Karl Marx

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Karl Marx is known for his theories of class. Most people associate him with the issue of class conflict. His concept about the social opposing factions, in which their distinction is fundamental in the way things usually happen, represents one of the aspects of Marxism. Unlike the sociologists’ description of social class with reference to lower, middle, and upper classes, Marx presented a different understanding of social class. He defined social class as an economic class wherein a person’s membership is determined by his or her relationship to the means of production. A person’s status in the social structure is established based on the capitalist system. His viewpoint is reasonable because at that time, the social class structure transformed from feudalism to capitalism. Marx identified two main groups namely the proletariat or workers and the bourgeoisie or capitalists. These classes correspond to the great majority of the population. “Hitherto, every form of society has been based, as we have already seen, on the antagonism of the oppressing and oppressed classes. But in order to oppress a class, certain conditions must be assured to it under which it can, at least, continue its slavish existence” (Marx). This passage conveys Marx’s belief that capitalism brings about segregation in social class. According to him, the relationship between the workers and the capitalists are basically hostile. It is primarily attributed to the people’s diverse and conflicting interests. The proverb, “One man’s loss is another man’s gain” is relevant to the worker-capitalist relationship. For instance, low wage means a worker can only afford to buy necessities. On the other hand, an owner can use the profits he earns (for the work made by the worker minus the worker’s low salary) to expand his or her business. The owner is privileged to increase his or her wealth while the worker is not given a chance to improve his or her standard of living. In view of that, Marx’s...
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