The main points of Marxist-inspired theory include examining the impact of capitalism on economic, productivity, and labor development as well as the inherently exploitive relationship between workers and capitalists, which would create class conflict. The conflict would eventually culminate in an uprising whereby the working class would depose the capitalist class and gain economic control. The paper discusses Marxist-inspired theory, the ways in which it was different from other theoretical traditions, and why it remains relevant after the collapse of the Soviet Union and in the 21st century.
The Marxist-inspired theory is distinct from other theoretical traditions in numerous ways. According to Marxist-inspired theory, the conflict between social classes—particularly, the capitalists, or entrepreneurs, and the workers—defines economic relations in a capitalist system and eventually results in revolutionary communism. The business owners control the production means, and the workers use their labor to convert raw materials into valuable economic products (Kotz, 2017). Ordinary employees have limited influence in the capitalist system since they do not control production, including plants, materials, and buildings. Employees are also easily replaceable during times of high unemployment, thus undermining their perceived significance.
Moreover, to maximize earnings, entrepreneurs have a motivation to get as much work out of their workers whereas compensating them the least amount of money. Consequently, this creates an unjust disparity between the proprietors and the workers whose labor they abuse for the advantage of entrepreneur. Marx predicted that because employees had no private investment in the process of production, they would become estranged from it and contemptuous of the enterprise owner. The capitalist also utilizes social institutions such as academia, government, organized religion, media, as well as financial and banking structures as weapons and tools against the workers in order to preserve their powerful position and wealth (Kotz, 2017). The inherent inequities, as well as oppressive economic relations amid these two groups, eventually lead to an uprising whereby the working class revolts counter to the capitalists, seizes owners of the production means, and dismantles capitalism.
The Marxist-inspired theory sees other theories as problematic because they fail to address the increasing gap between owners of production and workers. The Marxist-inspired theory is determined to have a society whereby people have equal economic development. The underlying capitalist relations of exploitation and alienation of the workers would eventually push the working poor to insurrection counter to the entrepreneurs and snatch ownership of the manufacturing means. Educated leaders designated as the precursor of the communist would conduct the insurrection. They would understand civilization’s class structure and unify the working poor by developing awareness and class consciousness. Marx anticipated that following the revolution, personal ownership of the productive capital would be replaced by community ownership, initially under socialism and later under communism. Class conflict and social stratification would no longer be relevant in the ultimate stage of human advancement.
Both socialism and communism are opposed to capitalism, which is a well-defined by individual ownership besides a legal outline that protects the right to own or transfer personal possessions. Private individuals and companies possess the productive resources and the authority to benefit from them in a capitalist system. Communism and socialism pursue to rectify the flaws of capitalism’s free-market system. The exploitation of workers and inequalities between affluent and poor are examples of the flaws (Burczak, 2017). Increasing competition, instead of providing innovative goods for customers, would result in capitalist collapse and the emergence of monopolies, as fewer people would be left to handle production. Previous capitalists who went bankrupt would rejoin the workers, ultimately forming a militia of the unemployed. Likewise, the capitalist market, which is unregulated by definition, would encounter massive demand and supply imbalances, ensuing in disastrous depressions.
The Marxist-inspired analysis does remain relevant after the collapse of the Soviet Union and in the 21st century due to various factors. Capitalist exploitation is so terrible in some places of the world that there is fierce opposition against it. Economic troubles are still a part of the capitalist system, and they have gotten more serious and regular in recent times. Work continues to be an alienating experience for many individuals. Looking at the most recent bank bailouts, it appears that those with financial strength continue to have overwhelming authority over the bureaucracy. Exploitation remains at the heart of the capitalist system, as seen by the activities of numerous multinational businesses.
Mikhail Gorbachev took over Soviet leadership in March 1985, when he inherited a slow-moving economy and a political framework that made reform nearly difficult (Kramer, 2021). Gorbachev implemented two pairs of policies with the goal of making the USSR a more affluent and productive nation. The first political openness, which eradicated vestiges of Stalinist repressions, such as book bans. The economic restructuring was the second set of reforms (Kramer, 2021). Gorbachev believed that loosening the government’s hold on the Soviet economy was ideal for revitalizing it. Cooperatives and individuals were permitted to own corporations for the first time since the 1920s because he felt that private ownership would facilitate innovation. Workers were granted the freedom to strike in order to improve their pay and working conditions. These changes, however, were sluggish to produce success. Economic restructuring had sunk the Soviet state’s “command economy,” however the market economy required time to mature. Shortages, rationing, and never-ending lines for limited commodities appeared to be the sole outcomes of Gorbachev’s policy. As a result, people became more dissatisfied with his rule and finally destabilized Communist leadership, leading to the Soviet Union’s collapse.
Burczak, T. (2017). Socialism and communism. In D. M. Brennan et al. (Eds.), Routledge handbook of Marxian economics (pp. 278-290). Routledge.
Kotz, D. M. (2017). Social structure of accumulation theory, Marxist theory, and system transformation. Review of Radical Political Economics, 49(4), 534-542.
Kramer, M. (2021). Mikhail Gorbachev and the origins of Perestroika: A retrospective. Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization, 29(3), 255-258.