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Posted on May 31st, 2012, by

Capital by Carl Marx is a fundamental sociological work, which became the basement for Marxism and Communism.

Marxism is a philosophy that was named for Karl Marx, it is also known as scientific socialism. Marxism has had a great influence on the development of the contemporary society, and modern communism is based on its main principles.

In his Capital Karl Marx proclaimed the Dictatorship of the Proletariat and Proletarian Internationalism. The philosophical method of Marxism is dialectical materialism, which is based on the Hegel’s theory of the dialectical idealism. Dialectical materialism presumes economic determinant to be the prima determinant in history. It is this method that concerns the history of society to be the “history of struggle”. “A specific class could rule only so long as it best represented the economically productive forces of society; when it became outmoded it would be destroyed and replaced” (Marx 234).

The notion class derives from the attitude of some social group to the means of production. Marx indicates several social classes: the proletariat, the bourgeoisie, the landlords, the farmers and the peasantry and others. The proletariat is ”˜those individuals who sell their labor power, and therefore add value to the products, and who, in the capitalist mode of production, do not own the means of production” (Marx, 145). The bourgeoisie presents the social class which owns the means of production and so it exploits the proletariat. The bourgeoisie class could be further divided into the wealthy bourgeoisie and the petit bourgeoisie. The second group could either employ workers or work themselves. They usually presented trade workers, small owners or land-holding peasants. Marx claimed that this class of bourgeoisie would soon become the proletariat. The landlords present an ancient class which used to be important earlier and now this class only remains us about its wealth and power. The peasantry and farmers are a disorganized class, which is unable to change something. Karl Marx predicted its disappearance. According to Marx the proletariat, which consists of the industrial workers, is the only true productive class, which can develop economy and so rule the country.

The main principles of Marx’ collective works are based on class consciousness, mode of production means of production, ideology, historical materialism, exploitation, political economy and some others. Class consciousness presumes the ability of a social class to act in its own rational interests. The means of production include the means of labor and the subject of labor. Means of production do not produce anything. They require labor power in order to produce something. These means include machines, tools, equipment, raw materials. Marxism is based on the assumption that workers can not handle the results of their work because capitalists possess all means of production.

Marx developed the concept of historical materialism though he never used this term. Historical materialism is based on the idea that the development changes of human society are caused by the changes of means to life. He put factors which influenced the society on the economic background and regarded them from the economical point of view. Marx used the term political economy in order to explain the conditions under which capitalist system has been developed. Political economy became a study of different ways used by humans in order to organize material, distribute the products of activity.

Marx defined exploitation as the main reason of social injustice. He defined exploitation of one class by another as a key feature of capitalism and free market. Capitalists gain their profit from the difference between the value of the product and actual wages that workers receive. In this way workers get less than their labor costs in reality and this makes it possible for the capitalist class to gain additional profit. This is the reason capitalists class becomes richer and working class becomes poorer. Workers produce goods and services but final result belongs to the owners of plants and factories. Labor of workers is not paid accordingly and this finally leads to the alienation of their work.

Marx defined alienation as a main result of capitalism. These ideas were suitable during the time when Marx created his philosophy. During that time workers really did not receive appropriate pay for their labor and exploitation of the working class by the class of capitalists was evident.

Capital by Marx is a complicated and fundamental economical and sociological work. Marx uses perfect logics and vivid examples in order to illustrate his thoughts and ideas. He uses different forms of persuasion, which appeal to wide audience. That is the reason his Capital became “the Bible” for communist and socialists. The book may be complicated for unprepared readers. Despite the narration is organized in logical order and the author uses strong arguments in order to support his thesis, complicated economic terms and notions make it sometimes difficult to follow.

Marx’s Capital became the very important sociological find and many researches, sociologists and economists used it for further study. This book became a kind of work, which united sociology and economy. Marx studied social structure of the society and used different economical factors as the factors, which influence this society. Marx implemented terms of added values, exploitation, collective work, class consciousness and many others. During the long period these terms became the part of sociological and economical science. All these terms are used in modern science and some correlations, discovered by Marx have greatly impacted not only the science of sociology, but also political science.

Marx’s Capital had perfectly reflected the spirit of the epoch when it had been written. The becoming of capitalism and implementation of new means of labor has changed not only economical, but also social structure of the world forever. Marx gave his view on the changes, which had occurred in the society. The situation has changed since than and nowadays we can not talk about the exploitation of working class in the countries of Western Europe and America. Workers in the United States of America get up to 80 per cent of the cost of their labor in contrast to the not developed countries where workers get only about 10 per cent of the cost of their labor. Economical structure represented in contemporary America can be classified as developed capitalism. Despite there is a distinction between rich and poor, at the same time there is not exploitation of the working class. It is evident that we can not talk about exploitation and alienation in the United States of America. Since these basic concepts of Marxism are not represented in the US it is evident that this teaching can not be used in this country. (Sowell, 1985) There is another problem, which appears while using Capital by Marx in the United States. Marxism and Socialism often appear as foreign and even hostile ideologies for American citizens. Long period of confrontation with the Soviet Union, where Marxism used to be a leading ideology caused a lot of misinterpretations of this teaching. The United States of America is country based on democratic traditions. Revolutionary struggle and struggle against slavery proved desire to follow democratic ideals. Marxism and Socialism as a dominant regime of utilitarian states, such the USSR, China, Cuba, made American citizens to associate it with dictatorship. That is one of the reasons Marx’s Capital is often treated with great caution in the democratic American society. A vivid example of utilitarism is empires which incarnated regimes of social injustice and governmental control over economy. All these empires used communism or collectivism, described in Capital by Marx, as their main ideologies. All there factors taken together give enough reasons to think that the teaching of Marxism can not be suitable for the United States of America. Economical reasons, such as free market and private property, which make the basement for American liberties guaranteed by the constitution, and ideological disparity of Marxism for the American society, give enough reasons to think that this teaching will not fit into American political and ideological system.

Despite great contribution to the study of economic factors as the driving forces of the society, Marx used one-side approach to the problem. Regarding capital as the main source of problems, exploitation and discrimination, Marx swept away all positive outcomes of capitalism. I believe that even hypothetical study of positive sides of capitalism could have added necessary information to the book. Presenting two opposing views would not only give book value but also help people to make their own conclusions based on the information provided by the author.

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