Essay on How Marx's Ideas Were Formulated

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How Marx's Ideas Were Formulated

In this essay, I intend to address how Marx’s ideas were formulated, after which I will move onto an outline of his theory of historical materialism which in turn relates to his theory of history, the focus of this work, starting with the idea of feudalism then moving onto the change to capitalism (and a critique thereof) and eventually the future move towards communism.

Karl Marx, son of lawyer Heinrich, was born and educated in Prussia, Germany. He was educated at the University of Bonn where he studied Law, later moving on to the University of Berlin, upon the request of his father. It was in Berlin, that Marx became involved with a group known as the ‘Young Hegelians’ and Bruno Bauer under who’s
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Rejecting Hegel’s idea that we live in a world of appearances, with true reality only an ideal, Marx took onboard this idea and suggested that rather than the material world hiding us from the ‘real’ world of the ideal, that “historically and socially specific ideologies prevented people from seeing the material conditions of their lives clearly” .
According to Marx, “we human beings differ from animals in that we act upon nature to produce the things we want and need” , that is to say, we control the development of the means of production. But these productive powers appear alien and hostile to man and are therefore hinder, rather than serve human beings. This statement is backed up by the following “The materialist conception of history tells us that human beings are totally subject to forces they do not understand and cannot control” . Marx states “it is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but, on the contrary, their social existence determines their consciousness” .

Marx made the claim that society is divided into three elements, productive forces, relations of production and economic structure. These three in turn, contribute to the development of a superstructure, the cultural and institutional features of a society. “the productive forces give rise to relations of production, and it is these relations –not the forces themselves- which constitute the economic structure of