Capitalism In Marx And Engels

1310 Words 5 Pages
This excerpt from Marx and Engels’ Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts centres around the concept of the inherent estrangement between the producer and the product. This dichotomy of opposites is frequently reinforced in the text, through the idea of what the two parts of society, (in simple terms, the rich and the poor), receive in reward for the work of the worker. The language of “wonderful” and “privation,” “palaces” and “hovels”, “beauty” and “deformity,” makes clear, through the use of clearly opposing language, the central anti-capitalist message in this particular extract. It also serves to encourage a re-humanisation of the labourer, where a capitalist structure encourages the opposite: the commodification of human beings, and the …show more content…
Marx’s belief in the political economy as an evil, in the tying together of the politic and the monetary is inherently anti-capitalist; capitalism being a system which demands structure, division and to Marx and Engels’ derision, commodification of the self. M.C. Howard and J.E. King in The Political Economy of Marx, reinforce the prevalent idea in Marx and Engels’ commentary that there is a connection between product relations and class relations. The worker is the product, a disposable one, and as Howard and King suggest, a thing there is liable to be a surplus of, like any product. In a moral sense, the idea of humans as equal to surplus materials is on the side of immoral, although it is in a capitalist society a very real truth. Political economy is at its heart about surplus, a surplus of materials, and a surplus of wealth, or profit. Elsewhere in his critique of political economy, Marx said:

“Superfluous products become exchangeable products or commodities. The adequate form of this surplus is gold and silver, the first form in which wealth as abstract social wealth is kept. It is not only possible to store commodities in the form of gold and silver, i.e., in the material shape of money, but gold and silver constitute wealth in preserved
…show more content…
A capitalist system, particularly a contemporary capitalist system, has far more levels than proposed here. Not everyone who benefits from the commodification of labour has this vast wealth, not all labourers are disfigured cretins living in hovels. It is perhaps though unfair to criticise Marx and Engels for generalising when speaking of such a huge and complex subject as the socio-economic system of Western society. Rather than trying to comprehend capitalism as a whole, it is useful to look at a working example of it, and to apply Marx and Engels’ theory of political economics to this example in order to view its merits and demerits for instance the Apple iPhone. In terms of its economic worth, within six months of last year, Apple sold over 135 million iPhones, it has become a staple of present day society, its use-value elevating passed that of an accessory and moving towards becoming an essential tool. On a political and human level, this vast popularity of a single product after the emergence of knowledge that many of those producing it have been massively mistreated, serves on a basic level to prove Marx and Engels right. Yet, the class system compliant with, and benefiting from this is far more nuanced than the two-class system suggested in this extract. The modern day “working class” can partake of this particular luxury commodity and not benefit

Related Documents