Hello! Today I will tell you about Marxism, its history, fundamental theories, and principles, as well as its significance for the world and science. The first thing we need to find out is what is Marxism in general. However, some difficulties arise in this matter, since representatives of different sciences give a different definition, focusing on specific aspects of Marxism. For example, political scientists emphasize its importance as a political ideology, and economists talk about the theory of distribution of wealth and value creation (Ryan, 2018). Therefore, in general, it can be determined that Marxism is a philosophical, political, sociological, and economic doctrine named after Karl Marx, which explores the process and consequences of the influence of capitalism on the world.
Marxism did not form in one day, since it combines theories and ideas relating to various areas of people’s life. However, most of the theories belong to the German philosopher Karl Marx, who in the mid-19th century began to study capitalism and its influence on society. Marx published his ideas in the book Capital. Friedrich Engels also significantly contributed to the development of theories as he published the Communist Manifesto with Marx (Ryan, 2018). These ideas became the basis for the work of many other scholars, such as Durheim and Weber, who are considered the founders of socialism in Western Europe (Ryan, 2018). Concepts are also reflected in the theories of neo-Marxism and various interpretations of communism.
Marxism found the most significant reflection in the ideologies of socialism and communism, which had a great influence on the world of the twentieth century. However, although Marxism, socialism, and communism have many similar principles, they also have distinctive fundamental features and methods for their implementation. For example, the value of social institutions or personal human rights. Lenin used the ideas of Marx for leading the Russian Revolution, which later spilled over into the 70 years of the existence of the Communist regime in the USSR (“October 25,” 2017). Communism in China and North Korea is also built on Marxism’s ideas, but the economic and political of these states are significantly different. At the same time, in his works, Marx never directly spoke about a political ideology (Ryan, 2018).
Now, I will explain to you the fundamental principle on which all theories of Marxism are built. Dialectical materialism consists of two parts that reflect Marx’s vision of the world’s structure and society. First, Marx believed that the basis of the world and the interaction of its components t are material things. It is important to note that Marx did not deny the existence of a world of ideas. (Ollman, n.d.). Secondly, the dialectic of Marx is expressed in his opinion about the constant change and development of the world and society as a result of internal contradictions in one or other processes (Ryan, 2018). This combination of principles manifests itself in all theories of Marx.
The theory that underlies all the concepts of Marx is the existence of classes in society and the struggle between them. According to Marx, in capitalism, there is a ruling class of capitalists, whose purpose is to obtain and increase profit and retain power. At the same time, the class of workers also wants the power to provide themselves with comfortable living and working conditions (Ollman, n.d.). However, these interests cannot be realized simultaneously, which leads to a class struggle. Moreover, this struggle or economic conflict gives rise to the existence of classes, which, in turn, create conflict (Trueman, 2020). On this basis, a capitalist economy and society are built.
Marxism also explains the processes that determined society’s development and are critical to the functioning of capitalism. Historical materialism is a theory about the development of society, according to which society’s economic and technological development provoked political and social changes to correspond to the new stage of capitalism (“Karl Marx,” 2017 ). The historical stages of society’s development are connected with the methods of production, which Marx characterizes as modes of production. The main component that holds the structure of capitalism is the relationship between capital and labor. The growth of workers’ wages and wealth is harmful to capitalism since their lack creates the need to work, which provides production (Hurst, n.d.). Consequently, capitalist society functions in such a way as to preserve the inequality of the people’s labor and the wealth that they can receive for this work.
The alienation theory and the labor theory of value also explain the principles that guide a capitalist society. The first theory says that capitalists alienate workers from values that you can see in the slide, which prevents their development, so they can only work (Ollman, n.d.). The labor theory of value says that the surplus-value is formed from the product’s exchange price from which workers’ wages and material costs are deducted (Ollman, n.d.).. For this reason, raising surplus-value and keeping low wages is beneficial for capitalists. Consequently, the dependence of the working class on capitalists remains unchanged and the system works. I hope that my summary of theories is understandable for you since Marxism has many more details and nuances.
Therefore, Marxism found its application in various disciplines and sciences, since they offered a new look at social interaction. Today, Marxism’s ideas are used in theories of cultural, historical, and anthropological development of society. The theory of value and distribution of labor and wealth is key to understanding economic interaction in the modern world, as well as the principles of management. In general, almost all social sciences use Marxism’s ideas for a comprehensive study of various phenomena and processes. In addition, the history of communism, as well as the concepts of Marxism, created a whole cultural formation and era that was reflected in literature and art. Consequently, Marxism brought fundamental changes to almost all spheres of society. Thank you for your attention!
Hurst, A. (n.d.) Classical sociological theory and foundations of American sociology. Oregon State University. Web.
Karl Marx (2017). Web.
Ollman, B. (n.d). What is Marxism? A bird’s-eye view. NYU. Web.
Ryan, J. M. (2019). Core concepts in sociology. Wiley Blackwell.
Trueman, C.N. (2020). Marxist Concepts. The History Learning Site. Web.