Critically Examine The Marxist Critique Of Capitalism Geography Essay

Marx review of capitalist economy has been, and in certain respects, remains of import in the development of planetary economic systems. Marx ‘s theory stems from his position that capitalist economy is a fantastic invention, but amorally exploitatory. Therefore the Marxist review of capitalist economy purposes to warrant this point and supply an alternate signifier of economic and political system. Yet does Marx win in supplying an effectual review of capitalist economy? Or has the prostration of the Soviet Union and mass planetary capitalist economy conveying with it the terminal of official, public discourse about Marxism? Or has the recent fiscal recession rejuvenated the Marxist review of capitalist economy? These inquiries require replies in order to make a decision on whether the Marxist review is accurate and still applicable to capitalist economy.

Marx review of capitalist economy has non merely had an impact on the subject of doctrine and economic sciences, but besides an impact upon the globalised universe. Marx was a character influenced by the outstanding authors of his clip, most noteworthy Fredrich Hegel. Marx began his academic Hagiographas with a review of Hegel ‘s theory of the Spirit and continued to knock Hegel ‘s thought that the province is above civil society. In 1884 Marx began to use his doctrine to the analysis of economic life. Marx wrote in the Paris Manuscripts “Religion occurs merely in the kingdom of the consciousness, but economic system disaffection is that of existent life ; it transcendences hence screens both aspects” ( Hughes 2003: ) . Marx was critical of economic philosophies of his twenty-four hours, reasoning that they confused a peculiar historical state of affairs for the natural, cosmopolitan status of humanity. Marx argued that political economic expert theories failed as they “assumed the existent fact of capitalist production, instead than seeing it as one specific and historically specific signifier of production” ( Hughes 2003: ) . Marx thought of capitalist economy is a historically specific manner of production, in which capital is the agency of production. For Marx this production can non be defined by engineering, but in the manner production is owned or controlled, and by the societal relationships between each person characterised by the procedure of this production. This suggests that societal and historical development can be explained in agencies of economic and category factors. In the eyes of Marx economic factors are based on the thought of exchange, and that exchange in capitalist economy takes signifier in the exchange of belongings.

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Private belongings is an indispensable characteristic of capitalist economy. Marx critiques the capitalist impression that the impression of ‘Private Property ‘ is the rational system for Exchange. Marx stresses that “private belongings is merely maintained in capitalist societies by an luxuriant system of Torahs supported by the power of the state” ( Hughes 2003: ) . For free market capitalist such as Adam Smith it is the acquisition of private belongings that motivates people to bring forth wealth, but this acquisition will convey about the “breakdown of echt societal relationships” ( Hughes 2003: ) . Why does Marx believe this? The reply Marx gives is a logical one ; 1s individual ‘s ownership of an object denies its benefits to another making struggle and bring forthing ferocious competition over resources. Marx explains that in the instance when belongings is really the merchandise of another ‘s work, it becomes human disaffection. In such a scenario under capitalist economy, labor is efficaciously reduced to a mere trade good and work becomes depersonalised. In this position workers attempts enrich and empower those who oppress them, the capitalist, alienated from their merchandise and procedures of their labor and finally, from themselves as “creative and societal beings” ( Heywood 2007:56 ) . Marx believes that worlds are alone in that we have the capacity to command the environment and make wealth from it. Examples of homo ‘s attempts exemplify this point ; worlds have built houses alternatively of sheltering in caves, constructed dikes to bring forth hydro electricity. These are to call a few illustrations were worlds have changed the environment to profit general public assistance. Activity of work has a particular significance indispensable to human existences, yet under the conditions of anomic labor this is denied. The capitalist statement that private belongings motivates is rendered by Marx as merely a effect of anomic labor.

Alienated Labour is of import in understanding Marx review of capitalist economy, yet more cardinal to Marx review of capitalist economy is category battle. Marx views “the history of all hitherto bing society is the history of category struggles” ( Marx and Engels 1985:79 ) . In a capitalist society division arises from the being of private belongings. There is division between the middle class, the proprietors of the agencies of production, and the labor, “a category of laborers who live merely so long as they find work… these laborers, who must sell themselves little by little, are a commodity” ( Marx and Engels 1985:83 ) . In old and modern-day societies this division is apparent. Institutes such as universities reinforce these divisions, for illustration Oxbridge caters to those more ‘bourgeoisie ‘ and engineering schools cater to those ‘proletariat ‘ in society. The middle class is the governing category, non merely by economic power through the ownership of wealth, but by besides exerting political power. The middle class, since constitution of modern industry, has established sole political sway in signifier of a modern representative province. The province is “a commission for pull offing the common personal businesss of the whole bourgeoisie” ( Marx and Engels 1985:83 ) .

For Marx the relationship between the middle class and the labor is one of unreconcilable struggle, in that the labor is needfully and consistently exploited under capitalist economy. Marx believed that labor is the lone existent beginning of wealth. Capital itself ; “land mills, ports, railwaies, etc. ; represents merely stored labor, since it was, at some point, constructed by pay employees” ( hypertext transfer protocol: // — 1298-Marxs_Surplus_Value_Theory.aspx 24/03/2010 ) .Thus in hunt of net income the capitalist infusion this excess value by paying the workers less than the value of their labor. As a consequence instability defines capitalist economy, as the “proletariat can non be for good reconciled to development and oppression” ( Heywood 2007:56 ) .

Marx believed that the subjugation inbuilt into capitalist economy accordingly means that it will be its ain grave digger. Marx believed that a serious crisis of overrun will convey forth a proletarian revolution. The revolution against middle class goes through phases of development. First, category battle against the Bourgeoisie is non targeted against Bourgeois conditions of merchandise but against the person who exploits the single member of the Proletariat ; or it may take the signifier of onslaught on the agencies of production, for illustration nailing machinery. But with the development of industry the “proletariat non merely increases in figure ; it becomes concentrated in greater multitudes, its strength grows, and it feels that strength more” ( Marx and Engels 1985:89 ) .

This allows the labor to organize a category, an individuality, a corporate consciousness. The ever-expanding brotherhood of workers signifiers one character and this mobilizes into a national battle ; the labor against the middle class. Marx proclaimed that this proletarian revolution was inevitable, get downing with the ictus of the agencies of production, the absolutism of the labor in order to incorporate a counter-revolution and so the eventual peaceable passage to socialism. Marx argued that finally category hostility would melt and a to the full communist society would come into being and the proletarian province would shrivel off. A communist society would eliminate all private belongings ; all belongings would be owned in common by all. It would be a egalitarian society. Commodity production would be replaced by one of production for usage geared to the satisfaction of echt human demands. With this Marx argues, “The prehistoric culture of adult male would come to an terminal, leting human existences for the first clip to gain their full potential” ( Heywood 2007:57 ) .

Marx Hagiographas have developed major thoughts which have come to be regarded as the foundations of Marxist idea. Nonetheless Marx political and economic review on capitalist economy has come under examination from a assortment of faculty members. A job with Marx review is the acceptance of the labour theory of value. Marx refusal to accept anything other than the theory that worlds are the lone beginning that can add value to raw stuffs leads to complications. If merely worlds can add value so what of machine-controlled machines that produce value or at the minimal cooperate with worlds to make value. If we were non to diverge from Marx statement, it must be concluded that no value is added by such machines. Therefore machines that produce uranium enriched atomic power supplying electricity for 1000000s would hold added no value. To reason this would be unlogical as such machines do add value, as they benefit human well-being. Further, perpendicularly physical force and labor are of no usage if non directed. Amanda Bissell argues that “though it is true that labour is needed to build mills, but throwing a 100 directionless work forces into a batch with some steel girders, tools and their musculus – and with no program, no design, or leading – will non give anything that contributes meaningful to production” ( hypertext transfer protocol: // — 1298-Marxs_Surplus_Value_Theory.aspx 24/03/2010 ) . Capitalist provides such way.

Marx inability to understand private belongings as indispensible to human freedom further weakens his review of capitalist economy. Marx review of capitalist economy would put the ownership or the control of capital in the custodies of those whom hold political power. Marx solution to capitalist economy would therefore unite economic and political power, the two major beginnings of power. Louis Kelso ‘s in his Review of Karl Marx’sDas Kapital high spots that “If the mill proprietors of the 19th century, holding political influence but non limitless political power, were in a place to work the workers, the administrative officials of the 20th century in a socialized province, possessing both limitless economic and political through ownership of the instruments of production, are boundlessly better equipped to work workers and other non-bureaucrats” ( hypertext transfer protocol: // 24/03/2010 ) . The development of a socialized province is illustrated by the Soviet Union.

The crumbling of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the fleet prostration of the Soviet Union that followed was viewed as a planetary victory for free market capitalist economy. The rise of Neo-liberal economic policies in the 1970s changed the international economic, societal and political landscapes. Neo-liberal economic policies have earmarked the pecuniary brotherhood in Europe and the continued growing of Japan and the outgrowth of South Korea and Singapore as economic forces. Both these factors lead faculty members to mention that “Marxism is dead, that Marxism is no longer a feasible theory, or political relations for the present age” ( whither Marxism ) . Francis Fukuyama in his acclaimed ‘End of History ‘ argued that “Marxism failed in that it sought to advance in utmost signifier of societal equality at the disbursal of autonomy, by extinguishing natural inequalities through the wages non of endowment but of demand, and through the effort to get rid of division of labor” ( Fukuyam 1992:273 ) . For Fukuyama free market capitalist economy provides the perfect trade-off point between autonomy and equality.

Fukuyama statement is a compelling statement. Over the latter half of the 20th century capitalist economy has changed significantly from the capitalist economy that Marx critiqued in the 90th century. Marx in his review of capitalist economy makes no mention to the States ‘ economic, or its societal and political function. Trade brotherhoods emerged in the 20th century as an of import and recognized party in the pay deal. In the 90th century trade brotherhoods did hold non hold such an importance on the political and economic factors in the capitalist society. Similarly under capitalist systems cosmopolitan right to vote has been achieved, leting all influence on affairs of the economic system, even at some little degree. Universal right to vote has allowed for the rise of societal democratic parties across Europe, whose policies have sought to turn to the redistributive inequalities experienced in capitalist economy. Welfare systems, societal lodging and societal unemployment alleviation are to advert a few of the redistributive steps taken by socialist democratic parties.

Neo-Marxists express an alternate statement sing the prostration of Soviet Union and its effects on Marxism. The conditions for the proletarian revolution to happen and for communism to be established, were different from those economic and societal conditions of early 20th century Russia. Marx believed that the revolution would happen in an industrial state like Britain, a state with both national and planetary industry. Russia was non an industrialized state to this extent in the early 20th century, and hence a Marxian Communist society was ne’er established under the Soviet Union. Kellner points out, “Marxism has been traditionally a theory of category, one which defines the construct of category based on different power groupings. The fact that the Soviet Union collapsed can finally be traced to the corruptness and bureaucratisation of it governing category. It ne’er overcame the job of anomic labour” ( Magnus and Cullenberg 1995:4 ) . Zhang Longxi in a similar vena positions communism under the Soviet Union as dead, but Marxism as a theory is “very much alive” ( Magnus and Cullenberg 1995:5 ) .

After analyzing the Marxist review of capitalist economy it can be concluded that the review of capitalist economy was a review of 90th century capitalist economy, which can no longer use to modern-day capitalist economy. Capitalism for the most portion of the 20th century has evolved to run into the demands of popular demand. Class hostility is non the same as Marx described, there is no longer a ferocious category battle between the middle class and the labor, category de-alignment has taken clasp of Western capitalist societies. Neo liberalism has become dominant throughout the Earth. It is no longer merely Western Capitalist societies that have adapted the neo-liberal free market attack to economic sciences but besides developing states. Despite inequality still originating within free market capitalist economy, chance is besides created. Free trade allows for growing and increases a state ‘s prosperity. The recent planetary fiscal clang has propelled Marx ‘s review back to the head of political argument. Yet capitalist economy still prevails, but what occur from its weaknesss are new developments to rectify the weaknesss created by capitalist economy. Obama healthcare bundle in the United States, a traditional rigorous free market capitalist society, is apparent to this fact. Marx review of capitalist economy therefore underestimated the ability for capitalist economy to reconstitute itself.


Desai, M ‘Marx ‘s Political Economy ‘ , in T.Bottomore ( explosive detection systems ) ( 1981 ) Modern Interpretations of Marx, Oxford ; Basil Blackwell

Fukuyama, F ( 1992 ) The End of History and The Last Man, Harmondsworth ; Penguin

Heywood, A. ( 2007 ) Foundations in Politics, Basingstoke ; Palgrave Macmillan

Hughes, J. ( 2003 ) Understanding Classical Sociology, London ; Sage Publications

Maun, B, Cullenberg, S. ( 1995 ) Whither Marxism? Global Crises in International Perspective, London ; Routledge

Marx, K, Engels, F. ( 1985 ) The Communist Manifesto ; with an Introduction by A.J.P Taylor, London ; Penguin

Ryner, J. ( 2000 ) Capitalist Restructuring, Globalisation and the Third Way: Lessons from the Sweedish theoretical account, London ; Routledge

Web sites

Centre for Economic and Social Justice ( 2010 ) ‘Louis Kelso ‘s Critique of Karl Marx’sDas Kapital ‘ hypertext transfer protocol: //

Objectivist Centre ( 2010 ) ‘Marx Surplus Theory of Value ‘ hypertext transfer protocol: // — 1298-Marxs_Surplus_Value_Theory.aspx


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