused on the economy and the components to its well-being, while Marx was more concerned with the changes in society as a result of free economies. As Dr. Konz said in his lecture, Smith saw economics as a static picture and Marx saw it more like a movie containing many dynamic changes and upheavals before reaching the end.
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