HistoriographyPhilosophy of historyPeople's historyHistorical determinismand Historicism The discovery of the materialist conception of history, or rather, the consistent continuation and extension of materialism into the domain of social phenomenon, removed two chief defects of earlier historical theories. In the first place, they at best examined only the ideological motives of the historical activity of human beings, without grasping the objective laws governing the development of the system of social relations All constituent features of a society social classes, political pyramid, ideologies are assumed to stem from economic activity, an idea often portrayed with the metaphor of the base and superstructure. The base and superstructure metaphor describes the totality of social relations by which humans produce and re-produce their social existence.
I bought an apple for 5 cents, spent the evening polishing it, and sold it the next day for 10 cents. With this I bought two apples, spent the evening polishing them,and sold them for 2O.
And so it went until I amassed What does it all mean? Karl Marx sought the answers Marxist perspective these questions by trying to understand how our capitalist society works for whom it works better, for whom worsehow it arose out of feudalism and where it is likely to lead.
Some socialist ideas can be traced as far back as the Bible, but Marxism has its main intellectual origins in German philosophy, English political economy, and French utopian socialism. It is from the German philosopher, Hegel, that Marx learned a way of thinking about the world, in all its fluid complexity, that is called "dialectics.
From the French utopians, especially Charles Fourier and the Comte de Saint-Simon, Marx caught a glimpse of a happier future that lay beyond capitalism. Along with the paradox of an Industrial Revolution which produced as much poverty as it did wealth, these are the main ingredients that went into the formation of Marxism.
With dialectics, changes and interaction are brought into focus and emphasized by being viewed as essential parts of whatever institutions and processes are undergoing change and interaction. In this way, the system of capitalism, the wider context, is never lost sight of when studying any event within it, an election or an economic crisis for example; nor are its real past and future possibilities, the historical context, ever neglected when dealing with how something appears in the present.
The actual changes that occur in history are seen here as the outcome of opposing tendencies, or "contradictions", which evolve in the ordinary functioning of society.
How do the ways in which people earn their living affect their bodies, minds and daily lives? In the theory of alienation, Marx gives us his answer to this question. These are owned by the capitalists to whom the workers must sell their "labor power", or ability to do work, in return for a wage.
Someone else, the capitalist, also sets the conditions and speed of work and even decides if the worker is to be allowed to work or not, i. Through labor which alienates them from their activity, product and other people, workers gradually lose their ability to develop the finer qualities which belong to them as members of the human species.
The cutting of these relationships in half leaves on one side a seriously diminished individual physically weakened, mentally confused and mystified, isolated and virtually powerless. On the other side of this separation are the products and ties with other people, outside the control and lost to the understanding of the worker.
Unknowingly, the worker has constructed the necessary conditions for reproducing his own alienation. Smith and Ricardo used the labor theory of value to explain the Cost of commodities. For them, the value of any commodity is the result of the amount of labor time that went into its production.
Marx took this explanation more or less for granted. His labor theory of value, however, is primarily concerned with the more basic problem of why goods have prices of any kind.
Only in capitalism does the distribution of what is produced take place through the medium of markets and prices. In slave society, the slave owner takes by force what his slaves produce, returning to them only what he wishes. While in feudalism, the lord claims as a feudal right some part of what is produced by his serfs, with the serfs consuming the rest of their output directly.
In both societies, most of what is produced cannot be bought or sold, and therefore, does not have any price.
In accounting for the extraordinary fact that everything produced in capitalist society has a price, Marx emphasizes the separation of the worker from the means of production whereas slaves and serfs are tied to their means of production and the sale of his or her labor power that this separation makes necessary.
To survive, the workers, who lack all means to produce, must sell their labor power. In selling their labor power, they give up all claims to the products of their labor.
Hence, these products become available for exchange in the market, indeed are produced with this exchange in mind, while workers are able to consume only that portion of their products which they can buy back in the market with the wages they are paid for their labor power.
Rather than a particular price, value stands for the whole set of conditions which are necessary for a commodity to have any price at all. It is in this sense that Marx calls value a product of capitalism. The ideal price "exchange value" of a commodity and the ways in which it is meant to he used "use value" likewise exhibit in their different ways the distinctive relationships Marx uncovered between workers and their activities, products and other people in capitalist society.
Through alienation, the relations between workers has been reduced to the quantity of labor that goes into their respective products.
Only then can these products exchange for each other at a ratio which reflects these quantities. Surplus-value, the third aspect of value, is the difference between the amount of exchange and use value created by workers and the amount returned to them as wages. However, workers can make in, say, five hours products which are the equivalent of their wages.
In the remaining three or more hours an amount of wealth is produced which remains in the hands of the capitalist. Because of the competition among capitalists, workers are constantly being replaced by machinery, enabling and requiring capitalists to extract ever greater amounts of surplus value from the workers who remain.
Because only part of their product is returned to them as wages, the workers cannot buy a large portion of the consumables that they produce.Marxist sociology is the study of sociology from a Marxist perspective. Marxism itself can be recognized as both a political philosophy and a sociology, particularly so far as it attempts to remain scientific, systematic, and objective rather than purely normative and prescriptive.
The following draft document was discussed at the World Congress of the International Marxist Tendency in July The main aim of the document is to define the main economic, social and political trends in the world today and to develop a perspective for the class struggle in the next period.
_____ Marxist perspective on religion (Karl Marx) Also known as the social conflict approach, critique of capitalism. According to Marx, in a capitalist society, religion plays a critical role in maintaining an unequal society, in which certain groups of people have more resources and power than other groups of people.
The purpose of science is to discover the nature of reality concealed under surface appearance.
The purpose of science is to discover the nature of reality concealed under surface appearance. Based on this definition, Marx makes the above assertion - if things appeared exactly as they are, there would be no need for science to . Marxist sociology is the study of sociology from a Marxist perspective. Marxism itself can be recognized as both a political philosophy and a sociology, particularly so far as it attempts to remain scientific, systematic and objective . Marxist sociology is a way of practicing sociology that draws methodological and analytic insights from the work of Karl Marx. Research conducted and theory produced from the Marxist perspective focuses on the key issues that concerned Marx: the politics of economic class, relations between labor.
Based on this definition, Marx makes the above assertion - if things appeared exactly as they are, there would be no need for science to remove the veil of appearance. Marxist sociology is a way of practicing sociology that draws methodological and analytic insights from the work of Karl Marx.
Research conducted and theory produced from the Marxist perspective focuses on the key issues that concerned Marx: the politics of economic class, relations between labor. The purpose of science is to discover the nature of reality concealed under surface appearance.
Based on this definition, Marx makes the above assertion - if things appeared exactly as they are, there would be no need for science to .