Karl Marx and Adam Smith wrote in the same time period – during the industrial revolution, where the bourgeois had risen to power by oppressing and exploiting the proletariat. The term bourgeois refers to the people in the class of modern capitalists, owners of the means of social production and employers of wage labor. The proletarians are the people in the class of modern wage laborers who, having no means of production of their own, are reduced to selling their labor power in order to live. While Smith, in his Wealth of Nations, wrote in favor of capitalism, Marx, in his Communist Manifesto, was a harsh critic of the system and declared its inevitable destruction and consequent rise of the working class.
According to Marx, history is a series of class struggles that rise and fall according to economic changes. Marx claimed that society has an economic base; economic changes force a consequent restructuring of society. For example, the thirteenth century in Europe saw the pinnacle and the decline of the feudal system. Instead of personal military services Vassals began giving money to their lords as payments. The lords preferred these money payments because it allowed them to hire professional fighters who were better trained and more disciplined than their vassals. Wars were being won by professional men-at-arms and archers. The original feudal system of honor and loyalty was diluted into a financial relationship where the subjects pledged allegiance to the lords only for the duration of employment. This new temporary relation between warrior and lord, known as "bastard feudalism," was the first step towards the division of labor as seen in the times of Adam Smith and Karl Marx. It marked th...
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...superiority amongst workers by having only one class in society. As Charles Darwin would argue, this idea goes against the rules of nature. Nature is a survival of the fittest. By ignoring this fact, Marx intends to retard the process of evolution. The stronger and smarter members of society will be better off and will have offspring who will carry these traits. Gradually, but naturally, society will increase in aptitude and ability. In response to Marx’s great disappointment with the capitalist society of his time, he constructed a society that was too extreme in its position. A complete uprooting of capitalist society does not seem feasible because of the advantages it offers many individuals. If Marx had proposed improvements of this society, he may have had more of a positive impact.
The Portable Karl Marx
Wealth of Nations
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