Marx's Contribution to Democracy

Essay by [KTF]S.E.S.College, UndergraduateB, February 2003

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Karl Marx's contribution to politics has been plentiful. His theories, and insights into capitalism have reminded many that despite democratic principles, and ideals, societies can yet still produce, and promote great economic inequality among different classes. This fact is most evident among today's Western society where democracy has become a word intertwined with freedom, and equal opportunity, but where the politically, and economically powerful have used it to justify greater economic imbalance, and have put a stranglehold on ensuring that the system remains the same. But though Marx's theories have been able to deductively elucidate, and highlight this repetitive cycle of economic inequality in modern democratic theory, he has yet to provide an adequate/applicable account on how to solve this problem within a modern framework. Though logically formulated, the working class revolution is rare, and the profit-driven society has continued. Socialism is nowhere to be seen, and achieving communism remains that much more unthinkable to today's Western world.

Still, few doubt Marxism's legitimacy as a theory within politics, but its applicability to the 'western tradition' of democratic theory remains questionable. Yes, inequalities will arise between classes as governments/societies strive toward privatization, but the working class won't revolt, and the proletarian dictatorship will not emerge.

Marx's concept of historical materialism is arguably one of his most accepted, and applied theories today. It states that within any given society, it will be the economic aspect which will be the most fundamental, and that the social, cultural, and political sectors of a society will be driven by the economic relations within it. (Chang, 1965, 18) It wasn't so much the economy Marx was interested in, but rather the actual production process within the economy itself in which he believed to be the most fundamental of all social relationships. The foundation of society would...