The Communist Manifesto And Karl Marx And

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The Communist Manifesto And Karl Marx And Frederick Engels Essay, Research Paper The Communist Manifesto and Karl Marx and Frederick Engels In The Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx and Frederick Engels present their view of human nature and the effect that the economic system and economic factors have on it. Marx and Engels discuss human nature in the context of the economic factors which they see as driving history. Freud, in Civilization and Its Discontents, explores human nature through his psychological view of the human mind. Marx states that history “…is the history of class struggles” (9). Marx views history as being determined by economics, which for him is the source of class differences. History is described in The Communist Manifesto as a series of conflicts

between oppressing classes and oppressed classes. According to this view of history, massive changes occur in a society when new technological capabilities allow a portion of the oppressed class to destroy the power of the oppressing class. Marx briefly traces the development of this through different periods, mentioning some of the various oppressed and oppressing classes, but points out that in earlier societies there were many gradations of social classes. He also states that this class conflict sometimes leads to “…the common ruin of the contending classes” (Marx 9). Marx sees the modern age as being distinguished from earlier periods by the simplification and intensification of the class conflict. He states that “Society as a whole is more and more splitting up into

two great hostile camps… bourgeoisie and proletariat” (Marx 9). The bourgeoisie, as the dominant class of capitalists, subjugates the proletariat by using it as an object for the expansion of capital. As capitalism progresses, this subjugation reduces a larger portion of the population to the proletariat and society becomes more polarized. According to Marx, the polarization of society and the intense oppression of the proletariat will eventually lead to a revolution by the proletariat, in which the control of the bourgeoisie will be destroyed. The proletariat will then gain control of the means of production. This revolution will result in the creation of a socialist state, which the proletariat will use to institute socialist reforms and eventually communism. The reforms

which Marx outlines as occurring in the socialist state have the common goal of disimpowering the bourgeoisie and increasing economic equality. He sees this socialist stage as necessary for but inevitably leading to the establishment of communism. Human beings, which are competitive under capitalism and other prior economic systems, will become cooperative under socialism and communism. Marx, in his view of human nature, sees economic factors as being the primary motivator for human thought and action. He asks the rhetorical question, “What else does the history of ideas prove, than that intellectual production changes its character in proportion as material production is changed?” (Marx 29). For Marx, the economic status of human beings determines their consciousness.

Philosophy, religion and other cultural aspects are a reflection of economics and the dominant class which controls the economic system. This view of human nature as being primarily determined by economics may seem to be a base view of humanity. However, from Marx’s point of view, the human condition reaches its full potential under communism. Under communism, the cycle of class conflict and oppression will end, because all members of society will have their basic material needs met, rather than most being exploited for their labor by a dominant class. In this sense the Marxian view of human nature can be seen as hopeful. Although human beings are motivated by economics, they will ultimately be able to establish a society which is not based on economic oppression. Freud, in