How relevant is Marx’s theory of ‘alienation’ to working life in 21st Century Britain? Societies evolve and become more complex. As they do so, the means of production change, as do the relations of production. Theses are the 5 epochs marx explains.
1. Primitive Communism; in which people work together and ownership is communal. No one person has more or less than anyone else, everything is shared. 2. The Ancient Epoch; for example a society such as Ancient Rome, which was based on slavery. 3. The Feudal Epoch; which was characterised by land ownership by the nobility and by the fact that peasants were associated with a particular piece of land 4. Capitalism; characterised by large scale factory production (the means of production) owned by one social class, with a much larger, lowly paid class employed in the factories. Emphasis is placed on the private ownership of property (the relations of production). 5. Communism; the final epoch. where the proletariat overthrow the bourgeoisie, true communism emerges. Within this system, the means of production are owned equally by everyone, wealth and power is no longer concentrated in the hands of the few, everyone has an equal stake in society and no one is exploited. You might be thinking, ‘Why does it take so much time for the proletariat to realise that the bourgeoisie are exploiting them? Surely its obvious?!’. But it is not that simple. The bourgeoisie are able to maintain a sense of false consciousness amongst the proletariat by establishing and promoting values and beliefs that hide the true nature of their exploitation. It is a form of propaganda. This is so strong and well established, argued Marx, that it could not easily be challenged or overcome. For every doubt that a critical worker might have, the bourgeoisie would have a well crafted answer that there would be a particular value or belief that wound counteract it and reinforce the supremacy of the system. Marx used the concept...
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