Man as Laborer: Karl Marx

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In Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts and several notes excerpted from his other works, Karl Marx offers an interpretation of history based on the socioeconomic dichotomy between rich and poor. He classifies history as a record of the way a society organizes itself in order to satisfy the material needs (food, shelter, clothing etc.) of the people during any given point in time. Furthermore, Marx investigates the relationships among people caused by these material conditions, in order to better understand the effect a government. His theory asserts that the populace of a society stratified into social classes will experience a level of social estrangement that is dissimilar to our human nature, and the perceptible, concrete thing is considered to be datum of perception only; as a result of the exploitative manner in which the society produces its goods. Moreover, that this estrangement creates a divide among people, between those who manage and own the means of production, and those who sell their labor as means of production—facets of a capitalist government. The basis of this hierarchical society (for Marx) is the process of production, which relies on two key elements: the ‘forces of production’ and the ‘relations of production.’ The format of production in a society is what determines all other things in a society—the ‘superstructure’. That is, everything else in a society that does not directly pertain to modes of production (legal systems, family, education, etc.). Though, it remains that the superstructure also reflects the interests and ideology of a class society, thereby preserving the economic system of private ownership. This system favors the bourgeoisie society insofar as it exploits the proletariat by paying them... ... middle of paper ... ...lieves that people of his time are only talking about knowledge rather than looking at the praxis of human activity in terms of revolutionary, or practical, critical activity. He does not simply want to give an account of a capitalistic society and the flaws within its system that reflect capitalist greed; Marx’s wants to examine the terms and material conditions for capitalist modernity, in order to give a better understanding of the logic of capitalism, an idea of what the human essence is and what is required to classify capitalization as a problem. Alienation is a foundational assertion in Marx’s theory of Man’s progression towards self-actualisation, and a useful tool in explaining the effect that capitalism has on human experience. Works Cited Marx, Karl, and David McLellan. Karl Marx: selected writings. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. Print.
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