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Is Marxism Relevant to the Modern World? Critically discuss with reference to the topics/concepts covered in the module such as, the State, Private Property and the Appropriation of Wealth, also Capital and Labour

the essay should encompass a number of aspects of contemporary Marxist thought and demonstrate independent engagement with the wider literature.
the essay should be well paraphrased no plagiarism and should answer the question

Historical Origin of Marxism

“Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guildmaster and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, that each time ended, either in the revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.”

The above quoted lines from “The Communist Manifesto” of Karl Marx give an overview of the entire concept of Marxism in a nutshell. The machinery of politics is a very traditional and has been practiced by the various individuals since the dawn of civilization (Bowles and Gintis 2012). As a matter of fact the machineries of politics is often considered to be one of the oldest professions of the world (Bowles and Gintis 2012). However, in the recent times it is seen that the machinery of politics has undergone much transformation on the score of the various factors (Pashukanis 2017). Gone are the days when the various individuals use to rule the various states or the nations as the kings or the sovereigns of that particular place (Pashukanis 2017). Rather now is time when the various nations of the world follow the various precepts of democracy (Peffer 2014). However, along with the various precepts of democracy, Marxism is another concept which has gained a significant amount of prominence in the recent times (Bowles and Gintis 2012). This essay will shed on the concept of Marxism and will also try to find out whether Marxism is relevant in the present day world or not.

Marxism has been described by the various scholars as the “method of socioeconomic analysis that frames capitalism through a paradigm of exploitation, analyzes class relations and social conflict using a materialist interpretation of historical development and takes a dialectical view of social transformation” (Peffer 2014). This particular concept had its origin in the 19th century with the works of the “philosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels” (Kamenka 2015).  In the opinion of Kamenka (2015), “Marxism uses a methodology, now known as historical materialism, to analyze and critique the development of capitalism and the role of class struggles in systemic economic change”. Furthermore, the most basic assumption of the theory of Marxism is that class conflict arises in the Capitalist society because of the contradictions in the material interests of the oppressed sections of the society and the bourgeoisie or the ruling class (Lichtheim 2015). It is significant to note that the in the Capitalist society the bourgeoisie are the individuals who holds the maximum amount of wealth as well as power and thus it is often seen that there is a discrepancy between the people who are oppressed by the bourgeoisie class in a bid to make surplus profit and the people who are the ruling class (Lichtheim 2015). In the opinion of Bowles and Gintis (2012) this class struggle forms the most basic element of the various Capitalist societies of the world and is commonly called by the name of “revolt of a society's productive forces against its relations of production”. In the opinion of Marx this particular class struggle is important as it is likely to lead the oppressed or the proletariat to a revolution which in turn will establish Socialism (Hay 1999). He defined socialism as a socioeconomic system which is based on social ownership of the various means of production or the distribution based on one's contribution and production organized directly for use and in his opinion all the societies of the world should seek for the attainment of this particular kind of society (Bowles and Gintis 2012). In the opinion of Hay (1999), Marx gives a very Utopian description of a Socialist society is very difficult to achieve in the real life scenarios.

The Most Basic Assumptions of the Theory of Marxism

According to “Mark’s theory of the State”, there are three kinds of states, namely, the pre-Capitalist State, the Capitalist State and the post-Capitalist state (Marx et al. 2012). However, it is significant to note that this particular theory was propounded by Marx when he was young and as he grew older and matured, his views related to the state also changed (Houtman 2017). It is a reflection of this in the 1843 identifying the state and the civil societies as separate and says in his “Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right” that “The political state everywhere needs the guarantee of spheres lying outside it” (Marx et al. 2012). In the opinion of Houtman (2017), the Marxist theory not only challenges the various precepts of the modern day world and it also uses the various machineries of the modern day world for the purposes of the fulfillment of the needs of only a selected few individuals of the society. Therefore, it can be said that the concept of state is just a construct or a façade to enslave the various individuals who are a part of it for the realization of its objectives (Houtman 2017). Furthermore, it is interesting to note although Marx articulates the need for the dissemination of the construct of the state yet nowhere in the entire cannon of his theories does he articulate the way or the means by which this particular thing is to be achieved  (Gordon 2017).  Moreover, referring to “Marx’s theory of the state” Hal Draper further emphasizing the views of Marx about the concept of state says in his “Karl Marx’s Theory of Revolution” that the state can be defined as the institution or for that matter as a complex of institutions which bases itself on the suppression of the voices as well as the rights of the people of the state and works for the fulfillment of the needs of only a selected few individuals of the society or the state (Gordon 2017). Therefore, it would be apt to say that in the opinion of Marx the state is a coercive construct which just feeds on the diverse entities that belongs to it for its fulfillment (Gordon 2017). Thus, if the present day scenario is taken into consideration it would be seen that the scenario has not changed much and the state holds the same coercive power over its individual entities.

John Locke’s “Two Treatises on Government” originally begins with the presupposition that the human beings by dint of their birth have equal rights to all the properties as well as the natural resources of the earth and with this particular objective the concept of the private ownership of the properties is repudiated by Locke (Barker 2013). However, he does take into consideration the factor of the individual labor for the attainment of that particular property. In the opinion of Barker (2013) the views of Marx regarding individual property as well as the accumulation of wealth is directly influenced by the treatise of Locke (Barker 2013). Therefore it is seen that the theories of Marx as well as the socialism openly repudiate the concept of individual property and the accumulation of wealth. As per the various precepts of the theories related to Marxism, the wealth as well as the individual properties owned by the bourgeoisie is accumulated by the bourgeoisie section of the society by dint of the exploitation of the labor of the oppressed as well as the underprivileged sections of the society (Barker 2013). Therefore, in his opinion the wealth which the bourgeoisie class of the society posses is the result of the hard labor of the proletariat who in spite of working for long hours and putting in all the hard work barely get anything and the bourgeoisie class on the other hand goes on accumulating wealth by their exploitation of the poorer sections of the society (Marx et al. 2012). Therefore, Marx is of the opinion that the bourgeoisie can be seen as the modern capitalists of the society who own not only the social means of production but also the majority part of the workers of the state (Marx et al. 2012). It is interesting to note that Hegel views private property as a necessary process for the self-consciousness of the free will of the individuals, whereas Marx sees the same concept as the as an impediment for the oppression of the majority of the people of the society (Marx et al. 2012). Even in “The Communist Manifesto” Marx states that the major aim of the concept of Marxism is the overthrow of the various machineries of the state which are often viewed as the organs of oppression (Marx et al. 2012). Therefore, it would be apt to say that the concept of private property as well as the accumulation of wealth has been repudiated by the various theories of Marx himself and the other related theories of Marxism.

Marx's Theory of the State

In the opinion of Marx articulated in his famous work “Wage Labour and Capital”, The exercise of the concept of labor should be for the purpose of earning the wages which will enable the workers to maintain not only themselves but also their family members.  (Marx et al. 2012). Thus, in a way it can be said that the concept of labor can be seen as a commodity which is required not only for the effective performance of the various busness organizations related to the state but also for the maintenance of the workers who form an important part of the state. Therefore, it can be said in the opinion of Marx there is a direct correlation between the concepts of capital as well as labor. However, in the society in which he was brought up or the present day societies it is generally seen that there is a no proportional relationship between the two (Bowles and Gintis 2012). In the opinion of Marx, the bourgeoisie section of the society not only derives their wealth but also the source of their which they exercise over the oppressed sections of the society by means of the coercive activities and the deprivation of the wage rights of the workers (Bowles and Gintis 2012). It is generally seen that the workers are provided the kind of salary or wage which in most cases is not even enough to meet the bare requirements of the person concerned. Therefore, Marx recognizing that the times are changing and it is essential for the workers to sell their labor to the capitalist class says that the worker is free is sell his or her labor to any of the capitalist he or she wishes and at the same time the capitalist is also at liberty to dispense with the labor of the worker when he or she wishes to. Thus, it can be said that in the theory of Marx the concept of labor has been described as if it were some kind of commodity or measurable thing. Furthermore, he says that, the workers form one of the most important part of the framework of the society and therefore the various should not be depending on the various capitalist individuals rather they are an important fulcrum of the capitalist mechanism through which the capitalists derive their subsistence (Marx et al. 2012). Therefore, it can be said that in the various theories of Marx and the other Marxists the concepts of labor and capital are correlated and one term can be defined in term of the other one.

Marx's Views on Individual Property and Accumulation of Wealth

The various theories related to the concept of Marxism viewed through the lens of the present day scenarios as well as developments would seem totally out of place. The Marxists theories would not have been able to deal with the problem of unemployment which the world is suffering from in the present times. Furthermore, the technological advancements of the present times like the rise of the various kinds of Artificial Intelligences and others have made the concept of Marxism totally out of place in the present day context.  

To conclude, the political environment of the world has undergone much transformation in the present times. This might be seen as a reflection of the changing status quo of the world and also the requirements of the people. Therefore, the theories as well as the views which were held to be normal a few decades ago have now become completely obsolete. A typical example of this is the concept of Marxism and the various theories propounded by Karl Marx himself and the other Marxists who came after him. It is significant to note that the various precepts of Marxism have undergone much transformation in the recent times and as a matter of fact of some of the theories as well as views articulated by Marx himself has become obsolete in the present times. Therefore, it would be fair to say that although some of the most basic precepts of the various theories of Marxism are practiced in the majority of the nations of the world yet they have become obsolete in most of the countries of the world and are seldom used in their original context in the present times.

References

Barker, C., 2013. Marxism and social movements. Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Bloch, M., 2013. Marxism and anthropology: the history of a relationship. Routledge.

Bowles, S. and Gintis, H., 2012. Democracy and capitalism: Property, community, and the contradictions of modern social thought. Routledge.

Engels, F., 2010. The origin of the family, private property and the state. Penguin UK.

Ginzberg, E., 2017. The institutions of private law and their social functions. Routledge.

Gordon, D., 2017. Resurrecting Marx: Analytical Marxists on Exploitation, Freedom and Justice. Routledge.

Hay, C., 1999. Marxism and the State. In Marxism and social science (pp. 152-174). Palgrave, London.

Heinrich, M., 2012. An introduction to the three volumes of Karl Marx's Capital. NYU Press.

Houtman, D., 2017. Class and Politics in Contemporary Social Science: Marxism Lite and Its Blind Spot for Culture. Routledge.

Kamenka, E., 2015. The Ethical Foundations of Marxism (RLE Marxism) (Vol. 3). Routledge.

Lichtheim, G., 2015. Marxism (RLE Marxism): An Historical and Critical Study. Routledge.

Marx, K., Moore, S., Aveling, E. and Engels, F., 2012. Capital, volume one: A critique of political economy. Courier Corporation.

Negishi, T., 2014. History of economic theory (Vol. 26). Elsevier.

Pashukanis, E., 2017. The general theory of law and Marxism. Routledge.

Peffer, R.G., 2014. Marxism, morality, and social justice. Princeton University Press.

Van den Berg, A., 2018. The immanent Utopia: From Marxism on the state to the state of Marxism. Routledge.

Wetherly, P., 2005. Introduction: The Theory of History and the State. In Marxism and the State (pp. 1-9). Palgrave Macmillan, London

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