In today’s living, people have engaged themselves in the ownership as well as the control of means of productions through employing workers to produce goods and services (Ritzer & Stepnisky, 2014). This is actually the main source of income that many people rely on to cater for their needs. Therefore capitalism is a social exists in all countries of the world as it has improved the living standards of people. This essay is aimed at critically analyzing the Karl Marx contribution to sociology theory about capitalistic society. It also focuses on the alienation and human potential as well as the labor theory of exploitation and value, ideology and false consciousness.
Karl Marx contribution to sociological theory
Through Karl Macx sociology theory on capitalism, we are able to consider many nations of the world that operate under a system of economic and political standards. According to Karl Marx, social class dictated ones social life (Giddens, 1971). His major and crucial contribution to sociology was the material concept of history. He argued that people’s experiences are shaped by their environment and that their actions, as well as the behaviors, are determined by the condition and the way they react to the conditions they are dealing with. Therefore what they do shows the true picture of their environment of the world they see around them (Ritzer & Stepnisky, 2017). Their way of interactions with the social environment and natural world is basically through the process of labor, which Marc called Metabolism and the way labor is organized in the society. Social classes are brought about by the division of labor as people have different positions of employment (Giddens, 1971). Karl Marx as a classical thinker in sociology has come up with different areas of sociology such as political sociology, economic sociology, methodology, sociological theories as well as the sociological thoughts (Giddens, 1971). Karl Marx thoughts changed the society from classless to classes where people have different social classes. This was as a result of a change of modes of productions (Giddens, 1971).
According to Karl Marx, through surplus production used to contribute to the creation of profits and benefits through marketing but now it creates different social classes where people have different standards of living. This has created a society where we have low class and high class of people. He also argued that materials bring change in human as well as the society. He has also brought about the impact of industrialization which has also contributed to change of society (Ritzer & Stepnisky, 2014). Though Karl had no idea on the emergence of middle social class in the society as well as the cooperative movement, he has also contributed much as far as change of society is concerned. Through Karl’s sociology theory, we can see and compare the power of capitalism during the time industrial revolution and how it operates today. We see also the owners of means of production dominating and ruling over the workers. This also is happening in today’s economy.
According to Karl Marx, capitalistic mode of production involved organizing as well as production and distribution within capitalist societies. Capitalistic mode of production involves private ownership of the production means, surplus value extraction by the owners of production with an aim of capital accumulation and wage labor as far as commodities are concerned. The owners of production means are the central class obtaining their income from surplus production by workers. Therefore, a large population usually depends on the wage-labor. Capitalistic society exists especially where there is the society with differing political systems as well as different social structures such as the tribalism (Ritzer & Stepnisky, 2014). According to Marx, capital existed for centuries as small scale in form of renting, Merchant and lending activities. For the capitalist mode of production to be able to dominate, the production process of society as well as the different economic, social and political and cultural circumstances came together. The owners of production dominated over the workers where the capital goods and consumer goods are mainly produced for sale (Ritzer & Stepnisky, 2014).
Human potential and alienation
It focuses on the individual’s experience of feeling powerless when they don’t understand their own potential causing false consciousness. His theory depends on his dielectric and totality of overturned relationship to the natural environment and to other persons in the society (Ritzer & Stepnisky, 2014). This is geared to the need for material needs it is during this age that matters of labor and class become the backbone of his theory
The capitalist does not only own the production means but similarly all items produced. Due to their production property ownership, they get an income from their shops and factories (Pines, 1997). The owning class possesses productive resources though they do not run the production means. Macx vied the commodity as the primary form of modern wealth
The labor theory of value and exploitation
This involves unfair treatment of one labor for one’s own selfish gain in a relationship between workers and employers. This is contributed by the inferiority of the laborer in relation to their employers (Garfinkel & Rawls, 2015). Marx’s theory completely rejects moral connection characteristic to the notion of exploitation and confines the idea to the field of labor relations. The owners of production are in complete control of revenue and wages attached to labor. The exploited do not even receive an average of the produce, this being contributed by the need for revenue to be left over.
Ideology and false consciousness
This is aimed at not exposing the clear relationship between class and the real state of affairs directed to the exploitation suffered by the exploited (Pines, 1997). Ideology plays a supporting role of dominant class, the class advantage. Consciousness is the class ability to politically identify and fulfill the will. In capitalisation, the realities of subordination are hidden by the dominant. Hence the labor providers suffer false consciousness (Pines, 1997).
Therefore according to Marx, the mode of production from the time of industrial revolution is categorized by the means of production private ownership where they exploit their worker unconsciously (Pines, 1997). This has lead to the development of different social classes.
Garfinkel, H., & Rawls, A. (2015). Toward a sociological theory of information. Routledge.
Giddens, A. (1971). Capitalism and modern social theory: An analysis of the writings of Marx, Durkheim and Max Weber. Cambridge University Press.
Pines, C. L. (1997). Ideology and false consciousness: Marx and his historical progenitors. SUNY Press.
Ritzer, G., & Stepnisky, J. (2017). Contemporary sociological theory and its classical roots: The basics. SAGE Publications.
Ritzer, G., & Stepnisky, J. (2014). Sociological theory. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.