Sociology refers to the study of issues concerning a given society. Marx is known as the founder of communism and socialism. He was a great social thinker and introduced economic ideas that used to be revolutionary. The ideas later were referred as Marxism which represented economic, political and sociological point of view. Marxism included the following ideas:
- Mankind history involves various social classes struggle.
- Productivity ability defines the society and its growth solely determined\ by this abilities growth.
- People undergo different phases like capitalism, feudalism and slavery
- Economic classes are the most vital feature of a given society.
- Production modes and members relations define a class.
- Production means are owned by capitalists while capacity to work is owned by proletariat.
- New society forms develop according to the new production forms.
- Classes can only obtain power through revolution.
- Proletariat develops due to capitalism as they only have labor to offer to earn a living.
Society features are mainly formed by this transformation and fueled by growth as they go through the various transformations. There are several concepts created by Marx that have helped in the overall thought of sociology (Elster 33-40).
His history view also known as materialist conception was influenced by Hegel. He criticized the society in which few people dominated the economy taking advantage of the remaining population. He argued on the base that the capitalist society exploited the workers and treated them as commodities after surplus labor is extracted from them. He recognized the class struggle and argued that the class existence was highly determined by specific modes of economic or production structure and proletariat had the ability to abolish all classes resulting to a society that is not based on classes. He also argued that every society, the capitalist, feudal or tribal was characterized by its people capability to produce and their way of earning for living. He indicated that in any society the production mode changes, as the European society had moved to capitalism from feudal production mode (Kreis).
Each society had different classes depending on its economy mode, and he referred this as production relations. He believed that production modes transformed more quickly than production relations. However, he proposed that economics are not different from philosophy, sociology or history, a view that was unconventional. According to Marx, their mismatch was the major cause for social conflict and disruption. He came up with the conflict theory which contributed much on sociology.
Marx was more concerned with people relations, with their own labor power which is an important resource. He described loss accrued when one is alienated from his own nature as commodity fetishism, which is shown by the ability of commodities to have movement and life which the humans cannot adapt. Meanwhile, this indicates a fact that circulation and exchange of goods are a reflection and product of social relations between people.
He differentiated merchant and industrial capitalists where industrial took to their advantage of the difference between the goods market and the labor market for every commodity they produce. Merchants bought goods from one market, sold them to another and took advantage of the price difference between the respective markets. He concluded that the difference was the surplus value which was gained from surplus labor. He used value theory of labor that states that the time invested by a worker to a certain task is the commodity actual value (Kreis).
He viewed the capitalist class as greatly revolutionary as it revolutionized the production modes more constantly and continued to argue that it was more prostrate to crisis, because the capitalists would invest in technology, hence requiring less labor. This would lead to less profit, as he believed that labor directly affected the surplus value and lead to collapsing of some sectors. He developed a theory which stated that for the establishment of socialists system, the proletariat dictatorship would be the common factor created on the temporary basis.
He also initiated the alienation concept which included the worker’s alienation from the goods he produces, class alienation in capitalism due to competition and the alienation from one’s own self. This concept fits well with today’s sociology as different classes today are mainly brought up by competition in the economy.
Theories Marx developed still have much influence on the majority of the world population. His ideas attracted both economists and Marxists. Marxism has been employed as a core to some modern theories (Barte 143).
Karl Marx was one of the greatest social thinkers of the time who lived a simple life as a representative of proletariat. His influence by Moses Hess and Hegel theories was kind of basis for his ability to come up with great ideas on matters concerning the society.
He could introduce what no other man could have thought. Despite facing many challenges like poverty and frequent expulsion from different countries, he still remained focused and strong. His excellent understanding of the society structures and application of the Hegel dialectic theory resulted in the development of ideas; some of them are still used today.
He was a representative of proletariat himself, so that this gave him more ideas which would have led to a better society which was not based on classes. However, he believed that it was to be achieved through revolution in which the proletariats were the key factor. His view on the capitalist’s ways of earning their living, which mostly involved employing people from the proletariat class, led to the formation of commodity fetishism. His great ideas on sociology led to Marxism which is a core to some social theory today.
His works have since led to the development of new social ideas and new generation of socialists who use his credible ideas to establish them. Therefore, he will be remembered by all generations as the founder of socialism, though there were the times in his life as he was never remembered for any good deed (Barte).