The rise of the proletariats did not mean the rise of means of production within the capitalistic society, but the belief Marx had that the contradictions that existed between the bourgeois and the proletariat would favour the rise of the majority party and the downfall of the minority, bourgeois party (Haralambos and Holborn, 2008). He saw the two classes and how those (proletariats) who did more work received less because all they had to offer was the labour power and how the other bourgeois class gained all the monetary gain through this exploitation. Marx believed that tensions and conflicts would rise between capitalists causing the downfall of the system (Marsh, 1996). To him, polarization (working population splitting and being identified as two different groups: capitalists and labourers), homogenization (two polarized groups causing workers to be alike due to work and loss of traditional skills) and pauperization (wage workers are turned into paupers because their wages do not increase with the rise of profits even though workload increases) are inevitable and are the main tensions that will bring down capitalism (Marsh, 1996). According to Marx, the magnitude of the contradictions between the two social classes was increasing with the rise of capitalism.
Karl Marx and Max Weber both agreed that capitalism generates alienation in modern societies, but the cause for it were both different. For Marx it is due to economic inequality in where the capitalist thinks that the workers worth nothing more than a source of labour, that can be employed and dismissed at will. This causes the workers to be dehumanised by their jobs (in the past, routine factory work and in the present-day, managing demands on a computer), which leads to the workers finding slight satisfaction and feeling incapable of improving their situation. It was noted by Marx four methods on how capitalism alienates workers. The first, is alienation from the function of working.
Karl Marx talks about the role of communism and his conjecture of underlying this type of revolution. He speaks of two different class struggles, the "Bourgeoisie and Proletarians". Bourgeoisie are the people with authority, the ones who own production and are bosses of wage labor while the proletariat are the individuals with no authority, no ownership and are giving up their own power to the Bourgeoisie in order to survive. Societies began to separate and became hostile and aggressive classes. It all became about social ranking because of the increase and need of production.
Without private property, workers or laborers would not also exist. What does alienation means? Alienation is a condition of workers in a capitalist economy, resulting from a lack of identity with the products of their labor and a sense of being controlled or exploited or simply being estranged of oneself. According to Fall (2007), to be alienated from something is to lack wholehearted identification with it and instead to regard it as strange or alien and perhaps as an obstacle in one 's way or as menacing to oneself. Private property ownership arises and as it arises owners seek workers to grow and earn profit.
It is hard to imagine, but most of these people would rather work in substandard conditions for a couple cents per hour than to have no employment at all. We have a case of a Catch-22—consumerism traps them in a destitute life, anti-consumerism strips their only means of feeding their family. When weighing the pros and cons of each ideology, ethical consumption seems like the better option. However, is it the best option? Will there be detriments in the global society if consumerism was eradicated?
The distinction between the ruled and the ruling class was created. Humanity was lost and the ruling class became crueler and enjoyed the power. The rulers became dictators. People do not rebel against brutal dictators out offear -they are afraid of retribution if their rebellion fails, they do not know what atrocities the brutal dictator can do to them so they are afraid. Here the workers work even though their body hurts, they have pain they have to work because they are powerless “the powerful tend to believe they deserve the success they have had and that the powerless have bought their problems on themselves” (Holmes 44).
According to the Marxist theory, the war should have never happened because the conflict only exploited the class of the capitalist owners. In response to the failure of the Marxist theory to explain World War One, Lenin invented the imperialistic theory. German workers were able to fight French workers because they betrayed the ideal of the Communist revolution. They did it because they became corrupted by the capitalist owners. The rich people from the great European powers were able to pay their workers better, to offer them pensions, medical treatment or basic education because the major European states exploited the poor countries.
Haag fundamentally disagrees with the idea that acquiring a class consciousness will instinctively lead to a desire to overthrow the capitalist system, and solve all problems plaguing society. (Haag, 1987) An awareness of one’s class and associated interests, he argues, is no more decisive in political alignments than other categorizations. (Haag, 1987, 28) Opinions and interests may be swayed by a plethora of factors; in fact, the idea of class consciousness and acting in one’s class interest may simply be a self-fulfilling prophecy, and not an honest action by a worker. (Haag, 1987, 28) Haag continues on to question the existence of class consciousness at all. A common critique of Marxist theories in general is its complete disregard to any nuance created by factors such as race, gender, and religion.
As the bourgeoisie developed in society the proletariat did too. So, it is the proletarians who are expected to eventually destroy the bourgeoisie. Proletarians base their living off of the way they live. As long as they can find some kind of work and their labor increases capital. The proletarians live a different lifestyle and they can be vulnerable to everything going on in society and because of the new developments and divisions of labor, proletarians wage decreases.
During the Industrial Revolution, many managers of factories did not pay their workers decent wages as they did not see value or worth within them. They believed that they would lose profit by paying decent wages to workers, but Owen 's cotton mill contradicted this. He explained that human labour is just as important as machinery, even calling them living machinery in his speech. He began by discussing the concept about being "conscious of [the workers '] real value" (Owen, 320). Owen believed that workers should not be considered inferior to machinery, but rather they should be viewed as equal counterparts to one another.