Karl Marx And Weber's Contribution To Social Change In Modern Society

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Karl Marx and Max Weber each have disparate views about the factors that contribute to the change in modern societies. From Marx’s point of view, change occurs because of the rapid progression of human needs and the revolution of production by social groups in order to elevate their social status and increase their wealth. His materialistic notion is often known as ‘class conflict’. However, Weber strikes a discordant note as he attributed the social change to the ‘capitalist spirit’ that is inculcated into individuals.(Simon, p.3)

First of all, it is pivotal to distinguish how Marx and Weber defined “modern societies.” Marx elucidated class conflict as the stimulus for change and it was prevalent throughout the transition of production. “Every
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Marx emphasised on capitalism and class conflict while Weber accentuated rationalisation and bureaucracy. Although they both diagnosed several problems within modern society, Marx was generally optimistic about the future and believed his theory could enhance human conditions yet Weber was comparatively more despondent.

Weber argued that modern societies are tremendously characterised by rationalisation which means the world is governed by rationality in which tradition and emotion are gradually replaced by rationality. This leads to disenchantment being seen as secularisation. Weber was worried that this would eventually eradicate the intrinsic element to human existence which is humanity.

Marx, on the other hand, argued that modern societies are characterised by capitalism and people who owns the means of production. Marx identified four successive modes of production which are primitive communism, ancient society, feudalism and capitalism. All these production is profoundly influenced by class relations. For instance, people who own the means of production exploit the labour. Which in turn leads to class conflict and transition in production

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