A system of economic - Marxism economics A system of...

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Marxism economics A system of economic, social, and political philosophy based on ideas that view social change in terms of economic factors. A central tenet is that the means of production is the economic base that influences or determines the political life. Marxism is an economic and social system based upon the political and economic theories of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Marxism is summed up in the Encarta Reference Library as “a theory in which class struggle is a central element in the analysis of social change in Western societies.” Marxism is the antithesis of capitalism which is defined by Encarta as “an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and distribution of goods, characterized by a free competitive market and motivation by profit.” Marxism is the system of socialism of which the dominant feature is public ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange. Under Marxism, outdated class structures were supposed to be overthrown with force (revolution) instead of being replaced through patient modification. It held that as capitalism has succeeded feudalism, it too will be removed by a dictatorship of the workers (proletariat) called socialism, followed quickly and inevitably by a classless society which governs itself without a governing class or structure. Developed in the 19th century jointly by two lifelong German friends living in London - Karl Marx (1818-1883) and Friedrich Engels (1820-1895) - it forms the foundation of communism. Under capitalism, the proletariat, the working class or “the people,” own only their capacity to work; they have the ability only to sell their own labor. According to Marx a class is defined by the relations of its members to the means of production. He proclaimed that history is the chronology of class struggles, wars, and uprisings. Under capitalism, Marx continues, the workers, in order to support their families are paid a bare minimum wage or salary. The worker is alienated because he has no control over the labor or product which he produces. The capitalists sell the products produced by the workers at a proportional value as related to the labor involved. Surplus value is the difference between what the worker is paid and the price for which the product is sold. An increasing immiseration of the proletariat occurs as the result of economic recessions; these recessions result because the working class is unable to buy the full product of their labors and the ruling capitalists do not consume all of the surplus value. A proletariat or socialist revolution must occur, according to Marx, where the state (the means by which the ruling class forcibly maintains rule over the other classes) is a dictatorship of the proletariat. Communism evolves from socialism out of this progression: the socialist slogan is “From each according to his ability, to each according to his work.” The communist slogan varies thusly: “From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.”
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