Question 2007, (60 Marks) – Explain Karl Marx’s analysis of capitalist Modes of Production and class struggle. What are intellectual reactions to his views.
Capitalist Modes of Production
- According to Karl Marx, Capitalism is a money centric system, that is worth of an individual is evaluated in terms of money.
- Commodity production is foundation to capitalism that is not found in any other previous society (Primitive, Ancient, Feudal) Therefore it is historically unique experience to which no precedent is available. (production is most basic human act) à Foundation.
- In capitalist society, labor produces everything, capital produces nothing. According to Marx capital is also a product of labor. The properties of nature through application of human labor are converted to capital.
Therefore, since labor produced capital and commodity, labor should have first right over capital and commodity but capitalist appropriates them.
Surplus value of labor –
Value of wage is regularly cut off to generate profit for capitalist. This creates private wealth for the capitalist. Surplus value = Market value of produce – (Cost of Raw Material + wages of labor)
This surplus value is appropriated by capitalist. (instead of laborer)
Therefore, Capitalism is a non-sensitive, in humanistic and exploitative MOP.
Thus capitalists accumulate capital, enormous wealth. This drives them towards diversification resulting in more accentuation of wealth.
Capitalism leads to different kinds of enslavement –
- Enslavement to market –> even producer has to pay to buy his own produce from the market. Produce is taller than the producer.
- Enslavement to machines à Though, it is the productive labor that is applied to produce goods from the machines. But entire credit of production goes to the machines/ technology.
Enslavement to capitalist à laborers sell labor to capitalists, who decide the wages, what to produce, how much to work, condition of work, etc.
Pauperization , Homogenization and Polarization :-
1. Owners of capital are few but owners of labor are large. At one point capitalists form cartels and exploit consumers. Therefore masses become poor.
2. As wages increase, price of goods increase. Therefore labor remains poor and a sense of dissatisfaction prevails
1+2 : Marx calls it “Objective Experience of Poverty” The leads to gain in subjective perception of poverty. Therefore labor (Proletariat) stand ideologically united. Therefore Pauperisation leads to homogenization. Thus 2 classes exist and homogenization leads to polarization.
Critique of Marxian Theory of Capitalism –
- There is a large body of scholars who believe that the difference between Socialism and Capitalism is not qualitative but quantitative. That is, they are not different from each other but merely vary in intensity.
(1) Raymond Aron –
- In his book – “Class and class conflict in Industrial Society.”
- Struggle for power is more intense than struggle for wealth in Modern Capitalism
- Therefore, class conflict is not driven by wealth but by search for power. (in both capitalism and socialism . Therefore not much qualitative difference).
- Therefore foundation to class is differential power.
Reymond Aron – Surplus value
Schumpter – Classlessness in socialism
Ralph Dahrendorf – Power
(2) Max Weber –
- Modern capitalism is not characterized by polarization but “Proliferation” of Middle class.
- Modern capitalism is charactrised by upward and downward mobility which leads to proliferation of middle class.
- Homogenistion of labor is not possible due to different classes and different status among workers.
These claims of Max Weber have been supported by Gold Thorpe in his “Affluent workers”. According to Thorpe, workers after getting mobility, identify themselves with the upper class and do not exhibit solidarity with the miseries of working class. Hence Homogenisation and consequent polarisation is not possible.
(1) John Scott – - Laborers in capitalism are not hungry and angry proletariats. Their rights of labor are protected by labor laws, trade unions, voluntary bodies, etc. - Also, labor rebels symbolically by – few hours of more work. (In Japan) ; wearing black badges (in France); influencing political parties (in India).Therefore workers have found out alternatives to revolt. Eg. Political parties and Pr.Gr. represent interests of workers. (2) Max Weber : - In his book “Protestant Ethics and the spirit of capitalism” proves that economy is driven by religious values and not modes of production. (3) Gramsci - An Italian Marxist (during Fascist Regime). From his own experience of fascist regime he challenged the Marxian theory. Domination over masses in Italy. Was not coming through economy but through a dictator. - Therefore he proposed “Hegemonistic form of Control” that is Dominant class dominates over masses not only through wealth but also by controlling power, knowledge, culture, industry. - They promote “Hegemonistic domination” primarily through “ideology.” They use power, knowledge, culture, industry, media, etc. to promote their ideology among the people. - Such hegemonistic domination is present in not only capitalism but also in socialism and communism (4) Althusser “Ideological State Apparatus” - Like Gramski, he also challages the Marxian notion of economic domination. He maintains that legitimate source of domination is not economic in character. - According to him, the dominant class controls – §§ Repressive state Apparatus (Police, Army, Courts) §§ Restitutive/ ideological state Apparatus (Religion, school, family). - To control the masses and introduce their ideology, the dominant class does not dominate over industry but over cultural industry (like mass media, newspaper, church and school). - If somebody challenges their ideology then they use repressive state apparatus (put them behind bars). - This is present in both capitalist and socialist societies - Thus “economic domination” is unacceptable. (5) Elite Theory – - In every society a group of individuals rule over the masses. - According to Mosca, masses cannot rule over themselves. Thus in every society a group of individuals come forward and cease power structure in the society. Therefore in every society, role of elites is acceptable to the masses. (Therefore classes exist but no class conflict at economic level) - C.Write Mills in his book “Power Elites” proposes that it is not the bourgeoisie that rule the system all the time but the ruling elites are – Politicians, Bureaucrats, Military, Corporate together. - Therefore, in any society – classlessness is not possible classes are not economic but political class conflict is not economic but political Max Weber – Proliferation Goldthorpe - Affluent workers John Scott – Alternatives to Rebellion Gramski – Hegemonistic form of control Althusser – Restitutive Social Apparatus and Repressive Social Apparatus. Mosca and Mills – Power Elites.