Essay about Comparing Alexis Tocqueville and Karl Marx

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Comparing Alexis Tocqueville and Karl Marx

Writing in the 1830s Tocqueville saw democracy as the way of the future, and envisioned a world where revolutions would be rare. Yet writing not long after that, with a thorough knowledge of Tocqueville, Marx predicted a season of revolutions. The difference between these two views comes from a different take on the effect that the economy has on people. Both men saw the economy as producing an almost economically equal majority. For Tocqueville this majority was fairly well-off and had the ability to seek individual happiness through material wellbeing, without concern to control the government. This pursuit of individualism would keep the people quiet and peaceful. For Marx this majority
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The surplus labour goes towards new capital which allows for more efficient production. The catch is he produces more, but has to sell to the same market as before, then he?d have to lower his prices and profit would be decreased. So the capitalist must either have a continually expanding market, or be able to produce goods at a continually shrinking cost. As more efficient methods of production are found, the demand for workers decreases and workers face higher and higher competition for their jobs. Thus their wages decrease and the labourers are worse and worse off. Obviously this system cannot sustain itself, and Marx believed that the proletariat would eventually rebel against it. He says "In bourgeois society, living labour is but a means to increase accumulated labour. In Communist society, accumulated labour is but a means to widen, to enrich, to promote the existence of the labourer." (171)

Tocqueville does not see the capitalist system as so very flawed. He described how the division of labour, confining one group of people to mindless jobs and other to positions of responsibility would form a "manufacturing aristocracy" and that from this there might come "permanent inequalities". Yet he also said that "it is at the same time one of the most restrained and least dangerous" forms of aristocracy. In general he would say that when conditions for the poor are such

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