Marxist Ethics This essay explores the idea of whether or not there are 'ethics' in marxism

Essay by robertvanwinkleUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, February 2004

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Karl Marx and Frederick Engels wrote a lot of books. So many, in fact, that International Publishers offers a 50 volume collection of their complete works. Be this as it may, as a couple of philosophers they wrote very little on the subject of ethics. There is no direct explanation or definition of a "Marxist ethics", and the brief references to morals and ethics are limited. Many critics take this to mean that ethics in Marxism are non-existent. This could not be further from the truth. Ethics are the primal cause of the proletarian revolution, and serve as the guiding force in the realization of a communist society. They exist primarily in the form of a tool of oppression, used by the bourgeoisie to control and dominate the working classes. The proletariat in turn unite under their own common ethics, the opposition to oppression, and proceed to break their chains by overthrowing the capitalist regime.

Thus begins the founding of a new society where the guiding ethos is "from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs."(Brenkert, ch. 1). Marx's foundation for this new communist society was built upon the values of virtue and free development, and he believed that as long as these concepts were followed according to the materialist conception of history, mankind would succeed in overcoming the oppression forced by both the bourgeoisie and by nature. The ultimate goal is freedom, and if that isn't ethics, I don't know what is!

In pre-revolution capitalist society the bourgeoisie, as a minority, set the moral code of conduct for the proletariat, who exist as a majority. The purpose of a bourgeois ethics is the oppression of the working class, but its results are far reaching. One of the results of bourgeois ethics is its ability to...