Smith vs. Marx - a Comparison

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Smith versus Marx – A Comparison
S. Glen Balanoff
July 04, 2004

Smith versus Marx – A Comparison
Modern economic society can be described as a combination of certain points from several theories combined into one. Changing dynamics and economic needs of nations has spawned a development of various, and contrasting, economic systems throughout the world. Perhaps the two most contrasting philosophies seen in existence today are that of capitalism and communism. The two philosophers most notably recognized for their views on these economic systems are Adam Smith and Karl Marx. This paper will identify several fundamental aspects of economic philosophy as described by Smith and Marx, and will compare and contrast the views of these philosophers in relation to current global economic systems. Adam Smith was the first of the two philosophers to reign on the economic world. Smith rose to prominence with the publishing of two controversial works: The Theory of Moral Sentiments in 1759 and The Wealth of Nations in 1776 (Heilbroner, 1999). It was the publication of The Wealth of Nations in 1776 that launched Smith as a visionary philosopher of economic theory, and the father of the free market system employed by many nations today. Smith posed a fundamental approach that economics is a community concern (Armour, 1997). Karl Marx shocked the world with his own publication, The Manifesto in 1848, which sharply contradicted the visions of Smith and the emergence of the Industrial Revolution (Heilbroner, 1999). Marx concepts of unification without social class for the good of all people were communicated and the birth of communism was realized. Unlike Smith, who believed that the division of labor increased productivity, Marx believed that labor becomes a commodity and power rested in the hands of those who controlled production (Armor, 1997). Marx believed that the pending Industrial Revolution would create havoc and confusion to the capitalists' society...
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