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Word Count: 3,114
Law is much more than legislation or law in the books Law is also defined in practice However in a capitalist society it is the wealthy upper class that defines law in practice In a free market based system the wealthy class usually consists of business owners and heads of local and multi-national corporations Because of the enormous amount of money and capital that corporations generate pressures in terms of restrictive laws are diminished in order to preserve the economic structure In America laws such as protecting the environment or utilizing a cleaner cheaper automotive fuel are seen as threats to long established and highly profitable corporations such as the oil industry for example These corporations donate large amounts of money to political campaigns and employ thousands of people Any threat to them by enforcing stricter standards of operations could result in higher prices lost jobs and lost campaigns This then creates a schism in society where an upper class a middle class and a working class must coexist under the same law But whose law In addition different cultural backgrounds and religious ideologies are taken into account when defining law As a result of a capitalistic system of law that is governed by a free market economy and dominated by a wealthy upper class the cultural social and political values of that class are embedded in the law This essay will begin by exploring Karl Marxs connection between law and the ruling class Marx defines law essentially as a product of the class that rules the means of production Marx 1970 Under capitalism he argues the economic structure of a free market drives the law Because the law is created by one class of people and applied to another both participation and the means to participate in the political process are dominated by the upper class Marxs claim of a legal dominance by a ruling class is supported by political scientist Frances Zemanss study
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