Karl Marx and Max Weber
SSCI 501 – Great Ideas: Classics of Social Theory
October 1, 2013
German sociologists, Karl Marx and Max Weber, each both had theories about how capitalism evolved in society aswas well as what social inequality is. In this essay, I will explain the theories of these two sociologists in these areas and show how each had merit based on what we know today. O.K introduction but no real thesis.)
My thesis (Aha!) for this paper is that capitalism breeds social inequality. Though social inequality can exist outside of capitalism, with capitalism social inequality is an inherent part of the system. Without inequality, there can be no capitalism and with capitalism there can be no equality.
Marx believed at a fundamental level that capitalism was inevitable. He viewed society’s economic system as a sociological evolution. In order for society to realize the greatest economic system (socialism), society would first have to rise to capitalism, see it fail and proceed onward. For this reason, Marx welcomed capitalism.
Marx describes this sociological evolution as three phases. The first phase describes the move from tribal ownership (family based economic system, hunting and gathering) to ancient communal ownership. This second phase is seen when tribes unite and form cities due to population increases, etc. The third phase described by Marx prior to the onset of capitalism was feudalism. In this phase there were commanding classes over serf (or slave) classes (McIntosh, 1997). (True, but not pertinent to the “orgins” in the sense of the “Primitive Accumulation.”)
How will we know of Marx was on the mark when it comes to the rise and fall of capitalism? We live in a capitalistic society currently and I doubt in our lifetime we will see the fall of this economic system, so one might say it’s impossible to know if Marx’s theory would wind up being accurate.
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