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Explore The Ideas Of Karl Marx

3135 words - 13 pages

“Explore the ideas of Karl Marx, discussing his theories and views toward capitalism. Discuss how these matters compare to modern day economic conditions, and consider the ethical and sustainability matters that are raised for today's managers.”

Karl Marx; an economist, sociologist, revolutionary and historian, whose theories continue to influence economic thought for managers today. Karl Heinrich Marx (May 5,1818 – March 14, 1883) put forth many theories with regards to economics, politics and society that established the base on which Marxism was formed. His critique of the philosophies of other theorists and critical analysis of capitalism has influenced economic perception, and ...view middle of the document...

95). This essay will further explore these concepts and ideas put forth by Karl Marx’s, also looking at his influence on economies and today’s managers.
It is said that Karl Marx had a critical approach towards the philosophies of other theorist, filtering out key ideas and therefore bringing about important notions. His critique of capitalism has impacted the way we conceptualise the labour and capital relationship today, as well as influencing economic thought with regards to management. In one of his major pieces, Das Kapital (German: Capital), Marx explores ‘class conflict’; “the struggle between the capitalist class and the working class”. He distinguished these two classes as the ‘bourgeoisie’ (capitalist class), “the class comprising those who own and control the means of production”; and the ‘proletariat’, the class of whom “must sell their labour because they have no other means of earning a livelihood” (Palgrave 2012, p. 99). Although this concept is not as bold in the world as it was in earlier times, it is still present in many places that employ cheap labour such as China, India and Bangladesh; where capitalists seek to maximise profits through outsourcing and in doing so attempt to maximise the exploitation of resources, in this case labour. It can be argued that this provides employment, especially for those who may not have the capacity to perform more complex roles, but are they really provided with the opportunity to explore what skills they may possess? Having companies with such labour power may contribute to the economy, but the conditions of the work environments and the wellbeing of the workers should be taken into consideration and perhaps questioned at time. Shifts from this sort of extreme industrial capitalism have occurred in the west to a degree, but the concepts still linger and we continue to see these concepts as driving elements in modern day economies as ‘bourgeoisie’ continue to maximise ‘surplus value’ and generate wealth through obtaining labour for as little money as possible.
Karl Marx described the concept of ‘surplus value’ as the residual value created by the labour of a worker which goes beyond the costs already covered by the capitalist (Karl Marx 1883). Around this, he discussed the employment relationship between the “buyer and sellers of labour power”, or in other terms the purchase of labour from workers by capitalists (Palgrave 2012, p. 96). This relationship is part of what encapsulates capitalism; the capitalist purchasing the labour of workers to add value to materials, at a rate less than the value created by the worker, in an attempt to maximise their return or profit. From this, Karl Marx described the concept of the established classes of the ‘bourgeoisie’ and the ‘proletariat’, and the conflict that is present between the two as they trade labour. In capitalism, Karl Marx believes that labour becomes a “mere commodity”, whereby only ‘subsistence wages’ are...

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