Contrast Marxs theory of the nature and rise of capitalism (from Marx and Engels’ Communist Manifesto, the part on “Bourgeois and Proletarians” and my PowerPoint Slides Chapter 7) with that of Smith.
Outline: FOUR of your FIVE PAGES should be a detailed summary of Smith’s views on the nature and origin of the modern world from the assigned readings (the assigned readings are Smith’s Wealth of Nations.
In the FIFTH page of your essay, compare and contrast Marx’s theory of the nature and rise of capitalism (from Marx and Engels’ Communist Manifesto, the part on “Bourgeois and Proletarians” and my PowerPoint Slides Chapter 7) with that of Smith.
In this last part, choose one or two points to compare and tell me which of their arguments you find most compelling and why.
Paper topic: In the first three chapters of the Wealth of Nations, Smith presents a simple, powerful model of the determinants of wealth creation. Smith explains the creation of wealth as an outcome of the interaction of the division of labor, human nature, and the growth of the market. Explain and critically examine his analysis.
Next, explain Smith’s views on the rise of the modern world contained in his theory of the progress of opulence in Book III of the Wealth of Nations. Which parts of Smith’s analysis do you think Marx would reject? Explain.
Marxism is a social, political, and economic philosophy named after Karl Marx. It examines the effect of capitalism on labor, productivity, and economic development and argues for a worker revolution to overturn capitalism in favor of communism. Marxism posits that the struggle between social classes—specifically between the bourgeoisie, or capitalists, and the proletariat, or workers—defines economic relations in a capitalist economy and will inevitably lead to revolutionary communism.
Marxism is both a social and political theory, which encompasses Marxist class conflict theory and Marxian economics. Marxism was first publicly formulated in 1848 in the pamphlet The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, which lays out the theory of class struggle and revolution. Marxian economics focuses on the criticisms of capitalism, which Karl Marx wrote about in his book Das Kapital, published in 1867.
Marx’s class theory portrays capitalism as one step in the historical progression of economic systems that follow one another in a natural sequence. They are driven, he posited, by vast impersonal forces of history that play out through the behavior and conflict among social classes. According to Marx, every society is divided into social classes, whose members have more in common with one another than with members of other social classes.
The following are elements of Marx’s theories of how class conflict would play out in a capitalist system.
Thus Marx thought that the capitalist system inherently contained the seeds of its own destruction. The alienation and exploitation of the proletariat that are fundamental to capitalist relations would inevitably drive the working class to rebel against the bourgeoisie and seize control of the means of production. This revolution would be led by enlightened leaders, known as “the vanguard of the proletariat,” who understood the class structure of society and who would unite the working class by raising awareness and class consciousness.
As a result of the revolution, Marx predicted that private ownership of the means of production would be replaced by collective ownership, first under socialism and then under communism. In the final stage of human development, social classes and class struggle would no longer exist.