Essay on Marxism Abstract

Submitted By TsurugisFlame
Words: 566
Pages: 3

The German Ideology by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels was written in 1846, and later published in 1932 by David Riazanov in Moscow. Karl Marx himself was born in 1818 to an ancestrally Jewish family, only to be given a secular education in the efforts of furthering his and the family’s careers. He was largely unreligious, and so when Hegel’s writings became popular, Marx became a Young or Left Hegelian, who criticized the philosophy from a ‘left-hand perspective’. Eventually though, he became dissatisfied with the level of thought in his colleagues, and moved on to write The German Ideology with Friedrich Engels, a close friend. The work focuses heavily on several points, the first of which being that the division of labor determining the development of a nation. Secondly, the focus turns to base and superstructure, in which societal change is explained. Thirdly, the focus change to the mystifying ‘alien consciousness’ produced by this.
The division of labor, as described by Marx, is directly responsible for the development of nations. A nation with further divisions within the work force is an advanced nation. A nation with more complex divisions will also have differing relations between people and property. Marx goes on to label the stages of human history through the divisions of labor. The first stage is known as tribal, a sort of primitive communism in which there was no hierarchal structure, and therefore no property owned. The tribes would then move either through conquest or agreement into the communal, city-state second stage in which slavery begins and the aristocracy is born. These cities begin to connect into feudal kingdoms, the third stage, where the aristocracy rules over the serfs as once the slaves were ruled, and the guilds begin.
The writings concerning base and superstructure begin with an explanation of human needs, as well as the economic and social activities that produce the superstructure of a society. He then goes on to say that as the forces of production improve (jobs, technology), old forces are rendered useless, and thus the class struggle is born. When base changes, the revolutionary class rises to the top, and its ideas become the major and popular ideas that change the whole of the superstructure.
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