Marxist theories about social classes and class struggles continue to be applicable or apparent today – they are seen everywhere, especially in Western capitalist societies. According to Marx and Friedrich Engels, Marxism generates two classes of people: the proletarians as well as the bourgeois. The former refers to the working class, and the latter refers to the capitalists or owners of the means of production (Alfarsi n.p). The theorists believed that the capitalists would always strive to earn more profits, and to do so, they would continue to take advantage of the laborers by making them work more for less pay. On the other hand, the working class will aspire to earn higher wages or earn more in general so that they would devote more hours. Because greed and self-interest exist, the gap between the two groups will continue to grow bigger (Alfarsi n.p). Capitalists believe that by empowering the laborers can endanger their social position so very few would do that. This is apparent in most organizations, especially the large ones, today.
Marxist theories can be divided into classical Marxism and academic Marxism. One notable classical theory developed by Karl Marx is historical materialism. According to this theory, economic forces are the primary forces making men interact with each other despite their differing social classes (Aronowitz 56). Historical materialism was used to describe for time periods or the four modes of production of Asiatic, ancient, feudal as well as capitalist (Aronowitz 56). Marx believes that at the end of it all, the economic system will change to communism/socialism.
Under Academic Marxism, Marxism has entered into various branches and schools of thought. Marxism thoughts have been used in the fields of aesthetics, archeology, criminology, ethics, economics, geography, sociology and many more (Golumbia 75). Scholars in the respective fields gathered his theory and modified it to their area. For instance, in the field of economics is a Marxist theory of value, which serves as a significant pillar of classic Marxian economics (Golumbia 75) The theory provided that the value of a good or commodity can be calculated using the number of labor hours needed to produce it. It is in these academic strands that we can deduce Marxist thoughts being applicable today.
Alfarsi, Haroun. “Inequality in capitalism according to Karl Marx.” Version Daily, 27 Mar. 2017, www.versiondaily.com/inequality-in-capitalism-according-to-karl-marx/.
Aronowitz, Stanley. The crisis in historical materialism: Class, politics, and culture in Marxist theory. Springer, 2016.
Golumbia, David. “Marxism and Open Access in the Humanities: Turning Academic Labor against Itself.” Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor 28 (2016): 74-114.
Mouzelis, Nicos. “Marxism or post-Marxism?.” New Left Review 167 (1988): 107.