Assessing Merits and Limitations of the Ideas of Karl Marx Essay

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Assessing Merits and Limitations of the Ideas of Karl Marx Marxism, or scientific socialism as it is also known, became particularly popular during the 1970s as the realisation that functionalism was flawed became apparent, as it regarded stratification as a divisive rather than an integrative structure. It takes its name from the founder Karl Marx (1818-1883), and centres around the grand theory that 'Capitalist society creates class inequalities and alienation, which can only be removed through the revolutionary actions of the working class'. Surrounded by both support and critique, Marx has provided influence within politics and economics and an opposing argument to both Functionalism and…show more content…
This creates conflict of interests, as one social group, the owners of the means of production benefit off the back of others, a position he believed that could not continue. The first contradiction in Marx's view, Wages versus Profit Achieved by the Bourgeoisie, states that society operates mainly through class conflict. In particular he argues that in capitalistic society the bourgeoisie and the proletariat are fundamentally opposed. Marx believed that real wealth was only created by the labour power of the workers, yet the wages that are paid to them is well below that taken in profit by the people who own the means of production. However, voting rights and the formation of trade unions have given the working class more power and influence in society than when Marx was writing, enabling workers to demand fair pay and working conditions. In spite of this there is still much evidence of opposing class interests and class conflict, such as strikes and industrial sabotage in the workplace. In 1989 British Social Attitudes Survey reported that over half of the population of modern Britain still believes that there are strong conflicts between the rich and poor and between Workers and Managers. Secondly Marx argued that, in capitalism large numbers of workers acting collectively achieves production, which he refers to as Organisation versus
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