Marx v Weber

Essay by tunetown187University, Bachelor'sA+, May 2002

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I. Introduction

In comparing and contrasting theorists and their points of view, Marx and Weber are two classical sociologists who have distinct opinions on a myriad of issues. Their ideas and theories lay the groundwork for twentieth century life and while the concepts they convey differ, in very many ways there are similarities. For example, while Marx vehemently opposes capitalism, Weber sees it as an exceptional system. Weber sees capitalism as motivating whereas Marx views it as something that is quite the opposite. With his ideas on alienation, Marx embraces the notion that capitalism is not only less than ideal, but responsible for the divide among the populous.

Although capitalism is a large part of the discussion that come from Marx and Weber, the truth is that the theorists had a lot of ideas on society other than mere political models. They delved into things such as class conflict and leadership and the significance of history.

Each theorist, in his own right, had a great deal to say about how society is ordered and each provides reasons for why the world is as it exists.

II. The Theories of Karl Marx

To Marx, history had been defined as class conflict. He saw everything having to do with the separation of the bourgeoisie and the proletariat or the haves and the "have nots." He saw the divisiveness as wrong, and something that had been propelled by capitalism and not something that comes about naturally. In other words, it is the rise of capitalism that has created a situation where business owners make money but only pay workers a pittance. This sets up a situation where workers are not paid for the effort they put into their work. Rather, the business owners get all the profits and the workers are the ones...