Must Know Karl Marx Theories on Social Stratification

(Karl Marx)
Karl Marx was a German philosopher who focused much of his time conceptualizing his findings for economics and sociology. His work draws from liberal, humanistic, and democratic principles while rejecting the abstractness of Hegelian philosophy.

Marx believed that the capitalist society was going to destroy people's sense of being human because humans would do things for money (capital, wage) rather than for their own satisfaction. And throughout his life, he came up with many concepts on this topic. Here are the ones that everyone should know:

1) Alienation

Marx believed that human labour is a form of expressing your purpose in society. But since people now work for capitalist employers, and thus capitalism, people no longer have this sense because they are now working for money rather than their individual transformation and growth. This results in them alienating their true human nature.

However, the root of the problem lies within employers owning laborers' work time and means of production (the basis for alienation). Laborers have to sell their work time to employers in order to make a wage to survive, as they are also the consumers of the products they manufacture. If they do not work, they will not have any money to live off of.

2) Structures of Capitalistic Society

a) Commodities

We no longer make things of use value for ourselves and our neighbors. Instead, we make it in order to sell it, or for the capitalist employers to sell it.

b) Fetish Commodities

The things that we make are now just commodities, as it is built on the basis of Capitalism. And since they are only commodities, they lose all of their value or "mystical phenomena" because we no longer build them for our own needs. We build them for money. This goes the same for our labor -- the thing that Marx believed truly made us human -- because we sell to the capitalist for a wage, and don't use it purely for our own needs. This also applies to the self-employed because they too build their products for money and not for self-gratification or needs.

c) Capital, Capitalists, and Proletariats

Because capitalism has created a society that yearns for objects and has divided people into workers and capitalist employers, Marx believes that as a result, society has also divided into two groups. The groups are the capitalists and the proletariats.

The capitalists own the workers, own the production plants, and own the products.

The proletariat are the workers who sell their labour and do not own the means of production and product. Marx believes that this is bad for the workers because as time passes, the workers will lose their skills because the workers are using machines to build rather than their own two hands. And since they are also the consumers, they have to rely on the wages that they are paid to survive.

d) Exploitation

Laborers are exploited by the employers because, as consumers who rely on objects themselves, they have to accept the wage that the employer offers them. And if they do not accept it, the employers will pick someone new from their "reserve army" of laborers.

In addition, Marx also believed that the workers are being used because they will never be paid as much as what they produce. Whatever is extra, the employer will keep for them self.

e) Class Conflict

Marx believed that because of the conflict between laborers and employers, society is divided into two classes of people: the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. The bourgeoisie is the capitalist, and the proletariat is the working class.

Marx said that if the capitalist system remains, this division will continue to grow until societies end up with two polar classes of people. He also envisioned mega-stores taking over small businesses, machines taking over the jobs of people, and some capitalists losing their power because of monopolies and mergers.

If you can tell, Marx wasn't exactly a very big fan of the capitalistic system because he believed it created inequality among humans. In addition, he saw labor as a form of art, or an individual expression of the human, and not a commodity that is to be sold and used by capitalists. This, he felt, pushes humans away from being human.

Do you notice any of this is today's capitalistic nations? Share your thoughts below.

1 comment:

  1. No problem! Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.