Karl Marx's Class And Class Relations In A Capitalist Society

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How does Karl Marx portray class relations in a capitalist society? What relevance does this hold for understanding today’s world?
In this essay, I will discuss Karl Marx’s theories on class relations in a capitalist society, its effects on society and how these apply to the modern capitalist world. Many sociological theorists have contested Marx’s theories, which we will analyse.
Marx’s proposed class theory is based on his generalisation that ‘the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.’’(Marx 1848), which essentially states that human society has and will always have conflict and division between classes, due to agenda and interests that clash. He defines class as a group of people who share the same economic
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Marx stated the division and conflict will be so great, and the conditions of the exploited worker will be so bad that the social structure would eventually collapses and revolution would ensue. From this ‘revolution’, Socialism should prosper, where we are in an egalitarian communist society where human need would be motivation for production, not money, and the very nature of ‘class’ will be eliminated. The state would own the means of production, and would equally distribute resources to all persons.
Ralf Dahrendorf’s “Class and class conflict in Industrial Society” (1959) comments on Marx’s writings and worked to develop Marx’s class conflict theories and present his own views. He also calls his period of time ‘postcapitalism’, characterizing it as a fluid system of power relationships and a complex class structure that has made class conflict into state and economic
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He also found Marx’s two-class model too simplistic. He instead thought social stratification involved three kinds of inequality that were all connected; economic inequality, which he referred to as “class position”, as he saw classes as more of a levelling from high to low, status/social prestige as the second inequality, and the third being power. Weber’s view of social stratification in industrial societies were not a hierarchy of classes but rather a multidimensional and complex.
When discussing Marx’s relevance today, we can see many positive and negative consequences of capitalism that he may or not have predicted. For example, there has been rapid growth of the proletariat over the last 250 years as self-employment is no longer viable as industrialization has made everyone proletarians. Those who could control their own labour time e.g. doctors, teachers etc. are now wage

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