Title: ‘What the bourgeoisie… produces… is its own grave-diggers. Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable. ’ Consider this statement with reference to the pattern of class struggle that Marx sees appearing under capitalism. Through my analysis of Marx and Engel’s ‘The Communist Manifesto’ I have come to somewhat agree with their view that in the end the Proletariat always come out on top. It seems to me that it is nothing but a vicious circle .
Marx comments that through our history there has always been evidence of two classes, in other words: the rich and the poor, he makes the claim that there has forever been the server and the served: “… we find almost everywhere a complicated arrangement of society into various orders, a manifold gradation of social rank. ”(D. Mclellan, Marx, OUP 1977) pg 222. There has forever been a major divide, a lot of it having to do with the ownership of property, it is a part of the world we live in today and according to Marx to the world that existed before our time.
However, it has evolved now showing divides in much more than the difference between rich and poor, most seem to related back to monetary value. Marx believes that there are two major groups pulling out of each other, the Bourgeoisie and the Proletariat. “Society as a whole is more and more splitting up… into two great classes directly facing each other: Bourgeoisie and Proletariat. ” (D. Mclellan, Marx, OUP 1977) pg 222.
In some ways, the reason for, as Marx put it the inevitable downfall of the Bourgeois is due to the changing ways of society. He also labels the Proletariat a “revolutionary class” (D. Mclellan, Marx, OUP 1977) pg 230. He speaks of the changing ways of the working society and place emphasis of the modes of production. As most are aware, over time there has been a constant change to the practises carried out to create a product, technology nowadays plays a much larger role that that of years ago.
In recent times, due to the economic recession, we as a nation have seen many job losses which indirectly are related the importance of technology in the workplace, Dell which is based in Limerick is a prime example of this. Marx discusses in this piece the ever-changing nature of systems, from the Feudal system to the manufacturing system to the Industrial system, “The feudal system of industry… now no longer sufficed… The manufacturing system took it’s place… Thereupon, steam and machinery revolutionised industrial production. (D. Mclellan, Marx, OUP 1977) pg 223. Therefore the middle man was cut out, he was no longer important, the division between the powerful and powerless grew to become much more. “The place of manufacture was taken by the giant, Modern Industry, the place of the industrial middle class, by industrial millionaires, the leaders of the whole industrial armies, the modern bourgeois. ” Marx, in my opinion alludes that the Bourgeois have ruined many of the more caring and loving parts of our society.
The family is an institution that has been present for many centuries, people associate the family as the core of a person’s development, the way a person is brought up essentially shapes the rest of one’s life, the person one become, the way one live one’s life and the way in which one’s relationships develop in adult life. “The bourgeoisie has torn away from the family its sentimental veil, and has reduced the family relation to a mere money relation. ” (D. Mclellan, Marx, OUP 1977) pg 224.
I disagree with this statement, of course I grasp that money is extremely important to people, however, family values are very much a part of today’s world. Although the world is full of angst and acrimony there are still many people who rely on the unconditional emotional support of the relationship which exists between kin. Marx discusses occupation and the importance of monetary value associated with each one, “The bourgeoisie has stripped of its halo every occupation hitherto honoured and looked up to with reverent awe.
It has converted the physician, the lawyer, the priest, the poet, the man of science into its paid wage-labourers. ” (D. Mclellan, Marx, OUP 1977 pg 224). Marx makes a hugely valid point in this, the bourgeoisie have in fact turned healing and rewarding occupations into nothing more than money by placing a high wage and great esteem in association with these careers. Many people now seek these occupations for the wage and social rank they allude to alone. Status is hugely important to many people and in many instances people no longer ‘follow their dream’ but simply the pay packet involved.
Capitalism has a huge role to play in the downfall of the bourgeoisie, it does in effect what the bourgeoisie does to the proletariat, it is a constant struggle with capitalists having more means to aid them, giving them the upper hand in the constant conflict. “All classes… are intrinsically antagonistic or contradictory: but some classes occupy ‘doubly contradictory’ class locations”. (Classes, Power, and Conflict Classical and Contemporary Debates, 1992, pg 95) Due to the power which is possessed by capitalism, the Bourgeoisie must keep up.
Marx states that they do this by changing techniques and keeping everything up to date, “The bourgeoisie cannot exist without constantly revolutionizing the instruments of production”( D. Mclellan, Marx, OUP 1977 pg 224). The Bourgeoisie has according to Marx defeated the Proletariat by expanding production and placing it on a global scale, “In place of the old wants, satisfied by the productions of the country, we find new wants, requiring for their satisfaction the products of distant lands and climes. (D. Mclellan, Marx, OUP 1977 pg 224). They have tried to the diminish the Proletariat by the formation of cities and the importance of them in turn leaving the relevance of rural life behind, they have forced regions to adopt their way of doing things, “It compels all nations, on pain of extinction, to adopt the bourgeois mode of production; it compels them to introduce what it calls civilization into their midst… ” (D. Mclellan, Marx, OUP 1977 pg 225).
Through this, however, the bourgeoisie stretch themselves in too many directions, things get too much for them to control, which is also a major trait which leads to their downfall, “The conditions of bourgeois society are too narrow to comprise the wealth created by them. ” (D. Mclellan, Marx, OUP 1977 pg 225). Modern industry, according to Marx has brought with it more power to the bourgeoisie over the proletariat, industrialisation and the importance of machines has diminished the value of the worker and in turn raised the bourgeoisie up. Modern industry has converted the little workshop of patriarchal master into the great factory of the industrial capitalist. ” (D. Mclellan, Marx, OUP 1977 pg 225). The lack of emphasis placed on the labourer himself automatically gives rise to the bourgeoisie way of being. “The less the skill and exertion of strength implied in manual labour, in other words, the modern indusrty becomes developed, the more is the labour of men superseded by that of women. ” (D.
Mclellan, Marx, OUP 1977 pg 227). Over the last few decades we have seen this theory evolve manual labour has been replaced by technology which can do things faster and better than a human, for employers the cost of the machine positivel outweighs the wages being paid to a sea of workers. A key turning point in the ever-lasting conflict between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat is “not in the immediate result, but in the ever-expanding union of the workers. (D. Mclellan, Marx, OUP 1977 pg 228). Through improvements in technology and infrastructure it has been made easier for proletarits to gather the strength in numbers which is empirical to their success, “… that union, to attain which the burghers of the middle ages, with their miserable highways, required centuries, the modern proletarians, thanks to ailways, achieve in a few years. ” (D. Mclellan, Marx, OUP 1977 pg 228).
In conclusion, therefore, unlike other classes the proletarians never had an upper hand in relation to status and power and so in theory did not have as much to maintain, “All the preceeding classes… sought to fortify their already acquired status by subjecting society at large to their conditions of appropriation. ” (D. Mclellan, Marx, OUP 1977 pg 230). They also are in a positon where they possess a lot of manpower, according to Marx this had never been the case with all other movements involving a minority. (D.
Mclellan, Marx, OUP 1977 pg 230). According to Marx, competition between labour was a major influence on the rise of the proletariats and I firmly agree with him, as in all walks of life competition is imperative in the ssistance of one’s success, it is the driving force behind success, “Wage labour rests exclusively on competition between labourers. ” (D. Mclellan, Marx, OUP 1977 pg 231). On completion of this essay, I feel that I have learned quite a lot about the workings of Marx, it has also widened my interest on the subject itself.