The work of a founding mother of feminism and the work of a philosopher who was a proponent for the working-class movement and an advocate for communism may seem to be too different to have overarching themes within them, but Mary Wollstonecraft and Karl Marx have many topics that can be compared to each other. Though their type of work and topics of discussion do differ to a great extent, their works both focus on the components of progress, how progress occurs, and what the final outcome will be. These influential proponents of feminism and communism, Wollstonecraft and Marx, are both attempting to use their works to aid in the understanding of what each of their goals were and how society is able to achieve them. Wollstonecraft was the …show more content…
Marx was a big proponent for the working-class movement and the equality in terms of property. To him, the issue that is most important to conquer is the issue of the estrangement and alienation of man, where man himself is the alien power over man – more specifically, it is workers who are being estranged (Marx 1988, 79). Consequences of this estrangement can be seen with private property, because although it seems to be the root of the problem, private property is actually the consequence of “alienated labor”, explaining why capitalism is a horror to him (Marx 1988, 81). It may be thought that an easy way to give workers equality would be to pay them equal wages, but this is yet another estrangement of labor (Marx 1988, 82). Progress, to Marx, would need to consist of a way to diminish the root of the problem – estrangement of the worker. This would consist of “emancipation of the workers” because the emancipation of the workers would have a large ripple effect, and result in the universal human emancipation (Marx 1988, 82). As it has been addressed multiple times, the estrangement of the worker is the root of the problem, and a step towards progress would need to consist of the workers being emancipated so they are no longer alienated and forced to labor while getting nothing but monetary payment for their labor. The alienation of workers furthers the issue by leading a society towards private
Division of labour is also credited with the rise of trade between different areas, the rise of capitalism, and increasingly complex manufacturing and industrialization. For Karl Marx, the production portion of Capitalism signalled great trouble. He believed production in Capitalist society worked in a way that the rich factory owner benefited and the poor factory workers lost. In his manner of reasoning, the Capitalist system was inherently meant to benefit the rich and exploit the poor: “All the bourgeois economists are aware of is that production can be carried on better under the modern police than on the principle of might makes right. They forget only that this principle is also a legal relation, and that the right of the stronger prevails in their ‘constitutional republics’ as well, only in another form.”[ii] Marx’s view of society and the world lead him to believe that humans create change in their lives and in their environment through practical activity in the practical world.
In the Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844, Karl Marx identifies a dichotomy that is created and bolstered by the capitalist mode of production. In this mode of production, the dichotomy presents itself in a division of labor that forms of two kinds of people: capitalists, the owners of the means of production, and laborers, those who work under the domain of the capitalist. Marx harshly criticizes this mode of production, arguing that it exploits the laborer and estranges him from himself and his fellow man. According to Marx, this large-scale estrangement is achieved through a causal chain of effects that results in multiple types of alienation, each contingent upon the other. First, Marx asserts that under capitalism, the laborer is alienated from his product of labor. Second, because of this alienation from his product, man is also alienated then from the act of production. Third, man, in being alienated both from his product and act of production, is alienated from his species essence, which Marx believes to be the ability to create and build up an objective world. Finally, after this series of alienations, Marx arrives at his grand conclusion that capitalist labor causes man to be alienated from his fellow man. In this paper, I will argue in support of Marx’s chain of alienations, arriving at the conclusion that laborers, under the capitalist mode of production, cannot retain their species essence and thus cannot connect with one another, and exist in a world
Marx's theory on Capitalist exploitation is an incredibly deep theory, but to explain it in a nutshell, it is that the working-class people are improperly compensated for their work. The rich, the higher-ups, they continue to expand their wealth by exploiting the working class, the Capitalist system not only allows but effectively demands that Capitalists increase their wealth, long-term or short-term, whether at the cost of the working-class or not. There are three “values” to take into consideration, the use-value, the exchange-value and the
According to Marx, “bourgeois private property is the final and most complete expression of the system of producing and appropriating products, that is based on class antagonisms, on the exploitation of the few by the many” ("Manifesto of the Communist Party" 1118). He says that the validity of private property is presupposed in a capitalist economy. However, a capitalist economy actually splits human beings into two classes: the bourgeoisie, or the proprietors, and the proletariat, or the wage-laborers. Marx also says bourgeois private property is created because of the alienation of the wage-laborers. He says that one way that the wage-laborers are alienated is from their product of their labor, since the
Karl Marx witnessed first hand the rise of the industrial revolution and the beginning of capitalism. He also became one of capitalisms biggest critics. Marx believed that society needed a better way of distrusting wealth but also a better way a finding people’s full human potential or what he called “species-essence”. Marx believed that what we do connects to who we are, for example, work is what makes us human. It fulfills our species essence, as he puts it. Work allows us to be creative and flourish. However, in the 19th century Europe work did the quit opposite, it destroyed workers, particularly those who had nothing to sell but their labor. To the mill and factory owners a worker was simply an abstract idea with a stomach that needed to be filled. The workers had no choice but to work for long hours for a pathetic wage. Even worse, their labor alienated them. Alienation is a disorienting sense of exclusion and separation. Factory labor, under capitalism, alienated the workers from the product of their labor. They made stuff they couldn’t afford to buy themselves. The products they made were shipped out to other places far way to make money
Marx’s primarily aims to explain how communism will free men, end the class struggle. The work argues that class struggles, and the exploitation of one class by another is the source of all inequality. Marx’s theories become one the motivating force behind all historical developments. The work strongly advocates the freedom of the proletariats which Marx’s claims can only be achieved when property and other goods cease to be privately owned. He see’s that private property has been a problem through out history, capital that aids the ruling class to maintain control. Marx argues that the lower class come together in a revolution and gain power and eventually take the power away from the upper class.
Neither Mary Wollstonecraft nor Karl Marx were content with the society in which they were living in during their time, and they both had different ideas and how to change it. They both agreed that our species is unique in that all humans have the ability and potential to control their lives and make what they want out of it. They have the ability to feel good about themselves and have a sense of self-fulfillment. However, each of these philosophers had a different opinion in mind on which obstacle was preventing humans from making full use of their potential to succeed and be happy. Wollstonecraft, in particular, was referring to how women do not get the same opportunities as men due to the fact that they are not looked at as equal to men. This was due to a few reasons. Men were being biased towards females, they could not get a good education, and most women themselves did not see a need to change. Wollstonecraft felt that the way to combat all this was to start allowing women to get the same education as men do, which would also allow them to be independent. Only then will they realize that women are just as intelligent and rational as men themselves are. Marx, on the other hand,
This essay will compare and contrast Wollstonecraft’s and Marx’s thoughts on inequality, in consideration of the following topics. What does each author see as the primary form of social inequality? According to each author, Why do many consider this form of social inequality to be legitimate? Why does each author think this form of inequality is illegitimate? Wollstonecraft addresses gender inequality in the home and in society. Marx addresses class inequality amongst the bourgeoisie and proletariat. For Marx the bourgeois take away the proletariat's ability to choose to create for themselves, rather to create for a wage. Both Wollstonecraft and Marx believe the ideology of those in power is spread throughout all of society in an attempt to keep themselves in control. Those in control of society want everyone to believe that their way of life is natural and best for them. For Wollstonecraft, men, those in control, say that gender inequality is natural. For Marx, the bourgeoisie, those in control of the economy, justify their actions through free market. Wollstonecraft believes that gender inequality is
The Industrial Revolution (1750-1850) had brought about significant changes in agriculture, mining, manufacturing, transportation and technology and subsequently established an era of unprecedented economic growth in capitalist economies. It was within this era that Karl Marx had observed the deprivation and inequality experienced by men of the proletariat, the working class, who had laboured excessively for hours under inhumane conditions to earn a minimum wage while the bourgeoisie, the capitalist class, reaped the benefits. For Marx it was this fundamental inequality within the social and economic hierarchy that had enabled capitalist societies to function. While Marx’s theories, in many instances have been falsified and predictions
Marx's ideas on labor value are very much alive for many organizations working for social change. In addition, it is apparent that the gap between the rich and poor is widening on a consistent basis. According to Marx, the course of human history takes a very specific form which is class struggle. The engine of change in history is class opposition. Historical epochs are defined by the relationship between different classes at different points in time. It is this model that Marx fleshes out in his account of feudalism's passing in favor of bourgeois capitalism and his prognostication of bourgeois capitalism's passing in favor of proletarian rule. These changes are not the reliant results of random social, economic, and political events; each follows the other in predictable succession. Marx responds to a lot of criticism from an imagined bourgeois interlocutor. He considers the charge that by wishing to abolish private property, the communist is destroying the "ground work of all personal freedom, activity, and independence". Marx responds by saying that wage labor does not properly create any property for the laborer. It only creates capital, a property which works only to augment the exploitation of the worker. This property, this capital, is based on class antagonism. Having linked private property to class hostility, Marx
As human beings, one of the most fundamental aspects of our existence, according to philosopher Karl Marx, is the act of work. More specifically, it is the idea that work fulfills human being’s essence. Work, for Marx, is a great source of joy, but only when the worker can see themselves in the work they do, and when said worker wants to partake in the work they are performing. In the capitalist identity, workers are “a class of labourers, who live only so long as they find work, and who find work only so long as their labour increases capital” (Marx and Engel, 1946, pg. 116). Labourers were simply described as “a commodity” (Marx and Engel, 1946, pg. 117) by the ruling class; they are but pieces of a large, intricate gear system, all for the profit of those above them. In this, the worker loses touch with their essence. This concept is referred to, more or less, as alienation. Alienation is a form of separation of how one sees themselves, and how one sees themselves in what they do. Alienation, in many ways, relates to the idea of false consciousness. False consciousness, for Marx, revolves around the idea of misleading society; It is an ideological way of thinking in which no true perception of the world can be achieved. Both alienation and false consciousness delve into the notion of what constitutes true reality. Alienation describes how those that are controlled by the ruling class are subject to a form of disconnect, and false consciousness is a hierarchal idea in
Marx’s theory of alienated labour is structured around a class-based system. It is vital to acknowledge that Marx’s evaluation of the capitalist system is based focused the Industrial Revolution a century and a half ago, and therefore must be kept somewhat in that context. Within Marx’s simplified capitalist society model, one class of people own and control the raw materials and their means of production. They are referred to as capital, bourgeoisie, or the owning class. The capitalist does not just own the means of production, but also all the items produced. By virtue of their ownership of production property they receive an income and earn a living from the operations of their factories and shops. The owning class owns the productive resources, though they do not usually operate the production means themselves.
As capitalist societies expanded, Marx argued that exploitation amongst workers became more apparent. Marx believed that the only way to get rid of the exploitation, oppression and alienation was for a revolution amongst the proletariat workers. Marx suggests that it is only when the means of production are communally owned, that class divisions among the masses will disappear.
Not only is the worker alienated from his labour, but he is also separated from the result of his labour - the product. This is the most obvious manifestation of the alienation of the worker; he has no power over what he produces. The wage contract ensures that the products of labour are surrendered to the capitalist, who then sells them on the market, and pays the worker a wage. Marx points out that the alienation of the product is double - not only is the worker separate from his own product, but that product, as increasing the power of capital, actually weakens the worker's position. (4) Marx refers to the product of labour as 'the objectification of labour'. The worker's labour objectified is used against him in a capitalist
In today’s world of 2017, feminism is more relevant and controversial than ever, with a new, controversial president and more and more women in positions of power. However, feminism has changed and evolved since the first writers expressed their wish for more women’s rights, as do all movements. “It is time to … restore to them their lost dignity—and make them, as a part of the human species, labour by reforming themselves to reform the world,” wrote Mary Wollstonecraft in her Vindication in the Rights of Women (Wollstonecraft 49). Mary Wollstonecraft, the mother of the feminist movement wanted women to be able to be a good wife or mother through education, but today’s feminists are educated already- they want more rights for women, such