Differences Between Marx And Engels

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Marxism is a school of thought based on the ideas of the philosophers Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. It is a conflict theory, which is when societies are in conflict with each other, and Marxism claims that this conflict is between the rich (bourgeois) and the poor (proletariats). Their ideas were influenced by fellow German philosopher G.W.F Hegel, and their personal observations of the class struggle during their time. However, Marx and Engels eventually broke away from Hegel’s thinking. They disagreed with his claims that ideas and external forces shaped reality. To them, ideas were simply a reflection of the material world and one had to have a reality to form an idea.

The advent of the Industrial Revolution (IR) in the second half
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They condemned the latter for their “brutal exploitation” of labour (1848, p5-8). The wealth that the Proletariats created were taken and given to the owners, maintaining the social hierarchy. Since the capitalist mode of production is based on private ownership of raw materials, therefore, these owners were the ones with the money and power. These capitalist owners used their money to “extract the greatest possible amount of surplus value” then buy the labour power of the lower social class, the Proletariats, and “exploit [it] to the greatest possible extent”. (Marx, 1867) Ironically, while capitalism flourished, the conditions of the Proletariats deteriorated (Boyer, 1998). This became what Marx and Engels called the “base/superstructure” model. For them, the foundation of society was its economy while “culture and ideology are constructed to help secure the dominance of ruling social groups” (Kellner, 2005). Marx believed that the feudal society of Capitalism caused the rigid stability of human existence. As he puts it succinctly: “Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past” (1852). Each individual had their position in life and the nature of Capitalism meant they remained there. Children of the proletariats stayed proletariats. Children of the bourgeoise stayed bourgeoise. While Capitalism meant a colossal expansion of knowledge and wealth through globalisation, it also brought out oppression and denial of human rights. The polarisation of society between rich and poor was startling. Thus, Marxism was borne as a critic of Capitalism and the IR, and a response to the unjust of it. It called for a revolution to overthrow

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