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Karl Marx


Karl Marx (5 May 1818 – 14 March 1883) was a German philosopher, economist, historian, sociologist, political theorist, journalist and socialist revolutionary. His political and philosophical thought had enormous influence on subsequent intellectual, economic and political history, and his name has been used as an adjective, a noun and a school of social theory. Marx has been described as one of the most influential figures in human history, and his work has been both lauded and criticize. His work in economics laid the basis for much of the current understanding of labour and its relation to capital, and subsequent economic thought. Many intellectuals, labour unions, artists and political parties worldwide have been influenced by Marx's work, with many modifying or adapting his ideas

Karl Marx early life

Born in Germany, Marx studied law and philosophy at university. He married Jenny von Westphalen in 1843. Due to his political publications, Marx became stateless and lived in exile with his wife and children in London for decades, where he continued to develop his thought in collaboration with German thinker Friedrich Engels and publish his writings, researching in the reading room of the British Museum. Successful lawyer, was a man of the Enlightenment, devoted to Kant and Voltaire.

Marx's socio-economic Philosophy

Marx's critical theories about society, economics and politics – collectively understood as Marxism – hold that human societies develop through class struggle. In capitalism, this manifest itself in the conflict between the ruling classes (known as the bourgeoisie) that control the means of production and the working classes (known as the proletariat) that enable these means by selling their labour power in return for wages. Employing a critical approach known as historical materialism, Marx predicted that, like previous socio-economic systems, capitalism produced internal tensions which would lead to its self-destruction and replacement by a new system known as socialism. Marx also known as Economic Determinism and favour economic justice. Marx consider that religion, caste, race, region etc are false consciousness. According to Marx money or economy recognize no difference for example businessman relationship with other businessman whether he/she is hindu, muslim, christian etc not matter

Marx's Historical Materialism

Another important theory developed by Marx is known as historical materialism. This theory posits that society at any given point in time is ordered by the type of technology used in the process of production. Under industrial capitalism, society is ordered with capitalists organizing labor in factories or offices where they work for wages. Prior to capitalism, Marx suggested that feudalism existed as a specific set of social relations between lord and peasant classes related to the hand-powered or animal-powered means of production prevalent at the time.

Marx and Human Nature

Marx also broke with classical thinkers who spoke of a single tyrant and with Montesquieu, who discussed the nature of the single despot. Instead, Marx set out to analyse "the despotism of capital". Fundamentally, Marx assumed that human history involves transforming human nature, which encompasses both human beings and material objects. Humans recognize that they possess both actual and potential selves. For both Marx and Hegel, self-development begins with an experience of internal alienation stemming from this recognition, followed by a realisation that the actual self, as a subjective agent, renders its potential counterpart an object to be apprehended.
For Marx, the human nature – Gattungswesen, or species-being – exists as a function of human labour. Fundamental to Marx's idea of meaningful labour is the proposition that in order for a subject to come to terms with its alienated object it must first exert influence upon literal, material objects in the subject's world. Marx acknowledges that Hegel "grasps the nature of work and comprehends objective man, authentic because actual, as the result of his own work", but characterises Hegelian self-development as unduly "spiritual" and abstract. Marx thus departs from Hegel by insisting that "the fact that man is a corporeal, actual, sentient, objective being with natural capacities means that he has actual, sensuous objects for his nature as objects of his life-expression, or that he can only express his life in actual sensuous objects". Consequently, Marx revises Hegelian "work" into material "labour" and in the context of human capacity to transform nature the term "labour power".

Marx's philosophy on Bureaucracy

Marx's interpretation of bureaucracy is that it is an exploitative arm of the state. And state represents the ideological framework developed by the haves to propagate their domination over the have nots. It is rooted in the history of the nature of state as Marx suggests that rise of bureaucracy is closely linked with the rise of state. In the primitive society there was no state and no bureaucracy. Bureaucracy got birth when the primitive society got divided into leaders and the led, organisers and organised, managers and managered. Similarly, state arose due to conflict between these two classes, to safeguard the private properties of the organiser class when organizing work and division of labour led to surplus production and their property.
The above case was more or less true for the feudal society. Next comes the modern society, technology advances, population increases, production activities get more diverse and complex, the division of labour between intellectual work and manual labour deepens, and a fiction of equality before law is propagated. This gives to the bureaucracy scope, scale and status of supreme power over the society. Here State is a natural result of a particular stage in development of society whereby it has taken the responsibility that the inherent contradictions and class struggle do not consume the entire society fruitlessly.

Marx's social and religious view

Marx as a youth was influenced less by religion than by the critical, sometimes radical social policies of the Enlightenment, his Jewish background exposed him to prejudice and discrimination that may have led him to question the role of religion in society and contributed to his desire for social change. During 1830 to 1835 Marx’s writings during this period exhibited a spirit of Christian devotion and a longing for self-sacrifice on behalf of humanity.