Presentation on theme: "Karl MarxKarl Marx 1818-1883 Trier, Germany The Communist Manifesto Das Kapital [Capital] “The philosophers have only interpreted the world,"— Presentation transcript:
Karl MarxKarl Marx 1818-1883 Trier, Germany The Communist Manifesto Das Kapital [Capital] “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, the point is to change it.”
Critiques of HegelCritiques of Hegel Hegel viewed the state as the culmination of human relations because it expressed the Absolute manifestation of social relations. Marx rejected the idea that the state is an expression of the absolute. Rather, the state develops from human relations which have their origin in economic relations as a function of survival. Economy, not the Absolute Spirit, is the mover of history—and this can be viewed in the various ways that the contest for and organization of resources has inspired human history. Religion and the state are both products of an imbalance in the material conditions of life. They are “opiates of the people” insofar as they distract people from the fractured state of material reality by emphasizing the priority of the individual (“all are equal under God/the law”). Because human beings are essentially social creatures, individuals find satisfaction in the proper ordering of their social relations, which have their basis in economic ordering. Once the conditions of economic life are properly ordered, the need for things like religion and nationalism disappear.
Alienation: 4 TypesAlienation: 4 Types For Marx, the central consequence of capitalism is alienation. That is, the goal of excess wealth dehumanizes the people that produce the wealth and ultimately, therefore, undermines the social good. Alienation from the product of labor Alienation from the labor itself Alienation from himself (as producer) Alienation from society
Capitalism Marx’s critique of capitalism extends from his analysis of human alienation created by capitalism. Capitalism produces a class antagonism in which the wealthy (bourgeois) seek to benefit from the labor and exploitation of the poor (proletariat). The idea that hard work will get one ahead only actually benefits those who are ahead. Capitalism dehumanizes people by making them part of the process of labor instead of laborers in their own right. These critiques extend into our own world where it is easy to observe both in national (e.g., Walmart) and international (e.g., NAFTA) situations where cheap labor is exploited in order to create luxurious conditions for a small elite group as well as for a small, elite percentage of the world’s population.
The Idea of CommunismThe Idea of Communism The idea of communism is more or less simple: the social order exists for the individual, not the individual for the state. Society is a function of human nature as laborer. We thrive when we actualize our productive essence—which entails a flourishing society. When we derail this process in favor of other goods (e.g., wealth) we derail human and social flourishing. Communism aims at creating the economic conditions possible for human flourishing by placing value upon the labor itself as opposed to the product of the labor. “In bourgeois society, living labor is but a means to increase accumulated labor. In Communist society, accumulated labor is but a means to widen, to enrich, to promote the existence of the laborer.” – Communist Manifesto