Capitalism in Marx and Weber

Topics: Capitalism, Karl Marx, Marxism Pages: 10 (3424 words) Published: April 1, 2011
The Concept Of Capitalism In Marx And Weber; What Is The Contemporary Relevance Of Their Ideas?

At the later nineteenth century many social and economical ideas were developed because of the past revolutions and the present conflict of individuals and organised assemblies. Capitalism, one of these ideas, leads bourgeoisie to dream of a capitalist society in order to advance their maintain lifestyle and gain wealth. This economic system which is dominated by private business and the principles of production are for profit works in side of the bourgeoisies. The employees, working to these businesses, carry out the production but don’t own it. They produce «commodities» as they are called by Marx, which belong to the employer in return for wage. Many thinkers of 19th and 20th century analysed Capitalism each in his own way. Karl Heinrich Marx (1818-1883) and Maximilian Carl Emil Weber (1864–1920) are two of the most important figures in the science of sociology who still inspire contemporary society with their ideas.

Despite their indisputable differences, Marx and Weber have much in common in their evaluation of modern capitalism: they share a vision of the capitalist economic system as a universe where “individuals are directed by abstractions,” (Marx), where impersonal relations and objects replace personal relations of dependence, and where the accumulation of capital becomes an end in itself and irrational. And whereas Marx is making anti-capitalism critique banks on the possibility of overthrowing capitalism by workers of socialist persuasion, Weber is a fatalistic and resigned observer to the mode of production and administration that seem to him to be inevitable. The purpose of this paper is to compare both Marx’s and Weber’s ideas and theories about Capitalism and then to evaluate their relevance in contemporary society.

Marx’s and Weber’s Ideas about Capitalism:
Karl Marx (1818 – 1883) was the forefather to the great communist revolution that swept across a large part of the world in 19th Century. He is regarded as an economic and political philosopher and his most famous writings which still influence people until today are “The Communist Manifesto” (1848) and “Capital” (1867). Throughout his work, Marx, is making an anti-capitalist critique which does not though prevent him from having a certain evolution in his thought. Marx’s anti-capitalism is grounded in certain implicit values or criteria and the basis for a Capitalist Society was economy. His critique is immanent, to the extent that it is made with reference to a real social force which is opposed to capitalism – the working class – as well as to the contradiction between the possibilities created by the impulse of the productive forces and the limitations imposed by bourgeois relations of production (Michael Lowy).

He considered capitalism to be a historically specific mode of production in which capital has become the dominant mode. He believed that the Forces (means) and the Relations of Production gave rise to unequal and antagonistic social classes. Private property and the growth of surplus wealth formed the basis for the division of the societies into classes. He distinguished societies into two classes; the ruling class and the subject class; a class of producers and a class of non-producers. One’s class was determined by his or her relation to the forces of production. Class of non-producers owned the forces of production and class of producers owned only the labour power. According to Marx “The executive committee of the bourgeoisie" as he describes the state in the Communist Manifesto is ruled by the economically powerful, the one’s who has private property. According to Marx, the capitalist system was grounded, independently of the political economy, on the unpaid surplus labour of workers, giving rise to all forms of rent and profit, through “surplus value”.

The extreme manifestations of this social...
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