Sample Essay

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“Is a factory worker as important to society as the factory owner? Karl Marx (1818-1883) thought so. As of the founders of socialism, Marx envisioned a society where people worked as equals. At the time, Europe was ruled by an upper class, which held all the wealth, and the working classes lived in poverty. But in the 19th century, the Industrial revolution reshaped society. As the ranks of the working class swelled, Marx believed class warfare was inevitable and the ruling class was doomed. In 1844, Marx and fellow philosopher Friedrich Engels wrote the Communist Manifesto, calling for a social revolution.” (A revolutionary idea) Marx believed that capitalism was a deemed failure and that eventually the working class would rebel and a communism would prevail.

“Marx conceptualizes class as an objective structure of social positions,…holds to a undimensional conception of social stratification and cleavage, with class relations being paramount,…the essential logic of class relations and class conflict is one of exploitation, where political and ideological dominion are interpreted as merely the means by which exploitation is secured,… classes are an expression of the social relations of production” (Burris 2) Basically, Marx thought society was divided by class. The two major classes were the ruling class and the subject class. He thought that eventually there had to be conflict amongst the ruling and the subject class because the former had more authority and controlled the factories and work places where the latter worked in. In Capitalism and Modern Social Theory: An Analysis of the Writings of Marx, Durkheim and Max Weber, Gidden’s said that according to Marx, “Classes are constituted by the relationship of groupings of individuals to the ownership of private property in the means of production. This yields a model of class relations, which is basically dichotomous [since some own and others do not, some work and others live off the fruits of those who labour]: all class societies are built around a primary line of division between two antagonistic classes, one dominant and the other subordinate.” (cited in Polarization of classes) He called the workers ‘proletariat’ and the owners ‘capitalists.’ Anyone who owned factories or workplaces that employed a large number of people were capitalists. He believed that this was simply a way of ruling another class and everything is according to the standard of the rulers. He felt that the division in society was split down the middle, breaking it into two pieces which were on opposite ends of the spectrum. This polarity would be the cause of a revolution and capitalism would fail and socialism would prevail. (Polarization of classes)

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