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Who Is Karl Marx? What Is an Ideal Society?

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What is an ideal society? How does an ideal society works? How is justice achieved? Equality, all-round knowledge, classless, common ownership- are Karl Marx's vision of a well-organized and a just state.

Who is Karl Marx? Karl Marx is a philosopher, social scientist, historian and revolutionary. He has been dubbed as the most influential socialist thinker to emerge in 19th century. As he wanted to help the revolutionists, he conducted a thorough research formulating his own just society along the way.

In Marx's research, he had seen that history was driven by different class struggles. He presented 5 different sets of social-economic relations namely, primitive communism, slavery, feudalism, capitalism and communism.

Primitive communism dates to the time of hunt-gather life of the primitive people. In the primitive communities, the means of production are socially owned. This common ownership was the consequence of the very primitive tools or instruments of production available. Because the tools are simple and limited, there wasn't a fine line to separate the labour. For the people are grouped into small groups, everyone in the tribe have to work for each other in order to survive. The able-bodies hunt and gather food for the whole community with each getting an equal share of food.

This primitive communism gradually ceased by the improvement of techniques which lead to the division of labour, formation of private property, and commodity exchange. During hunting, hunters exchange in simple, direct relations with one another. The lands they own and the animals they captured aren't regarded as personal properties but as a property of the whole tribe. However, when people were introduced to agriculture and domestication of animals, the division of labour started. As long as there are certain people who specializes a particular field of production, the division of labour will continue to expand. Sooner or later, the instrument or tools of that field will belong to those specialized people. The instruments would be regarded as the property of particular persons and so does the products created. "The rise of private property in herds and articles of luxury" wrote Engels in his origin of the family, Private Property and the State (chap. 5) "led to exchange between individuals to the transformation of products into commodities" (p. 41) Commodities are the products produced as an exchange for other products. Commodity exchange will further break up the old communal relations. The continuous growth of private property and commodity exchange will result to the division of community into haves and have-nots, and possessors and dispossessed.

The production will slowly be concentrated in the hands of the few. Since the properties will only be handled by the minority of people, the production will be available of being sold to the others and soon after, impoverished people will be enslaved in debt. During the primeval Africa, the families who don't have private properties sell their children to the property owners in exchange of money and food. Buying slaves became profitable to the property owners since they need man labour for their growing businesses. Slavery then becomes the chief method of extracting labour from others.

Slavery is the simplest and most direct form of exploitation of man by man. Here, the property owners buys people who will be working for him in exchange of food and shelter. The relationship then becomes master and slave. The master owns the slave. Because of this, the masters are eligible to command anything to the slaves and the slaves will have to follow his master's every single command. The slaves would be similar to the properties that the master has in a sense that the master can use and extract his labour anytime the master wishes to. In Greece and Rome, slavery occurred because large-scale agricultural enterprises, extractive industries and other companies and buildings could be more effectively carried out by the slaves than by tributes. Tributes were extracted by the rulers. The rulers convinced the people that they are gods for they have the monopoly over precious metals and water irrigation.

Years later, slavery was replaced by feudalism because the improved means of production were not easily workable by the slave labour. Also, as slaves were regarded as properties, the masters wanted to acquire more slaves to show their superiority over the others. This act of enslaving more people later created problems leading the slavery system to collapse.

Feudalism appeared when the slavery system ended. Feudalism is the exploitation of the serfs by the feudal lords. This was widely practiced in Europe during the middle ages. Unlike slavery where the master owns his slave, in feudalism, the lord doesn't own the serf. However, the lord owns the land that the serfs till. The serfs are allowed to get their living from the land as long as they give the lord a part



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