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Running Head: Marx's Objectives to Individual Rights Marx's Objectives to Individual Rights [The [The Name of the Institution] Marx's Objectives to Individual Rights Introduction Capitalism is defined by the Collins English Dictionary as an "economic system based on private ownership of industry"…
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Download file to see previous pages However, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels are convinced otherwise, affirming that bourgeois private property is the 'final and most complete expression of the system of producing and appropriating products, that is based on class antagonisms, on the exploitation of the many by the few'. 1 For them capitalism, which is based on the right to own private property, is beneficial only to the select few capitalists - or the bourgeoisie - who reap their benefits from the exploitation of the wage earners, the proletariat. For Marx and Engels, at least, private property rights protect the freedom of some but not only deny the freedom, but results in the exploitation, of many others. To understand this argument, it is necessary to have a first look at the basis of Marx's theory. Marx strongly believed that capitalist society consisted of two classes, the bourgeoisie, or the ruling class, and the proletariat, who are the exploited class: "To maintain its own existence private property must also maintain the existence of the property - less working class needed to run the factories. The proletariat is compelled, however, to abolish itself on account of its miserable condition. This will require the abolition of private property - both disappear in a new synthesis that will resolve the contradiction." 2 Marx and Bourgeois Freedom The employers, or the bourgeoisie, build up their wealth through the exploitation of their workers. Under capitalism workers essentially 'own' their own labor which in one respect makes them 'free'. However, although the workers are in charge of their own labor power, in the sense that it is not owned by a master or land owner, they are not free as they are forced to sell it out in order to survive. Instead of owning the product of their own labor, this instead goes to the capitalists who in turn retain a certain amount of the value of the product for themselves and their investment. Thus capital can be defined as accumulated labor. The more Capital grows the more small businesses are put out of production. In turn they are then forced to sell their labor on the market and "all these sink gradually into the proletariat".3 So the underclass grows as more people are forced to sell their labor on the market and as a consequence the average wage is lowered, as there is more demand for less work. Marx, in justifying his position in the communist manifesto, claims that it is each person’s inalienable right to sell his or her labor at its true value, rather than at a value specified by those with a closer relationship to the means of production. Marx condemns the capitalist society for its maxim of 'Greed is good'. His fear for those who are materially deficient in terms of property, relying solely on their own labor value, lies in the inherent necessity in a capitalist society for the owners of production to secure property for themselves, ensuring their own livelihood whilst falling prey, at the laborers' expense, to the ravages of greed. The end result of this, Marx argues, is that the proletariat misses out while the bourgeoisie takes all. 4 Yet those in support of capitalism argue that it is not the capitalists who are the main consumers, and thus accumulators, it is the common wage-laborer. Wages ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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