Karl Marx's Contribution to Sociology
Karl Marx was a political economist who studied and shared beliefs on the sociological effects of society and how it would eventually lead to the creation of the ultimate utopia.
Marx was best known for his criticism of economic, political and social implications of industrial capitalism. He believed that economics was the basis in motivating and guiding, not only the government but for all people. This theory is the backbone for his Theory of Marxism. He focused heavily on the problem of alienation. Laborers would give up their labor to the market without seeing anything in return. They got small profits along with the feeling of repression and not having accomplished anything. This left them feeling trapped in a social class with no control over their own economic circumstances. This brought a fundamental disconnection between humans and their humanity.
The Ideal of the Classless Society
Marx believed that all society progressed through class struggle. Society was run by the wealthy upper class for their sole benefit. He believed that, eventually, this would cause enough tension among the classes and the structure of society would collapse. This collapse of society would lead to self-destruction. In turn, this would pave the way for a new system, called socialism. Marx thought that under socialism the working class would govern society. However, he believed that with economics being the force behind sociology, this system of socialism would not last long. Socialism would be replaced by pure communism. It would be a classless society without struggle and alienation. It would, in time, become the ultimate utopia.
Marx was not alone in his theory. Marx, Max Weber and Emile Durkheim are considered the founding thinkers of sociology. Marx was not only a thinker, he was also a doer. While living in Germany, Marx founded the German Workers Party and was active in the Communist League.
Marx explained his beliefs in his written work. The best known and most recognized of his work is The Manifesto of the Communist Party. This work outlines his concept of historical materialism, false consciousness and base and superstructure. Along with this work, Marx also wrote Capital, Volume I and Capital, Volume II. His works and beliefs were also widely read in the United States and other countries and saw more than 300 articles published in The New York Times alone.
Marx was not a sociologist, but a political economist. However, his writing focused on the relationship between economy, social life and the structure of society. With this idea, Marx connected the economical structure to values and beliefs in the world view. Marx believed that sociology influenced identities, values, relationships with others and everyday life.
Marx and his beliefs were not widely recognized until after his death due to cancer in 1883. Since then, his theories have gained value and are widely studied all around the world. There are several societies that center on Marxism and have his beliefs as the fundamental element of their research. His views and beliefs have had far-reaching results and he remains one of the prominent figures in world history even today.