Marx's Class Theory

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Introduction

Karl Heinrich Marx (1818 to 1883) was one of the greatest geniuses to have graced human philosophy, economics, political science and other social sciences. So great has been his impact on the social sciences that Marxism as a way of thinking transcends the borders of discipline and thought. Born in an environment mired the ravages of 19th century capitalism and the rise of the industrial proletariat, Marx presented to us his version of class theory which, despite its many drawbacks, continue to mesmerize us, even today.

The class theory as propagated by Marx provides an alternative way of thinking and looking at things in almost every sphere of life. Here the class theory has obtained pivotal position in the sense that the Marxist
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It was a superb success in the subsequent decades. The European Welfare state was able to provide a combination of both capitalistic free market as well as socialist services such as insurance, state sponsored healthcare etc. This was something which Marx was unable to comprehend. By the mid 60s, many of the Marxist scholars reached the conclusion that classical Marxism would be inadequate to answer the challenges posed by the welfare state. They were matured enough to believe recognize that the situation had greatly changed from Marx’s days. So these scholars known as the neo Marxists like Nicos Poulantzas, Habermas and Althusser took charge. They made a paradigm shift in the sociological basis of their thought from conflict theory to what has been known as neo conflict theory. Neo conflict theory draws on the ideas of Marx and Engels but incorporates elements from other intellectual traditions such as psychoanalysis, Weberian sociology or anarchism. The main idea of the neo Marxists is to amend Marxism in the light of contemporary capitalism. They also try to view other intellectual traditions in an analytical way through a Marxist prism. The idea is basically to promote Marxist thought without the restrictions of the barriers of time, age and situations.

The real contribution of the neo Marxists is that they have shown that despite criticism, Marxism as a school of socio political thought
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However, many critics have pointed out to lot of lacunae and inadequacies which surround the theory.

Some of the criticisms of the Marxist Class theory are as follows:

1. Marx gives all importance to matter and ignores the role of human beings. Marx said that Men create history but not of their will! According to Marx, man is incapable of taking any decision on his own. This is wrong as human nature, being diverse, creative and unpredictable can taka a lot of decisions. It need not always succumb to the demands of the moment.

2. Economic factors are no doubt very important in the shaping of human history. However, it will be a hyperbole to say that economics is the sole factor which determines the direction of social change. It is quite unrealistic to club all such factors into the not so important “superstructure” community as done by Marx.

3. The Marxist theory recognizes the existence of only two classes. This is not
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