The Nature of Marxism - Political and Economic Implications

Powerful Essays
All economic theories share common roots, they attempt to address the basic question of how an economy can, and should, be maintained. One of the most influential economic philosophies is Marxism. The fact that economic theories can share common roots is especially evident in Marxism; It even shares a basic premise of laissez-faire with capitalism, a philosophy it directly contradicts (Sowell 12). In studying Marxism, two basic necessities must be addressed; the nature of Marxism and its basis, and the political and economic implications of Marxism.

Curiously, Marxism was only partially originated by Karl Marx. A great deal of the philosophy behind and rationalization for Marxism- perhaps even the larger part of that thought- was from Marx's greatest contemporary, Friedrich Engels. Engels and Marx worked together to write The Communist Manifesto, and, after Marx's death, Engels became the surviving originator of Marxism; it was he who carried Marx's torch, and who published the latter of Marx's philosophies- though whether or not he was true to Marx's beliefs, and whether he altered them slightly according to his own, no one can be sure (18). Despite this, however, Marx's beliefs were relatively clearly expressed and published, beginning, in part, with the Manifesto.

"The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles" (Marx, The Communist Manifesto 9). In that statement, the opening sentence of the Manifesto, Marx clearly defines the basis of his theories. Marxist economics are based on Marxist philosophy, and Marxist philosophy is based entirely on that statement. Marx believed that society was constantly faced with an unending struggle between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat; the upper class of usurpers and extortionists, and the lower working class of downtrodden laborers (12). Thus, his forthcoming economic principles and philosophy would mirror that belief by maintaining, essentially, an abolition of private property (23). Marx maintained that, in his economic system, labor can "enrich" and "promote" the existence of the laborer, as opposed to a capitalist system, wherein such labor is required for the effectiveness of the society, but nonetheless looked down upon. Marx ardently defended his views concerning a lack of private property. He insisted that, though common society holds no such beliefs concernin...

... middle of paper ...

...ates it more clearly than the fact that a man who so clearly failed during his life has become a figurehead of enduring renown.

Works Cited

Marx, Karl. [1867] 1990a. Capital: A Critique of Political Economy, vol. 1, trans. Ben Fowkes. New York: Penguin Books

Marx, Karl. The Communist Manifesto. Harmondsworth Eng: Penguin Books, 1982.

McLellan, David. Karl Marx: Selected Writings. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1977

Sowell, Thomas. Marxism: Philosophy and Economics. New York: Quill, 1985

Wesson, Robert. Why Marxism? New York: Basic Books, 1976

Works Consulted

Farah, Mounir A. and Karls, Andrea B. World History, The Human Experience. New York:

Glencoe McGraw-Hill, 1997.

Ollman, Bertell. “Marxism, This Tale of Two Cities.” Science and Society. Spring 2003 Vol 67.



Schneck, Stephen. “Marx, Karl.” World Book Encyclopedia. 2003 ed.

Sowell, Thomas. Marxism Philosophy and Economics. New York: Quill William Morron, 1985.

Ten Planks of the Communist Manifesto. Feb 3, 2005.
Get Access