Discussion 17: Karl Marx

Question: Explain Karl Marx’s arguments about the exploitation of laborers by the bourgeoisie and how it ultimately leads to their self-destruction. Do you agree with Marx’s?


In the Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx argues about the struggles of the bourgeoisie and the proletariats. Marx states, “The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.”(14). The class struggles that Marx refers to in the Communist Manifesto is the struggle between the owners of the means of production and the workers.  According to Marx, the bourgeoisie has created the means of production to exploit the workers by paying them less than the amount produced. Marx, however, warns the bourgeoisie that they have created the tools that will lead to their own destruction and compares the creation of capitalism to a sorcerer who is no longer able to control the powers of the nether world whom he has called up by his spells (18). For instance, capitalism will lead to overproduction, which will be the downfall of the bourgeoisie. Furthermore, the bourgeoisie will destroy themselves by giving the workers the instruments of enlightenment. Marx states because of the Socialist and Communist movements, the working class will have valuable materials for enlightenment, which will lead to a revolution whereby there will be a classless society and no state.

I agree with Marx’s arguments to some extent, not all of them. A agree with Marx that there is a struggle between the owners of the means of production and the working class. The bourgeoisie owns the means of production while the proletariats having nothing to sell other than their labor. For instance, a worker is paid $3 to produce a trouser, the business owner sells the shirt at $20 and keeps the profit. The laborer does not benefit from the production, other than the meager $3. The working class have been enlightened by Socialist and Communist movements and have formed unions to demand better working conditions and fair wages.  Also, over-production leads to the fall in the prices of commodities, which affects the laborers’ wages. Consequently, the bourgeoisie also suffers due to the reduction in sales and profit. However, I do not agree with Marx that there will be a classless society and the state will disappear. Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States said that the government of the people, by the people and of the people shall not perish from the earth. I think President Lincoln was right because a civilized society needs the government to function well. Therefore, Marx’s argument that there will no state is unwarranted.

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