Miriam D. Knox
Political Science 304
April 6, 2010
Karl Marx’s and John Locke’s Ideologies
The Communist Manifesto, written by Karl Marx and Fredrich Engels and The Second Treatise of Government written by John Locke are two distinct written pieces that describes their ideas and their philosophical beliefs regarding how society would function at its best. Moreover, both writers offer a detailed explanation about the many struggles that man has encountered regarding his existence in the world. In addition, they suggested political concepts whereby they felt it would help man to bring about socialization that would allow man to live a fair and qualitative life. In The Communist Manifesto, Marx uses a large portion of the book to give a historical perspective of society. He emphasizes from the very beginning that most of mans history has been based on economic pursuits and economic gains. As a result, he says that "all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles" (50). Throughout history, social change occurred when the productive forces in society clashed with the conditions of production, resulting in massive social upheaval. This was always to the benefit of one social class at the expense of another. Modern society was the result of a long series of revolutions in the modes of production, of which the bourgeois class was the main beneficiary. Marx wrote in the Communist Manifesto, “Society as a whole is more and more splitting up into two great hostile camps, into two great classes directly facing each other: bourgeoisie and proletariat ”(51 ). The bourgeoisie, or capitalist class, consists of the relatively small number of people who owned or controlled the means of creating wealth including land and raw materials; mines, factories, and offices; machinery and technology and who could employ wage laborers to work for them. Proletarians perform most of the work in capitalist economies, but they had little or no control over their work-lives or over the wealth that they produced. The relationship between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat is an exploitative one because the latter is paid less than the value that its labor creates, with the surplus of economic profits being kept by the bourgeoisie. While wages may rise if workers are well organized and during periods of economic growth, competition between capitalists compels employers to reduce labor costs as much as possible, particularly during recurring periods of capitalist economic crisis. Historically, the bourgeoisie had played a quite revolutionary role. Whenever it has gained power, it has put to an end all "feudal, patriarchal, idyllic relations."(53). It has eliminated the relationships that bound people to their superiors, and now all remaining relations between men were characterized by self-interest alone (53). In addition, religious fervor, chivalry and sentimentalism had all been sacrificed. Personal worth is now measured by exchange value, and the only freedom is that of Free Trade. Thus, exploitation that used to be veiled by religious and political "illusions" is now direct, brutal and blatant (53). The bourgeoisie has changed all occupations into wage-laboring professions, even those that were previously honored, such as that of the doctor. Similarly, family relations have lost their veil of sentimentality and have been reduced to pure money relations (53). Marx continues to describe that the bourgeoisie had only one thing in mind, and that was how to increase their economic status. Subsequently concerns and issues regarding mans overall well being was ignored and had no significance within society. The bourgeoisie made it clear that they were only concerned with increasing their political power. Furthermore, human conditions or any means of making humanity better was never considered nor important. In fact, Marx emphatically reminds us that money and political power was the bourgeoisies’ primary...
Cited: Locke, John. The Second Treatise of Government.
1997 Prentice Hall
Engels, Friedrich & Marx, Karl. The Communist Manifesto.
1998 Signet Classics
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