Marx and Rousseau

Topics: Marxism, Social class, Working class Pages: 2 (790 words) Published: October 28, 2014
Marx and Rousseau
Jean- Jaques Rousseau and Karl Marx were both famous philosophers who shared similarities and differences regarding society and politics. Although they lived in different centuries, their work is often compared. Rousseau and Marx are two individuals with views unlike no other. Whether they are pertaining to government, society or socialism, both idealists have strong opinions on both sides. Politics between Marx and Rousseau differ and relate. While Rousseau believes in Nature and Man, Marx believes in a world where everybody is divided into two classes. Although Rousseau and Marx discuss the same issues, many differences can be found in their work. The main difference between the two men, is that Rousseau sought to replace the hierarchal society with a communal self-sustaining society for the people but Marx did not look to replace society by destroying the ruling class but instead he fears that capitalism may end from one of its fundamental classes destroying itself, which would lead to the end of communism. Rousseau states, “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains” (Rousseau 241). With this he is saying that people feel they must obey a master but this is not actually necessary. Rousseau is inflexible about the flaws in a society that lives in a state of nature. In this state of nature, man is only a "stupid animal whose existence is one of instinct and necessity for his own self interest and survival” (Rousseau 243). Rousseau states that humans living in a state of nature seem good at first, but is only a short term fix for society and would not survive in the long run. He believes that for society to succeed, people must live in a civil state of social contrasts. With this way of life people will be able to obtain security and happiness. On the other hand, Marx seemed to strive for the elimination of government power, focused to a few direct citizens. Unlike Rousseau, Marx was willing to bring in violence if necessary...

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