Marx's Critique Of Capitalism

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorUniversity, Bachelor's February 2008

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Introduction: Standing at the forefront of the sweeping changes that affected Europe as a result of the impending Industrial Revolution, Karl Marx, noted 19th century revolutionist, came to the conclusion that the economic system of his day was fraught with a clear and imminent danger. Marx, of course, was many other things. He was also an economist and a philosopher, and in his Communist Manifesto, worked with Friedrich Engels in an attempt to lay out his arguments. Unbeknownst to him, this text would help to create the greatest ideological schism of the 20th century. However, in his day, it served to warn of the dangers and inevitable decline of capitalism.

Summary Of Arguments: Karl Marx recognized in his time that capitalism was a transient, evolving and flowing process that was continuously changing(1). And he also was a believer of "economic determinism", which states that society derived anything social or political from the economic forces then at work.

To Marx, the crux of the economic forces at work was the "mode of production of material life(2)." Also, while capitalism was a great tool for productivity the likes the world had never seen, the problems with it could boil down to 5 somewhat sequential things: 1) The aforementioned "mode of production of material life" is constantly changing, and so over time evolves into a problem.

2) Unlike what Adam Smith wrote, the "invisible hand" could not guide the world into harmony in economic life, simply because the inherent problems lies in the conflict between certain two classes, specifically those who controlled the means of production, and those who did not. He called the former the "bourgeoisie", and the latter the "proletariat". Marx felt that capitalism would fail because history is littered with class struggles, and "invisible hand" or not, the death...