The Rise Of CapitalismECON 224
By: Hams Fathy & Rana Ahmed
The Rise of Capitalism
What is Capitalism?
In order to understand the difference in how Karl Marx, Max Weber, and Olin Wright viewed class consciousness, it's important to start by mentioning how capitalism began in the first place. The rise of capitalism began as a byproduct of slavery and the feudal system, which was purely a relationship based system between the landlord and the workers. There was always a class struggle between landowners and the landless, creditor and debtor classes, between trading interests and landlords (Andreski, 27).Then as different machines were used, agriculture productivity and industrial production increased, there was an increase in the means of exchange and in commodities, and thus urbanization increased. Consequently, there was an excess supply in the crops and goods being produced. This excess also encouraged trading with larger cities and colonies and as a result the relationship started to become money based which led to a materialistic conception of history and a different kind of class struggle.Karl Marx (1818-1883), who published “The Communist Manifesto,” in 1848 and focused entirely on social class, held that history was a series of class struggles between the owners of capital (capitalists) and workers (the proletariat). There was a constant opposition between the oppressor (bourgeoisie) and the oppressed (proletariat) which made sure the rich get richer and simply that. The workers were alienated from the means of production and from the other workers, received minimum wages, had no rights, didn’t work for their own needs, and finally were not allowed to recognize their own potential. In addition, to further increase their capital, capitalists relied on workers who put their labor power at the disposal of capitalists. This made class consciousness very clear because they were very aware that they were being exploited and oppressed and were never...
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