While Utopians Socialists envisioned reform
from the top, Marx warned that change would
come from the bottom and would most likely
be violent.
 Marxism was created by the joint efforts of two
German intellectuals, Karl Marx and Friedrich
 Together they wrote the Communist Manifesto in 1848, in
which they called for a revolution of the workers against the
capitalist state and its replacement by socialism.
 Marxism is both a theoretical analysis of history &
society and a call for political action.
 Economic Interpretation of History: Marx argued that
economic conditions determine the course of history
 The class that possesses economic power whether through
ownership of land, merchant ships, banks, or factories controls
the government and the social institutions
Class Struggle
 Marx argues that there are two fundamental classes in any society
opposing each other – the owners of the means of production and
those who work for them, the “haves” and “have-nots”
 In ancient Rome plebeians battled the patricians
 In feudal society serfs opposed lords
 In the industrial age it is the proletariat versus the bourgeoisie
 This struggle was international since workers in each nation faced
the same problems and battled the same capitalists oppressors
 Marx concluded “the proletariat have nothing to lose but their
chains,” and he coined the slogan “workingmen of the world
Surplus Value
 Capitalists pay workers just enough wages to keep them
alive and the difference between their wages and the
price of the goods the workers produce is surplus value.
 The capitalist take the surplus value as profit and
consequently workers lack sufficient income to purchase all
goods produced and this leads to economic depressions
Inevitability of Socialism
 Capitalism would destroy itself as depressions become
more and more severe
 In time wealth would concentrate in fewer and fewer hands,
while workers’ conditions would steadily deteriorate
 Eventually, workers would be driven to overthrow the
capitalist and establish a state based on egalitarian principles,
a socialist state.
 Under socialism, the state would whither away and leave a
“communal” society, a communist society that would apply
the principal “from each according to his ability, to each
according to his needs.”