Adam Smith and Karl Marx

1265 Words6 Pages
The task of political economy, Marx argued, was to understand all the presumptions within productive and social relations which made social life in a given form possible at a particular time.(Peterson,17). In some nations, as Hobbes states, the lives of the poor are "nasty,brutish and short", by contrast in other nations , the poor do better within same levels of wealth. The aim of political economy is to understand the processes that produce these differences. The two historical figures that analyzed capitalism were A.Smith and K.Marx. Their philosophy differ in the way each viewed the human conditions and the role of the individual. It could be argued that history has shown Smith to be right and Marx to be wrong but the fact is that each of these men understood capitalism on different terms although both had similar material aims.

The main difference between Marx's and Smith's thoughts is found in the values that each concerned. Smith suggested that the economic process can be forever unchangeable in its natural stage as individuals seek their own advantages.If people are left free they will try to improve the quality of their lives.This can be achieved in two ways : by individual effort or at someone else's expense. Most individuals will search for or make something that others will pay for rather than live at someone else's expense. On the other hand, Marx noticed a growing consciousness among the working class of society which he believed was formed by economic development and that would create a transformation of the whole social system: He asserts that "it is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence , but their social existence that determines their existence.At a certain stage of development , the material productive forces of society come into conflict with the existing relations of production...Then begins the era of social revolution ." (Marx,140) Marx is talking about consciousness and the development of the society.He believes that the wealth produced by the industrial system develops the introspective thought in all people, more importantly among working class.

The individual comes to a self-realization through creative labor and develops a self -identity through relations with other members of the society . He considers the potential for intellectual growth as a way to take society to a new level of equality.(Everli...

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...laborers since all must use effort to create their industry,thus final profit for themselves.He believes that all men are capitalists in a free economic society. Smith suggests that those who possess wealth have an interest in increasing it and such increase could never be motivated by giving society free exercise of all individual interests. He states " The sum of individual private fortunes makes up the wealth of the nation; there is no wealthy person who does not strive to become richer; let him do as he pleases; he will enrich the nation by enriching himself" (Sismondi,53) Each of these philosophers had valid points to make but they are focused on different targets. They in fact agree that the production of wealth in society is good but they would not agree on the conditions of the workers. If Smith possibily ask who stop the workers leave their profession and to join another,Marx response would be the social conditioning. That is among the valid answer for the failure of the communism.People need to believe that if they had made right choices ,or worked hard enough ,they would have gone to the top of society .But in communist plan there was no top to reach to motivate people.
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