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MARX Vs WEBER ON SOCIAL CLASS Karl Marx 1818-83 was a socialist who hoped for a fairer society For Marx class struggle was at the heart of social change He writes The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles Freeman and slave patrician and plebeian lord and serf guild master and journeyman in a word oppressor and oppressed stood in constant opposition to one another carried on an uninterrupted now hidden now open fight a fight that each time ended in revolutionary reconstitution of society at large or in the common ruin of the contending class Marx and Engel 1888 in Joyce 1995 p 21-22 For Marx the great evil of societies past and present was the division of labour produced by historical economic development He argues that throughout history the different ways of producing goods Modes of Production which he characterised as primitive communist ancient feudal capitalist and communist modes had one thing in common that the way in which these goods where produced is based on classes Classes in Marxs theory meaning those who owned the means of production their property and those who do not own it Class then was based on economics on ownership and labour mutual dependency and mutual antagonism the means by which the capitalist can draw the surplus value from the workers through exploitation Marx explained in the Communist Manifesto that the modern capitalist the bourgeoisie factory and mill owners were exploiting the proletariat labourers forced to sell their labour in return for wages in order to maximise profit and minimise wages The producers never receive the full benefit of the value of the commodities they have provided Marx 1974 in Scase 1992 This he said would lead to the polarisation of the classes and class conflict Although Marx was aware of the intermediate class and lumpenproletariat no homes and no
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