Karl Marx's Marxist Theory | Western Political Thought

Karl Marx's Marxist Theory 

Karl Marx's Marxist Theory | Western Political Thought

Basic Biography 

Karl Marx was born in 1818, in Germany. He got his basic education in science and philosophy. Later on, he studied law and philosophy. 

Although, he has an interest in history, sociology and economics. He did his PhD from the University of Berlin. After this, he started writing and publishing magazines. 

He moved to Paris Due to His Radical Ideas 

Due to his radical ideas, he was threatened and he left for Paris, where he continued his writing. However, his radical ideas never let him stay in one place longer. 

During this time, he made a friend F.Engles under whose influence he developed an interest in economics and history. 

Important Books

Marx is considered the most written person in human history. The 1/3rd of the world states adopted his idea. Marx wrote different important books in which two books are very important. 

  • The Communist Manifesto
  • Das Kapital

He died in 1883.

Also Read: JJ Rousseau's Social Contract Theory 

Karl Marx's theory of Marxism

This theory is actually about understanding the impact of capital (anything having monetary value) on the state and society. 

Context of Marxism Theory

  1. This theory was based on the condition of Germany at that time. Karl Marx was living at a time in which industrialization was rising. 
  2. During industrialization, Marx observed that those who were working in the industries (labourers) were living a miserable life
  3. Those labourers were exploited by the industrial owners. 
  4. Furthermore, the owners of the industries were getting rich. But the workers were getting poorer.
  5. The government and state were supporting the industrial owners. 
  6. Marx through his theory wanted to free the workers from capitalists and the state that supported them. 


We can divide Karl Marx’s theory into four different steps:

  • Economic Determinism
  • The Concept of Surplus Value
  • Class Struggle
  • Dialectics 

Karl Marx Economic Determinism 

It simply means that economic factors decide everything that happens in our society. In other words, economic factors determine social, religious, and political conditions in a society. 

According to Karl Marx, in society, there is always an economic foundation. There are two elements are there. Firstly, the elements of production for capital. So Karl Marx says that to produce capital you need three things: 


Secondly, according to Karl Marx, the elements of production produce another factor which is called relations of production.  In the relations of production, two classes were made: 


In this step the owners tell the worker to use elements of production to produce goods and as a result the labour will get salary from the owner. So according to Karl Marx, the worker and owner both need capital for their survival. 

Karl Marx believed that the owner is always in fear that the worker could revolt against him. So to avoid such fear the owner make a super structure in the form of institutions, for himself. According to Karl Marx, the owner have created super structure (state, law, culture, idealogy and religion) for his own survival. 








Moreover, Karl Marx says that the owner bring change in his super structure in two conditions: 

  • When mode of production changes
  • Conflict in class

When the above two conditions change the owner change the superstructure through the government and laws so the worker cannot revolt against the owner. 

Karl Marx Concept of Surplus Value

According to Karl Marx, the extra profit that the owner earns by exploiting the labour is called surplus value. So it is the extra money which is equal to the labour done by the worker, the owner exploitedly pocketed for himself is known as the surplus value. 

Class Struggle

According to Karl Marx, the workers did not know about their exploitation. Because the owners use different means to exploite the workers. However, over the period of time this exploitation will realized by the workers. As a result of which the they demand justice. 

Ultimately, the conflict grows between the workers and the owners. This resentmen of the workers against the owners is called class struggle

Dialectic Marerialism

This idea was borrowed from Hegal. In every society, in one particular time, there is an economic foundation. In this economic foundation one is considered to be an owner and other is worker. 

Furthermore, he says that a particular mod of production is present in every economic foundation in which the owner exploits the owner. But after centuries a time come when the workers realized that they is being exploited by the owners. And they graduality developed resentment. 

According to Karl Mark:

  • Karl Marx called this specific economic foundation a thesis (Exploitation).
  • After some time for this economic foundation an anti-thesis is developed (Revolt against owners).
  • There is a clash between these two and its results in a synthesis (economic foundation having different mod of production).

Hence, when ever the workers start revolt against the owners, the capitalists changed the mod of production with the help of super structure to pacify the resentment of the workers. And they start again the exploitation of the workers. 

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