Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels explain why and what the society is based on a materialistic approach. The cornerstone of Marx’s idea is the historical materialism which highlighted the importance of economic life so that people produce their own means of subsistence to satisfy their own material needs. Besides, Marx believed that the driving force of the historical change was the dialectic, which is a process of interaction between competing forces. Historical change is the result of internal contradictions caused by class antagonism within the mode of production.
According to Marx, the central contradiction is the existence of private property. Since there are wide range of needs, there are different roles to satisfy those needs, and thus division of labour is needed and this causes the emergence of private property. This creates a division between the bourgeoisie who are the owners of the mode of production and the proletariat who do not own property and thus subsist through selling their labour force. Under capitalism, labour is merely a commodity and work becomes a depersonalized activity. Therefore, workers are alienated.
There is a conflict between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat because capitalist profit is ultimately derived from the exploitation of the worker. Capitalism is therefore inherently unstable due to the proletariat cannot be permanent reconciled to exploitation and oppression. Thus, Marx predicted that workers would overthrow the rule of capitalist and establish a classless society.
Marx’s idea is useful to explain the proceeding historical process through the modes of production and characterized by class struggle. Besides, it is useful to explain the current phenomenon in Hong Kong which is the hostility towards the rich and class polarization. It is unavoidable and inescapable that the means to subsistence, from electricity to telecommunications, from real estate to retail, from shipping to the Internet, are closely related to...
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