What is Marxism?
Exploitation exists because of capitalistic profit because it imposes profit.
To explain the market Marx argued that each commodity had 2 final values. Firstly the use value that corresponds to the value of the product’s utility, that is to say the use that is made of this product. Secondly is the exchange value which corresponds to the monetary value of the product.
Marx applied this comparison to labour, because in his opinion, labour was an element of the growth of capitalism.
The use value of the worker is the ability to produce goods, and his exchange value is the salary he receives in exchange for this labour.
But, a worker’s use value is added to the company’s equipment used to produce the goods, this then increases the monetary value of labour. This imbalance creates a surplus that Marx called exploitation and that the employer retains as profit.
Profit accumulation strengthens capitalism. Even before inventing economic Marxism, Karl Marx criticised and investigated the origins of capitalism. His first works were dedicated to the origins of capitalism, to aberration of the concentration of wealth in a few hands.
Marx stated that the rapid rise of capitalism could create internal market contradictions leading to a takeover of the means of production by the workers who would then be able to establish a communist economy. Communism comes from the idea of class struggle first put forward by Karl Marx. Class struggle highlights the fact that a society is not homogeneous, it is subdivided into classes and its individuals have different expectations. Karl Marx thus showed that class struggle was the historical basis of our world and had been present since human settlement.
From this ideology, Karl Marx revealed a new social class: the proletariat, the social class which only had its labour as its wealth. Karl Marx believed that this class had interests inherently in opposition with those of the bourgeoisie and, that being the most numerous class it was capable of transforming society to make it more equal for everyone.
Marxism defended the working class so fiercely in order to combat alienation in the workplace. This concept, developed by Karl Marx, is the fact that in a capitalist system labour is more than a mere commodity. The price of labour is based on the worker’s lifetime, the proletarian becomes a commodity which uses up his lifetime for the benefit of capitalism. Karl Marx said the following about this:
"A man who has no leisure, whose whole life, outside of the simple purely physical interruptions for sleep, meals, etc., is monopolised by his labour for the capitalist, is less than a beast of burden. He is a simple machine to produce wealth for others, crushed physically and brutalised intellectually. And yet, the whole of modern history shows that capital, if not obstructed, works without regard or mercy to lower the whole working class to this level of extreme degradation."
Analysis of Marxism theory
The fall of communism, at the beginning of the 1990s, damaged Marxism. Is this theory still relevant in view of the inequalities that still remain anchored in our post-modern societies?
The result of the application of Marxist ideology during the communist era casts doubt. However, it is still possible to see the poor interpretations of the theory’s ideology in the interpretations / adaptations of Marxism by Lenin and Stalin. The more reformist vision of communist theories and Marxists, made by Mikhail Gorbachev at the end of the USSR, suggests the ideology’s viability, even if the reforms appeared too late for the communist bloc.
Quote about Marxism
"In one word, for exploitation, veiled by religious and political illusions, it has substituted naked, shameless, direct, brutal exploitation.”
Karl Heinrich Marx
A guide to major economic theories