Karl Marx's Debate Against Capitalism

1269 Words6 Pages
Writings of Karl Marx had formed the theoretical basis for communism and the continual debate against capitalism. Marx understood capitalism to be a system in which the means of production are privately owned and profit is generated by the sale of the proletariat’s labour. He considered it to be an unfair exploitation of hard work with alienated social interactions and purpose. I agree with Marx that capitalism is indeed unfair and alienating, because it concentrates wealth within a small group of people by exploiting the surplus value of workers’ labour, and creates an alienated workforce. Hence, this essay will first discuss the relevance of Marx’s perception of capitalism as an alienating and unfair system for the contemporary world, before…show more content…
This alienation occurs in four ways: from man’s own labour, from his product, from his species-being and from others. Marx asserted that man is compelled to trade his labour for wage as a prerequisite for survival. As such, his labour becomes a commodity (Marx, 1844: 33) and is no longer created through human desire. Second, Marx perceived alienation from man’s product as an indication that capitalism deprives man of his desire to control his surroundings and the artefact of his labour; this in turn deprives him of his expression of humanity. Since man places his life in the object he creates, when the object is exploited and ownership is claimed by the capitalist, his ‘life’ has been disembodied from him. Such commodification of man’s labour and his product gives rise to the third form of alienation – from ‘species being’. Marx believed that the purposeful creation of objects through man’s desire is due to the ‘conscious life activity’ that is absent in animals. By manipulating the production process and confiscating man’s labour and its product, capitalism reduces man to an animalistic state of production. Lastly, Marx claimed that capitalism engenders competition and antagonism among man, diminishing interaction and collaboration. Although Marx’s work described an early industrial society, the following…show more content…
It provides capital for economic development and encourages global expansion by compressing the world into a single space (Robertson and Khondker, 1998). This in turn delivers political stability (Miller, 2001), and as is seen in China, improves living conditions and educational opportunity for more people (Chun, 2013). Competition often drives technological innovation, and online debates has pointed interest towards capitalism in providing the impetus for democratisation through the creation of a middle class that demands civil liberties (Bailey, 2007). Furthermore, where individual liberties are prioritised, individuals are able to develop hobbies and activities that allow them to travel, create and explore, which arguably fosters the control over one’s environment that Marx believed to be natural. Hence, capitalism could possibly reduce alienation, although this can be considered to ultimately be a form of false
Open Document