Marx Essay

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Marx Essay by Mind Map: Marx Essay

1. Social Class

1.1. Class by Marx is defined by its relationship to the means of production

1.2. Bourgeoise

1.2.1. Characterised by their ownership and control of the means of production and their workers

1.2.2. Control the dominant ideology – media, education, laws

1.2.3. They strive to make maximum profit and maintain their position above the working class

1.3. Proletariat

1.3.1. They are property-less and powerless

1.3.2. They choose to sell their labour power to whichever capitalist they want

1.3.3. They have their own organisations to further their self-interest, such as trade unions and political parties

1.4. Their relationship is an exploitative relationship as the working class are mistreated, bullied, hired and fired. This exploitation has increased historically and has become ‘naked, shameless, direct, brutal’ (M&E 1969)

1.5. Examples of this class conflict are events like strikes – when workers refuse to work, they withdraw their labour – and more small-scale actions – like workers taking a slightly longer break than is formally allowed.

1.6. ‘With capitalism, new classes, new conditions of oppression, new forms of struggle in place of the old ones.’ (Marx & Engels 1969)

1.7. Marx does consider other classes such as Aristocracy and the petite bourgeoise, however the main concern is the dominant classes in a mode of production which are the Bourgeoise and the Proletariat

2. Historical Materialism

2.1. Base vs. Superstructure

2.2. Mode of production of material life conditions the social, political, intellectual life process in general

2.3. Ancient = Patricians -> slaves

2.4. Feudal = Feudal lord -> serfs

2.5. Capitalism = Bourgeoisie -> Proletariat

2.6. History as stages -> a succession of modes of production

2.7. ‘Materialism, therefore, may be defined as a theoretical perspective which takes place the view that, before anything else, human beings must satisfy their everyday economic needs through their physical labour and practical productive activity.’ Morrison 1995

3. Ideology

3.1. Ideology is a set of beliefs and values portrayed by the dominant class that are held in a society.

3.2. An example of capitalist ideology is nationalism. A common sense of togetherness and a basic opposition to other nationalities. Gives a‘false consciousness’, that prevents workers from seeing that their common interests lie with workers in other countries

3.3. The culture of a society is a reflection of the economic base that is created by the bourgeoise.

3.4. Commodity fetishism is where the influence of ideology makes the consumer place power on a commodity which is more than its value use. Once the item has entered the system of buying and selling, it holds independent qualities that are deeply embedded into society. This ideology is used in capitalism in order for individuals to consume more products.

4. Capitalism

4.1. Capitalism is a system of social relations, for a society to be capitalistic, money and commodities had to be transformed into a system of social relations and this takes place when – the worker is separate to the means of production, ownership is private and a system of buying and selling occurs. (Morrison 1995)

4.2. Capitalism gives rise to class struggle and an uneven distribution of wealth. With inter capitalistic competition many crisis' can occur, this can cause sectors to be written off or workers losing their jobs.

4.3. Capitalism has become global through globalisation as a dominant economic system around the world

4.4. Positives of capitalism such as the advancement of travel, trade, technology. E.g. Dubai

4.5. Criticisms to capitalism

4.5.1. Communism doesn’t work

4.5.2. Capitalism is more durable than Marx thought

4.5.3. Were all middle class?

4.6. Ideology is used as ‘The dull compulsion of economic relations completes the subjection of the labourer to the capitalist. Direct force, outside economic conditions, is of course still used, but only exceptionally. In the ordinary run of things, the labourer can be left to the “natural laws of production,” i.e., to his dependence on capital, a dependence springing from, and guaranteed in perpetuity by, the conditions of production themselves. (Marx German Ideology)