How would Marx analyze the information contained in the article?
Karl Marx and Frederick Engels are well known for their contributions to socio-economics which was displayed in their writing of The Communist Manifesto. Marx and Engels wanted society to establish a classless system in which the proletariat would rise up over the bourgeoisie. The bourgeoisie represented the ruling class which had been established as a result of the failed system of feudalism in the 1800s. Marx believed that the bourgeoisie could rule only so long as it best represented the economically productive forces of society and that when it ceased to do so it would be destroyed and replaced and eventually this cycle would continue until there was a virtually classless society. In his writing Marx argues that the proletariat needs to overtake the bourgeoisie by means of a social revolution. He believes that due to Industrialism the proletariats have learned how to work together and will thus untie to overthrow the bourgeoisie. The proletariats had become the productive class, even though they worked in harsh conditions and were very exploited by the bourgeoisie, and thus Marx truly felt that they would ban together as a result of being maltreated and overthrow the bourgeoisie. In today’s society there are numerous social issues that occur and can be examined under the lens of Marxism. One of the most important issues is that the rich are getting richer while the middle class continues to struggle and unemployment rates continue to rise. In an article printed in the New York Times author Annie Lowrey sheds light on the fact that the top 10% of society continues to do well and profit through the recovery of our economy while the middle class continues to feel the struggle. This fact is something Karl Marx feared would happen and why he assumed the middle class would rise up and rebel against the capitalistic bourgeoisie.
Annie Lowrey’s article, “The Rich get Richer through the Recovery,” uncovers the fact that the top ten percent of society continues to flourish even in our time of recession. “The top 10 percent of earners took more than half of the country’s total income in 2012, the highest level recorded since the government began collecting the relevant data a century ago” (Lowrey 2013). Marx would argue that this has occurred because the capitalists have truly “simplified class antagonisms” (Marx and Engels 1848). The idea of a simplified class that Marx was referring to was that when the capitalist, whom he called bourgeoisie, replaced the feudal society they did not fix the class struggles that exist in society, rather the bourgeoisie created a society that was split into “two great hostile camps, into two great classes directly facing each other—bourgeoisie and proletariat.” Marx would argue after seeing the economy today and what is presented in Lowrey’s article that this hostility still remains today. The rich get richer while the middle class and poor continue to struggle. Another point Lowrey brings to attention is that “the economy remains depressed for most wage-earning families. With sustained, relatively high rates of unemployment, businesses are under no pressure to raise their employees’ incomes because both workers and employers know that many people without jobs would be willing to work for less. The share of Americans working or looking for work is at its lowest in 35 years” (Lowrey 2013). This high rise in unemployment is devastating to most Americans living in today’s society and often forces people to accept jobs that are often low-paying and led them to become overworked. Marx would say this is a result of the fact that the bourgeoisie “stripped of its halo every occupation hitherto honored and looked up to with reverent awe. It has converted the physician, the lawyer, the priest, the poet, the man of science, into its paid wage laborers” (Marx and Engels 1848). He would also argue that the bourgeoisie...
Cited: Boyer, George R. 1998. “The Historical Background of the Communist Manifesto.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 34(4):151-174.
Engels, Frederick, Karl Marx. 1848. Manifesto of the Communist Party. London, England
Lowrey, Anne. 2013. “The Rich get Richer through the Recovery.” New York Times. Retrieved September 4, 2013(http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/09/10/the-rich-get-richer-through-the-recovery/?emc=eta1&pagewanted=print).
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