Karl Marx and Capitalism Essay

Karl Marx and Capitalism Essay

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Bertrand Russell once expressed that “advocates of capitalism are very apt to appeal to the sacred principles of liberty, which are embodied in one maxim: The fortunate must not be restrained in the exercise of tyranny over the unfortunate” (Russell). Even in a relatively capitalist society, there are always criticism regarding the capitalism and its disregard for “the unfortunate” and the tyranny the “fortunate” exert over. The foremost proponent of this antagonism would be Karl Marx, who claimed that capitalism is ultimately hurtling toward its downfall.
The basic premise of the capitalism that Marx denied was as thus: in the modern industrialisation inevitably creates a bipartisan system, in which the bourgeoisie, or those who are the owners of the means of production, will rule the common labourers, or the proletariats. As the bourgeoisie class is exclusive unto itself and it will only decrease in size and never expand, eventually the proletariat population will outnumber them. This follows the logic given by Rousseau’s social contract theory, in which he states that the balance between the ruling class and the ruled must be maintained. Bourgeoisie, in its attempt to extort the labourers and milk as much profit as possible, will eventually be dominated by the oppressed proletariats and be overthrown. This comes from his premise that material exchange in society only occurs because people entre production relations, in which a division of labour is produced. This leads to those who live the means of actual labour, and those who survive by owning the means of labour; the former is the proletariat, and the latter bourgeoisie. Because the bourgeoisie owns the means of labour and in essence, the proletarian livelihood, the class ...


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...rise without a fall. For David Ricardo (it should be noted that Marx discussed both Smith and Ricardo in Theories of Surplus Value), the rise was only halted by the natural stalemate. For John Stuart Mill, the society could give out the product as need be, regardless of socioeconomic rules. However, these would all rely on a third party referee that is neither the bourgeois or proletariat, and that, logic dictated, would be impossible. Only in the destruction of capitalism would the successor emerge.



Works Cited

Heilbroner, Robert L. The Worldly Philosophers: The Lives, Times, and Ideas of the Great Economic Thinkers. New York: Touchstone Publishing, 1999.
Marx, Karl. Das Kapital. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Modern Library, 1906.
Russell, Bertrand. "Freedom in Society." March 1926. Harper's Magazine. 6 August 2011 .

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