Can Marxist Class analysis be applied to contemporary Western societies such as Britain?

Essay by rubytuesdayUniversity, Bachelor's May 2003

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Can Marxist Class analysis be applied to contemporary

Western societies such as Britain?

This essay will explore the Marxist perspective of class and answer questions as to it's relevance in today's societies. It will look into whether the assumtions made by Marx are outdated and show their relevance to today's modern society.

Firstly it is important to remember that there is no single Marxist perspective. Marx attached great importance to economic process. He thought that every social group must satisfy its material needs, for example, food, shelter and clothing, and it does this by harnessing natural resources, producing goods, developing new technologies and establishing a division of labour in the workplace. As people band together to perform these economic tasks, they enter into class relationships. Early hunter gatherer societies were an example of primitive communism because everyone chipped in and did multiple tasks. But social class started to develop as societies began to create specialised divisions of labour and the idea of private property was introduced

In all stratified societies, there are two major social groups, a ruling class and a subject class.

The power of the ruling class derives from its ownership and control of the means of production. An example of this in modern society is that of in Columbia 5% of the population owns 95% of the land. The ruling class exploits and oppresses the subject class. As a result, there is a basic conflict of interest between the two classes. The various institutions of society, such as the legal and political systems, are instruments of ruling class domination and serve to further its interests. Only when the means of production are communally owned will classes disappear, therefore this will bring an end to the exploitation and oppression of some by others. The Marxist perspective states that...