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The term Marxism denotes a process within a society where human needs are analyzed with the help of economic activities and material condition. In this paper, the relevance of Marxism in the 21st Century has been discussed and the important critic such as critic related to capitalism associated with the theory of Karl Marx has been outlined. The relevance of Marxism is related to the Capitalism theory of Marx as it elaborates the ongoing emergency of capitalism in today's world (Trotsky, 2020).
Marxism refers to the principles outlined by Karl Marx in the 19th Century along with Friedrich Engels. The principles include historical theory, philosophical anthropology and political and economic program. Marxism is a detailed and practical analysis of society currently prevailing (Musto, 2020). Hence it is not a science neither a philosophy. The central focus of Marxism is on Capitalistic society as Marx outlined almost every aspect of the capitalistic society. Its main motive is to not only study the capitalistic society but an effort made to change it. Another feature of Marxism is that it holds faith in the determination of economic relations (Stevenson, 2020). It also focuses on the division of society into different classes such as a dominant class and a working level of people. It holds an emphasis on the value of the surplus, here it refers that any work that has done by the labour class people should be owned by them as the product has been created by him (Sharma, 2021). There is also the significance of the revolution in Marxism as the lower level can raise a revolution if they want to acquire power and position (Harvey, 2020).
The Marxism situation of the late 19th century has much similar to the situation of the 21st Century. In both eras, there is the dominance of the industrial and commercial manner of production (Musto, 2020). Marx showcased the economic and systematic view of the world of the flow of historical events through conflicts and growth at the same time (Briggs, 2020). As per Marx, previously there was a society based on slaves which grew into the feudal system such as the rule of king and queens however, capitalism evolved after the rise of the Industrial Revolution in which there was an end to the Feudal system and creation of two new class took place - the working class who worked for a wage and the ruling class who owns the earnings of production (Sharma, 2021). Marx predicted that these working-class people who work for wages would eventually control the means of production and with this; there would be the rise of socialism. And finally, there will be a situation where there will be a classless society and this will lead to communism (Harvey, 2020). Marx has showcased a scientific structure that depends on son economic condition to analyze the future and study history.
Karl Marx predicted that there will be a rise of labour class over the capitalist class and the rules that are framed by the capitalist class will be taken over by the labour class with the help of revolution and this has happened in few countries such as Hungary, Austria, France and Germany where the parties that follow Marxism tried to take in charge of the power in many events with the help of revolution which has proven correct for the 21st Century as well (Petrucciani, 2020). The below are few ideas of Karl Marx which is still being followed in the 21st Century.
There have been many times where the hegemonic propaganda machine have been tried to rule over the ideas of Marx however the ideas have struggled to keep up the pace with the changing time without losing its validity related to the process of understanding the world but also acted as a proven tool for the transformation of 21st Century (Harvey, 2020).
1. Capital centralization and concentration
Marx has clearly economically defined the process of reproduction in capitalism structure and forecasted the habit of keeping the capital structure in focus. One of the predictions of Marx which proves to be relevant for the 21st Century is growing the difference between the rich and poor (Musto, 2020). According to the latest report of Oxfam, 2021, the 82% of wealth accumulated in the year 2019 went to the hand of the rich who are 1% of the total worldwide population while there was no rise in the wealth of the 3.7 billion people across the world (Petrucciani, 2020).
2. Capital Instability and reoccurrence of crisis
Karl Marx was one of the philosophers to get the understanding that economic crisis is a characteristic of the capitalistic system and is not a fault.
This idea of Marx refers to where the different class of people in the society, the upper class who owns the means of production and the lower class people who work on a wage basis to earn their living and in this there is the dominance of the upper class of people over the lower class. In the 21st Century as well, the 1% rich people dominate the rest 99% of people who are middle class or of the lower class (Briggs, 2020).
As per Marx, in a capitalistic economy, the wages of the person are intended to keep low so that maximum profits can be achieved. In this idea of Marx, there is always another person waiting for a chance in place of the other person who has refused to work under low wage condition (Musto, 2020). In this idea, there is an exploitation of labours so that maximum profits can be earned and there is a huge gap between the higher-level executive and the employees in terms of wages.
Karl Marx has already foreseen the emergence of the false need among the people and has warned about it. In the 21st century, with the rise of technological and commercial advancement, material things are becoming obsolete within a few months or year as different forms of media help people to convince to buy the latest technologies (Harvey, 2020).
This idea of Marx has proved to be true as in the 21st Century there is a rise in globalization as there is the constant expansion of the market and the consumption rate.
Marx greatest achievement is not about the analysis of capitalism but his idea to have a society where there is no unequal distribution of power and wealth but to have a single society where the working-class people have the right to get on the power and position with the help of revolution and unity and this idea is fully applicable in 21st Century (Thompson, 2021).
This is another idea shared by Karl Marx is that there is an existence of a monopoly in the market like the one who is strongest among the competitor will survive in the market which has been proved to be true in the 21st century (Petrucciani, 2020).
The nature of capitalism has been well understood by marks concerning the self-destructive and creative nature which can be explained in the process of production and unsustainable consumption by the people (Harvey, 2020).
With the above ideas that prove to be relevant to the 21st century, there are few criticisms as well that needs to be considered while analyzing the similarity of Marx theory in the 21st Century (Sharma, 2021).
The structure of the class system is more difficult than Marx has pointed out as a "Bourgeois-Proletariat as compared to the socialist theory where there is no class distinction and the working-class people have the dominant power. In the 21st Century, people of developing nations have shares and investments lie the elite portion of society and have their property (Stevenson, 2020). However, in socialistic economy, there is much lesser exploitation of the employees as in recent years many of the industries try to motivate the employees by giving them a decent package along with performance incentives so that the profit of the company is maximized. Thompson (2021) mentioned that one of the criticisms of Marxism is that it proves to be economically deterministic and also there no freedom and equality as Marx expected to be in a communist revolution than it is in case of a socialistic economy where there is unity in the working-class people. There are companies that overrule the ideology of being controlled by the higher executives with respect to the wages, due to enlighten techniques of management and due to unionization, the employee have self-control over their working lives terms and conditions in socialism (Stevenson, 2020). There is inconsistency in Marx theory of capitalism as few socialist argue that the conclusion arrived from Marx's theoretical areas is not related to each other. There is irrelevance in Marxism theory as economist tends to reject its theories and assumption and the economist that favor Marxism represent a smaller portion of society. Petrucciani (2020) argued that Marxism theories considers politics as dependent which is depending on the economic relations. However, this theory of Marx has been argued by several socialists.
From the above, one can conclude that Marxism is still relevant in the 21st Century as it provides a technique to understand the economics and the history of the capitalistic society and it is solely responsible for defining the concept of global capitalist crisis. In this paper, the features of Marxism has been discussed which proves to be relevant for the 21st Century world in terms of capitalism. It also focuses on the few criticisms that are associated with the ideology of capitalism by Karl Marx.
Briggs, W., 2020. Removing the Stalin Stain: Marxism and the Working Class in the 21st Century. John Hunt Publishing.
Harvey, M., 2020. The Political Economy of Health: Revisiting Its Marxian Origins to Address 21st-Century Health Inequalities. American Journal of Public Health, (0), pp.e1-e8.
Musto, M., 2020. The Last Years of Karl Marx: An Intellectual Biography. Stanford University Press.
Oxfam International. 2021. inequality | Oxfam International. [online] Available at: <https://www.oxfam.org/en/tags/inequality> [Accessed 11 March 2021].
Petrucciani, S., 2020. A Time for Revolution: Marx and 1848. The Ideas of Karl Marx (pp. 111-143). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.
Petrucciani, S., 2020. The Ideas of Karl Marx. Springer International Publishing.
Sharma, H., 2021. 15 Essential Features of Marxism - Explained!. [online] PreserveArticles.com: Preserving Your Articles for Eternity. Available at: <https://www.preservearticles.com/articles/15-essential-features-of-marxism-explained/30543> [Accessed 11 March 2021].
Stevenson, N., 2020. Critical theory in the Anthropocene: Marcuse, Marxism and ecology. European Journal of Social Theory, p.1368431020962726.
Thompson, K., 2021. Eight Criticisms of the Traditional Marxist View of Society. [online] ReviseSociology. Available at: <https://revisesociology.com/2016/04/11/eight-criticisms-of-the-traditional-marxist-view-of-society/#:~:text=Classic%20Marxist%20theory%20has%20been,the%20direction%20of%20history%20itself.&text=The%20Communist%20Revolutions%20in%20Eastern,as%20Marx%20would%20have%20hoped.> [Accessed 11 March 2021].
Trotsky, L., 2020. In defence of Marxism. Wellred Books.
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