Karl Marx And Class From Essay


For instance, according to Fischman (1991), "This need is generated by the task to which Marx believes all human beings are drawn, but in which the working class, of all segments of society, is most frustrated: the realization of their human powers" (1991, p. 106). Many working-class people, though, may believe their "human powers" are being fully realized on a daily basis as they enjoy their hobbies and sports, socialize with their friends, pursue their gainful employment and otherwise provide for their families, but even the most affluent blue collar workers are essentially trapped in their class with no upward social mobility available in Marx's class-based view of modern society. In this regard, Fischman writes, "As its end product, too, alienated labor reproduces a class system and a mode of production which allows no room and provides no resources for the workers to develop in any direction that does not boost profit and productivity" (1991, p. 107) This observation suggests that there is no escape from this seemingly inevitable social outcome, and the working class is doomed to a life of alienation, frustration and poverty as a result. In this regard, Fischman notes that Marx believed that, "Workers feel the pull of this aspect of themselves as something tangible and they suffer from not being able to pursue it" (p. 106). According to Marx, the so-called "alienation of labor" consists of "work [that] is external to the worker, that it is not part of his nature; and that, consequently, he does not fulfill himself in his work, but denies himself, has a feeling of misery rather than well-being, does not develop freely his physical and mental energies but is physically exhausted and mentally debased" (quoted in Fischman, 1991 at p. 106).

Although it is reasonable to suggest that most people have felt mentally and physically exhausted after a hard day's work, Marx argues that even this well-earned sense of accomplishment is the result of exploitation by "the man" rather than any particular sense of individual work ethic or motivation to excel. For example, Fischman notes...


In his famous chapter of Capital on 'The Working Day,' he serves an indictment of capitalism for laying waste the lives of the workers with long hours and brutal conditions" (p. 106). Admittedly, the workplace of the 19th century was in fact notoriously brutal, and its excesses are well chronicled in Upton Sinclair's The Jungle and elsewhere. Nevertheless, history has shown time and again that people will abide just so much abuse before they rise up and slay their oppressors, but Marx argues that unless and until they do, the long-suffering proletariat will continue to be exploited by the bourgeoisie in predictable ways.

The research showed that in his Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx argued that all human history is "the history of class struggle" and the inevitable clash between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie would continue until more enlightened and equitable approaches to resource distribution were developed and deployed. The research also showed that Marx was highly influential on the economic development course taken by a number of countries during the 20th century with universally dismal results. In the final analysis, Marx may have been at least partially right concerning his conceptualizations of class, but the all-or-nothing qualities of his arguments about the restrictions of class have been shattered by the upward mobility of tens of millions of consumers in the developing nations of the world today.

Sources Used in Documents:


Fischman, D.K. (1991). Political discourse in exile: Karl Marx and the Jewish question.

Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press.

Jennings, G. (1999). Karl Marx. Melbourne Journal of Politics, 26(10), 161-162.

Manton, E.J. & English, D.E. (2008). Economic heritage: Adam Smith vs. Karl Marx. College Student Journal, 42(2), 375-377.

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