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Karl Marx “Workers of the world have nothing to lose, but their chains. Workers of the world, unite.” -Karl Marx, 1818-1883.

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Presentation on theme: "Karl Marx “Workers of the world have nothing to lose, but their chains. Workers of the world, unite.” -Karl Marx, 1818-1883."— Presentation transcript:

1 Karl Marx “Workers of the world have nothing to lose, but their chains. Workers of the world, unite.” -Karl Marx,

2 Karl Marx Karl Marx, born in 1818 in Western Germany, was not only a practical philosopher, but also an economist, a historian, and a sociologist. Initially, he studied law at the University of Bonn. However, after his transfer to Berlin, his academic priority was in philosophy. In fact, his doctoral dissertation was on ancient Greek natural philosophy. (Democritus and Epicurus) While in France, Marx met Friedrich Engels, with whom he took up an interest in economics and class struggle. More importantly, one of the Marx’s most important intellectual influences was the philosophy of Hegel. He was influenced by Hegel’s mode of thought, but rejected his idealism. Hegel was, simply a point of departure.

3 Context The mid-nineteenth century was characterized by the tremendous class struggles that existed. This is appropriate to mention in regards to Karl Marx. Ebenezer Scrooge, the miserly capitalist in A Christmas Carol, is an immensely rich businessman. He believes that “not a penny should go to waste.” A little match girl, commonly associated with the tale by Hans Christian Andersen, is a poor little girl dressed in rags, and looking pale and ill. She must sell matches for her livelihood. Is this fair?

4 Mode, Means, and Relations of Production
Marx used the term mode of production to refer to the specific organization of economic production in a given society. A mode of production includes the means of production used by a given society, such as factories and other facilities, machines, and raw materials. It also includes labor and the organization of the labor force. The term relations of production refers to the relationship between those who own the means of production (the capitalists or bourgeoisie) and those who do not (the workers or the proletariat). The mode of production constantly evolves toward a realization of its fullest productive capacity, but this evolution creates hostility between the classes of people defined by the relations of production—owners and workers.

5 Terminology Mode of Production Means of Production

6 Historical Materialism
Karl Marx was a historical materialist. Marx believed that the fundamental truth about a particular society or period in history is how that society is organized to satisfy material needs. He saw history as a succession of economic systems or modes of production, each one organized to satisfy human material needs but giving rise to hostility between different classes of people, leading to the creation of new societies in an evolving pattern. In a sense, history repeats itself. He called these material, economic, and social relations the basis of society. The way a society thinks, what kind of political institutions there are, which laws it has, and what there is of religion. He emphasized that it is mainly society’s ruling class that sets the norms for society. In other words, history is a matter of who is to own the means of production. Example: Production was mainly based on slave labor during the seventeenth and eighteenth century. The citizens had no need to increase production with practical innovations. This is how material relations help to affect the philosophical approaches in society.

7 Alienation Marx valued work as a positive thing, viewing it as closely connected with the essence of mankind. Perhaps, mankind is fulfilled in their own labor. He argues that work is central to a human being’s self-conception and sense of well-being. They value their work. It is a means of personal creation, a projection of one’s identity, and a means of survival. In his early works, he demonstrates that under the capitalist system, the worker labors for someone else. It is an owner-worker relationship. His labor is something external to him. It does not belong to him. In a sense, the worker becomes alienated from his work and to himself. He loses touch of reality.

8 Terminology Exploitation Profit People are unfulfilled in their work to make capitalists richer and richer. The profit is surplus made from this exploitation. It accounts for the workers’ wages and other production costs.

9 Communism Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto can be summed up in one sentence: Abolish all private property. In a sense, Marx was attacking the very ideals of capitalism. In the end, Marx envisions a society where the proletariat (workers) will eventually rise and take over the means of production (owners). For a period, he says, we get a new “class society” in which the proletariat suppress the bourgeoisie by force. He called this the dictatorship of the proletariat. Yet after a transition period, the dictatorship is replaced by a “classless society” in which the means of production are owned “by all.” Moreover, labor belongs to the workers themselves and capitalism’s alienation ceases.

10 Bibliography Gaarder, Jostein. Sophie’s World. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux Publishers, Print. Singer, Peter. Marx. New York: Oxford University Press, Print.

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