Marx's theory suggests that capitalism is a product of historical and material production that is organized around material survival. The capitalist system focuses primarily on the building of capital and profit, competition, and the function of private property. In turn, this system creates "the worker, whose sole source of livelihood is the sale of his labor power," and "the class of purchasers" or capitalist class (Marx 1978, 205). Also, by valuing capital the system augments competition among workers, forcing them to survive with minimal wages. The worker is forced to "sell [their labor] to another person in order to secure the necessary means of subsistence" and in fact survive (Marx 1978, 204).
The desire or need to obtain wages and participate in material consumption is a major function of capitalism. This human desire fuels the false consciousness the worker obtains in following the guidelines set by capitalists. False consciousness is essentially a product of capitalist economies, where capital--in this case human capital--has value, and dreams of improvement are tangible.
The value that a worker may bring to a job is considered human capital and is measured in education. Since we live in a post-industrial society, we are hired based on merits or education rather than time we can offer. The structure of false consciousness is still alive today, and is especially evident in the fact that a 'decent' job requires human capital at the collegiate level. The higher education system in the United States is a perfect contemporary example of various aspects of Marx's macro theory.
The idea that the American higher education system creates better social and economic opportunities for students is a manifestation of false consciousness established by the capitalist system. In modern American society it is assumed that by obtaining a B.A., success and possible transcendence of...