Karl Marx was one of the main supporters for the condemnation of materialistic capitalism. Karl Marx was born during the Industrial Revolution. The Industrial Revolution brought with it new economic policies, modes of production, and social structures. New agriculture technologies caused an increase in food and materials supply, and new industry practices caused a growth in efficiency, production and, thus, an increase in profit. The growth in food supply was able to support a larger population, causing an expanse in industry. The potential for profit to be made resulted in what was once shared land becoming private property. The land was owned by a small percent of individuals, allowing a division to occur in society between different classes.
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The Industrial Revolution was sparked by capitalism. Capitalism enabled individuals to invest in new organizations, such as, the blast furnace which revolutionized the railroad, and gave rise to the transportation of technology to greater distances. The class an individual belongs to is designated by the individual’s relation to the means of production. The division of labor developed during the Industrial Revolution created differing class interests,such as, varying political, ethical and ideological opinions. Marx believed the bourgeoisie had a high level of influence on the government and society’s systems.
Marx wrote, the ideas of the ruling class are, in every age, the ruling ideas; the class which is the dominant material force in society is at the same time its dominant intellectual force (The German Ideology). The ruling class has control of material production and mental production by controlling the media and education system to maintain the class’s powerful position.
For example, America’s current education system was developed during the industrial Revolution. The main goal of the Industrial Revolution education system was to prepare students for factory work by teaching them necessary skills such as, reading, writing, and arithmetic. The goal of the current education system is memorization in lieu of invention and imagination. This system of school to work is still influencing American students.
Marx was a conflict theorist who argued that every economic system except socialism produces forces that eventually lead to a new economic form (Ewell). Marx thought new classes developed with new forces of production that would inevitably diverge from the old bourgeoisie systems that rely on older forces of production. With the new class appears new interests and ideas; these opposing interests would lead to a revolution, the development of new social relationships, and an overthrowing of the capitalist system.
Competition is a key component of a capitalist society as it allows the capitalist to expand their industries and, in turn, make a profit by exploiting the ever-growing group of workers. Workers are exploited by being paid a low wage and working long hours, generating a surplus value. This instinctive desire on the part of both the capitalist and worker to push the rate of exploitation in opposite directions creates a constant tension in capitalist society: the class struggle (McCabe). The tension between the bourgeois and proletariat is especially obvious during times of crisis revealing the power of the proletariat: their key involvement in production.
The workers are the group that will create a socialist and then communist society. In 2011, the 99% occupied Wall Street to fight against economic inequality, and the power corporations have over policies. Ruth Milkman states, the big success of occupy Wall Street was to thrust the topic of inequality into the public conversation and into popular consciousness in a way that it hadn’t been before. The occupy Wall Street movement helped diminish false consciousness. The ideologies and institutions in society that deluded the working class were being attacked and demonized.
Occupy Wall Street still impacts today’s political society. For example, in the 2016 elections Bernie Sanders was widely supported by young Americans, winning almost 3X more votes than Hillary Clinton (Blake). Young Americans are destroying the taboo of supporting socialism. The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) has endorsed 62 candidates for local, state, and federal office (Waxman 2018). Past Socialist Party leaders advocate for workers’ rights and other social movements. Marx’s writings on capitalism are incredibly accurate, and we can already see a push for change in the American capitalist economy.
American false consciousness can cause citizens to excuse lack of change in the economy. Many workers in the movie Rodger and Me supported and defended Reagen, excusing his behavior and solutions as a failure of a set system. This is similar to low-out put communities supporting Trump. Trump has made wide claims about bringing back manufacturing jobs. However, a closer look at the data shows that on Trump’s watch the pace of the U.S. job growth has slowed since he was elected (Schaen 2018).
Trump tweeted, One new and great FACT African American unemployment is the lowest ever recorded in the history of our Country. So honored by this.. While African American unemployment was the lowest every recorded in the history of our country, it promptly rose to double that of white Americans. This system of defending capitalism is beginning to fail as more and more people become educated. False consciousness may have diminished in the U.S., but it is ever present as people hold onto hope.
One Of The Main Supporters. (2019, Nov 07).
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