Karl Marx’s Critique of Capitalism


KarlMarx’s Critique of Capitalism

KarlMarx’s Critique of Capitalism

Capitalismand socialism have always been at loggerheads both in the traditionaland the contemporary human societies. It may be acknowledged that thecontention emanates from the comprehension of the fact that they bothdetermine the manner in which resources in the society may be dividedamongst the varied players and individuals that feel entitled tothem. It may be noted, however, that capitalism has come out as thedominant theory. This has not eliminated the possibility of critiquefrom philosophers who have other beliefs. Perhaps the most dominantcritic of capitalism was Karl Marx, who is deemed to be the father ofsocialism.

Inhis critique of capitalism, Marx opined that capitalism has itsdefining feature as the notion that labor takes up the form of value.This value-form of labor is not dependent on private property or themarket rather it depends on the reduction or elimination of theconcrete dimension of labor to a routinized and abstract form ofactivity via the medium pertaining to socially necessary labor timewithin the process of production (Dowd,2002).Indeed, the question on whether the state or the market appropriatesthe surplus value becomes relegated to the periphery, in which casecapitalism would only exist in instances where labor is reduced to anabstract and value creating activity (Chilcote,2000).In essence, the trajectory of capitalism revolves around theassumption of an abstract and impersonal form of domination.

Onthe same note, Marx opined that the concept of private ownership ofthe means of production, as well as distribution that is espoused incapitalism eventually created dependence on ruling class by thenon-owning classes, which would ultimately result in the restrictionof human freedom. Indeed, he saw the private ownership as enrichingcapitalists or owners of capital at the expense of the workers(Marable,2000).

Ofcourse, the critique of capitalism by Karl Marx can offer insightsinto the current social world. This is particularly with regard tothe advent of the high-tech western capitalism that has increasinglybeen characterized what is termed as the “virtual reality”.Essentially, the media, political life and arts may, therefore, beseen as the logical product of the value-form of labor that Karl Marxtalked about. Scholars have acknowledged that the growth anddevelopment of the abstract types of domination gets to a point wherecapitalism may no longer be under the direct control of either thestate or entrepreneurs (Schweickart,2002).Essentially, this does not demonstrate the victory of capitalism oversocialism rather it may be comprehended as an indicator of thecollapse of the most oppressive, vulnerable and rigid form ofstate-interventionist capitalism.

Inconclusion, capitalism has drawn immense criticism particularly fromsocialists or proponents of communism. Karl Marx, who is consideredto be the father of communism, critiqued it as a strategy to have theindividuals that owned means of production to have other people belowthem or rather as a way of dominating them. Indeed, it must beacknowledged that every other activity that is undertaken by humanbeings whether in the contemporary or traditional societies isprimarily aimed at ensuring the acquisition of resources.Essentially, individuals that have the means of production would haveothers than do not have such privileges to be dependent on them asthey seek sustenance, and ways of providing for their families. Inessence, Karl Marx’s critique offers insights into the social worldin the contemporary society as it demonstrates why individuals thatare wealthy often exercise power and control over others.


Chilcote,R. H. (2000).&nbspThepolitical economy of imperialism: Critical appraisals.Lanham, Md: Rowman &amp Littlefield Publishers.

Dowd,D. F. (2002).&nbspUnderstandingcapitalism: Critical analysis from Karl Marx to Amartya Sen.London [u.a.: Pluto.

Marable,M. (2000).&nbspHowcapitalism underdeveloped Black America: Problems in race, politicaleconomy, and society.London: Pluto Press.

Schweickart,D. (2002).&nbspAftercapitalism.Lanham, MD: Rowman &amp Littlefield.