Modern Marx’s theoretical work is the understanding of the nature of humanbeings and how they have constructed their historical world. Marx is considereda modernist because his views and theories fit the meaning of Modernity, whichare human freedom and the right to free choice. To Marx, Capitalism is a barrierto the notion of human freedom and choice. Five aspects of his political theorywhich are modern is how he views human nature, effects of Capitalism on humannatures with emphasis on significance of labor, class struggles withinCapitalism, the demise of Capitalism and the need for the transition toCommunism. Marx belief of human nature is that it changes over time; it ishistorical and dynamic.
In understanding human nature, it is important tounderstand what part labor plays in human nature. “To be Human is to labor,”(88) therefore Marx believes that Humans work in the world with other Humans inexchange with nature to get what they desire. Thus since human nature is dynamicso are humans’ wants and desires. In order to achieve one’s wants anddesires one must labor with others around them and with nature. Since labor isthe activity of a group, the ever-changing world created through the labor ofthose groups also creates the humans themselves and directly affects them.
Through labor, humanity creates and is responsible for the world that they livein. Marx suggests that Capitalism leads to the centralization and concentrationof living spaces of where people lives, means of production, monopolies and thedistribution of more power to the bourgeoisie. The success of Capitalism isdirectly connected to capital and wage labor. Capitalism’s goal is to increaseprofits called accumulation; profits then reinvested else where to make morecapital. ” . .
. like the buying and selling of an object in the capitalistmarket, but in this case the exchange is money for the ability of labor, whatMarx calls labor power. ” (xxv) Capitalism flourishes by extracting surplusvalue, or profit, from the commodities produced by the working class. Withoutcapitals and profits there are obviously no wages and a place to do any type oflabor power; and without wage labor capital can not increase itself. Both aredependent on each other for the flourishing of Capitalism.
Capitalism is a formof life that does not do justice to human abilities and capacities; it is adivision from basic powers to humans and the exploitations of human workers. Workers are forced to sell their labor power to capitalists and capitalists haveno choice but are forced to exploit labor to gain capital; therefore thelaborers are commodities themselves in the capitalist market. As the result ofCapitalism, labor has been under admonition and oppression. Instead of picturingthe world as it is, Capitalism pictures the world in a distorted view.
A viewthat leads to the alienation of the true is meaning of human nature. The viewthat places the products of laborers more important than the laborersthemselves; thus the laborers are objectified. Laborers then do not realize thatthey are the ones who are in control of product that they produce. “Alienatedlabor hence turns the species-existence of man, and also nature as his mentalspecies capacity, into an existence alien to him, into the means of hisindividual existence. ” (64) The distorted view leads to the miscognition ofself of the working class who are cut off from their essential powers. They failto realize that the world is of their own making and that they have the abilityto create and recreate the world in which that they live in.
Marx’s theory ofprivileging of economic matters places an emphasis on class struggles that arerelated to the forces of production as well as the relations of productions. Economics is the production of the exchange of goods and services through laborarrangements. In every society there is a way to distribute goods and servicescalled a mode of production. The mode of production is the combination of theforces of productions; like raw materials, technology or labor forces; and therelations of productions or the relationship among human beings related toforces of production. One’s relations of productions in a Capitalist societydetermine one’s location in the mode of production, that is, their class. In aCapitalist society everyone is located in a class, either the class of thebourgeoisie (capitalist) or the proletariat (working class).
More important thenany talent or skill, the class position is the fundamental factor thatdetermines one’s life as a human being. To be bourgeois (capitalist) is tohave many property of one’s own; to be proletariat is having no property andliving by the rules of the bourgeoisie. “The bourgeoisie keeps more and moredoing away with . . . the means of productions, and of property.
It has . . . centralised means of productions and has concentrated property in a fewhands.
” (162 ; 163) To Marx, class is a restriction and a retraint on themeans and the modes of production; the laborer is dependent upon the wage laborand has no individuality. Taking the capital out of the hands of the capitalistand spreading the profit and properties equally with the proletariat. Marx wantsthe proletariat to have the ability of free labor, where separation of class nolonger exists; and that can be true in a Communist society. Marx’s theoriespredict that the contradictions and weaknesses within capitalism will causeincreasingly severe economic crises and deepening impoverishment of the workingclass. The rich get richer (the bourgeoisie) and the poor get poorer (theproletariat).
In order for the bourgeoisie to survive is the most importantfactor is the arrangement and growth of capital; the must for capital is wagelabor. So therefore wage labor rests solely on the rivalry between the laborers. “What the bourgeoisie, therefore, produces, above all, is its own grave?diggers. ” (169) The bourgeoisie who choose to super exploit their workersfor the surplus value will find that they are indeed setting a trap forthemselves since the must for capital is labor.
If the workers will not workthere is no capital to invest in anything. Once the workers are fed up withtheir situations and realize there is a need to get together for a revolutionand change of labor, the bourgeoisie has lost everything they owned; and thatwill lead to the end of a class based society. In the resulting classlesssociety of Communism, the coercive state will be replaced by rational economiccooperation. “In Communist society, accumulated labor is but means to widen,to enrich, to promote the existence of the laborer.
” (171) The accumulatedlabor in Communism is not just to benefit one and only one person; but it is tobenefit the workers as well as the employer. Everyone will be rewarded accordingto how hard they work and people will have the equal chance of to moving up thesocial ladder. “In the place of the old bourgeoisie society, with its classesand class antagonisms, we shall have an association, in which the freedevelopment of each is the condition for the free development of all. ” (176)Workers will have independence and freedom of labor; and each person is seen asan individual that is part of a bigger and greater society.
As a whole, KarlMarx is considered a modernist because he believed in human freedom and choice. He saw the problems arising from the effects that Capitalism was having on theproletariat and clearly they had no human freedoms or choice. To Marx,Capitalism not only presented humanity with an upside down views of the worldand the self-thorough their labor, but also reinforced divisions of class. As aresult they laborers finally realize that they are the makers of the commoditiesand the commodities are not the makers of laborers.