In his work, Marx focuses on the issues of labor and class struggle noting that the political economy has divided the society into two main classes those who own properties and those who work for the owners but have no property (Marx 32). The concept of private property is central to policy economy as it is the source of its driving forces such as materialism and competition. The two forces are based on labor as a tool used to gain more goods, and in turn, the laborers are regarded as objectified commodities that lose their value by the year. This phenomenon can be observed in the countries with high rates of immigration where the cheap labor offered by the non-qualified foreigners is preferred by the employers to that of the citizens due to financial motivators but not morals.
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That way, production, and property become directly connected to the population growth (especially among the lower classes) that feeds industrialization so that fewer elite representatives could gain more power and capital; this is how Marx describes the bourgeoisie (43). Since the laborers tend to have limited labor-power due to multiple factors (life continuity, age, physical capabilities, to name a few), the higher classes of the owners who employ the labor-power of the propertyless workers are interested in the maximization of the power achieved through the population density increase (Marx 65).
The value of human labor determines the value of the produced goods. That way, Marx demonstrates that two different commodities (such as a coat and linen) may be equated to one another only using the amount of labor-power expended to produce them (Marx 59).
The main point here is that the commodities are not valued according to how useful they are but based on how much valuable human labor was spent to manufacture them. Marx places the commodities in the center of the life of society demonstrating that they represent the reason for interaction between people and groups. Analyzing the course of thoughts of Marx in his works, one could notice that the author emphasizes the tendency towards the evaluation of the individuals based on how much value they are able to create. It is also important to keep in mind that some individuals produce value using their labor-power while others employ this power to create value. Finally, as mentioned earlier, labor performed by humans is limited and therefore, time is another determiner of its value.
Besides, Marx notices that commodities obtain certain value due to historical events. As a result, analyzing Marx’s work, Giddens mentions his disagreement with the ideas of Hegel, who proposed an individualistic approach to the value of man as a personally created entity (5).
Opposing to the point of view of Hegel, Marx stated that historical events and the pressure of the past produce a powerful effect on all of the living generations who are forced to obey the standards and norms established earlier in the society’s history. In other words, the power of the society and its flawed internal mechanisms are dictated by its structure and nature – the vulnerability of the orders established in the past and inherited and maintained generation after generation. Regardless of the egoism of an individual emphasized by Hegel, the time and the state act as the modifiers of the history created by the societies.
Giddens, Anthony. Capitalism and modern social theory: An analysis of the writings of Marx, Durkheim, and Max Webber. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press, 1971. Print.
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Marx, Karl. Selected Writings from Charles Lemert editor: Social Theory, the multicultural and classical readings. Boulder, Colorado: Westview Press, 2010. Print.