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Marxist Account of Class in Contemporary Society - Essay Example

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The essential argument of the Marxist account of class is that capitalist development begets working-class development. It is argued that the capacity of the working class to transform the social relations of production basic to capitalism are enhanced with the maturation of capitalism and that one facet of that increased capacity can be observed in the organizational forms of labor unions (Braverman 2004)…
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Marxist Account of Class in Contemporary Society
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"Marxist Account of Class in Contemporary Society"

Download file to see previous pages During the twentieth century the working class has been shaped by three trends. In the workplace the displacement of craft and skilled labor by mass production techniques has allowed the employment of large numbers of unskilled workers; culturally, the integration of diverse ethnic strains produced by the centralization of production facilities and the constant infusion of petty bourgeois ideology has precluded the development of a clear-cut working-class consciousness; politically, the increasing intervention of the state in the regulation and management of the economy has added to the complexity of class relations and complicated the formulation of working-class strategy and tactics. These treads are typical; for modern society and social relations between the classes. The theoretical problems are linked because the relationship between the development process and class capacities largely depends on how one conceptualizes working-class capacities. If one accepts traditional pluralist notions of class capacity as applicable to the working class, then it is probably true that the capitalist development process erodes working-class capacities (Elster 1985). If, however, the capacity of the working class is something other than an aggregation of sovereign individuals, a more dialectical relationship between development and working-class capacity can be established (Braverman 2004).
In modern society, similar to the Marxist approach to class, the institution of mass production techniques and the separation of the knowledge of how steel is made from the workers themselves is the key to breaking worker control of the industry. The rich would voluntarily renounce their wealth; a community of goods and absolute equality would be established. Marx began from the postulate that men, by their nature, are species-beings, that is, beings who are conscious of belonging to a species composed of others like themselves, and beings who can realize their full human potential only in loving collaboration with those others (Geschwender 1990). Perceiving their own imperfections as isolated individuals and not yet conscious of their collective potential, men seek consolation in an imagined God, abase themselves, and worship him as a power standing over them, when he is in reality their own alienated species-essence and represents only a schism within themselves. Marx now saw this phenomenon in politics as well as in religion. For him, man's present isolation is not simply a matter of perception but a reality, a product of modern civil society: "egoistic man is the passive and given result of a dissolved society" (Marx and Engels 1972, p. 65). Equally real is man's debasement: he is "corrupted by the entire organization (Braverman 2004).
It is typical for modern society that the affable young man plunged himself into working-class activities, attending meetings by the score, and gained a profound respect for the people he came to know. Marx repeatedly marveled at "the extent to which the English workers have succeeded in educating themselves." "I have sometimes come across workers, with ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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