The Relevance of Marxism to the Modern World

Marxism: An Introduction

Marxism is a social, political and economic ideology revolving around the theories developed by Karl Marx with the help of Friedrich Engels. The ideology of Marxism looks into the impacts that capitalism has on productivity, labour, and economic growth and sustainability. The theory of Marxism claims that the struggle exhibited between the social classes that include the capitalists and the workers determine the development capabilities of the country. The nation encounters difficulties in the achieving of sustainable economic development because the capitalists are in constant struggle to gain ultimate control of the factors of production from the public. The theory suggests that for the nations to save their economies from collapsing they need to take over the control of the economy from the hands of the capitalists. The ideology of Marxism, therefore, is the theory that analyses the developing and complex relations that exist between the capitalists and the proletariat (the poor labourers).

The Development of Marxism

The theory of Marxism is a concept that analyses how the social classes relate and the social conflicts that emerge from these interactions while employing materialistic explanation of historical development and views social transformation dialectically. Marxism developed because of the rising conflicts between social classes in the capitalist societies as a result of the conflicting interests between the ruling class that owned the production means and the labourer class charged with the duty of producing goods and services in exchange of minimum wages.

Key Concepts of Marxism

Marxism views capitalism "as an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and distribution of goods, characterized by a free competitive market and motivation by profit" (Ollman, 2012). The Marxism ideology is anti-capitalism, and it is a socialism system whose main feature is an economy controlled by the public who are also the owners of the production means, exchange, and distribution. The theory states that in a capitalistic society, the proletariat or the class of labourers owns nothing but their ability to work and this is the only thing they can offer in the market for sale. Marx views the class as the relationship between the members and the production means. Marx further argued that history is the source of the struggles experienced by the social classes as well as war and uprisings. The capitalist system keeps the workers in a state that will see them only able to support and maintain their families but not able to own anything by offering a wage that is barely enough for their survival (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1997). As a result, these labourers become alienated due to lack of control over the products or labour produced by them. The capitalist sells the goods and services at a price higher than the workforce involved, and upon payment of the wages, an immense surplus value remains in the hands of the wealthy ruling class.

Phases of Human History according to Marxism

According to Marxism ideology, human history is categorized into four phases: feudalism, capitalism, socialism, and communism. The theory further proclaims that when automation and mechanization increases, the laborer needed in the production firm decreases and this force the wages also to reduce due to high unemployment. This scenario creates a wide gap between the capitalist class who are the ruling class and the owners of the production firms as well as the machines and the poor proletarians who own nothing (Richard, 1999). As the workers continue to struggle for their survival the capitalist, on the other hand, are continuously exploiting them for their monetary gains. In the long run, an economic recession set in because the proletarians are unable to purchase the produced products and the rich are unable to use the surplus value that remains after the sale of the products. The instability created by the economic polarity encourages the poor laborers with nothing to lose to revolt against the ruling class causing the entire capitalistic system to collapse (Bell and Cleaver, 2002). A new socialistic system emerges as a result of the breakdown of capitalism and in this new system the state owns all the capital. The socialistic system is "a socioeconomic system based on social ownership of the means of production, a distribution based on one's contribution and output organized directly for use" (Burris, 2001). Carl Marx developed a hypothesis where he theorized that as the advancement of the productive forces continued to increase, socialism system will turn gradually into a communist system. With time the state will turn out to be superfluous giving rise to a society that is human, stateless, classless and only guided by common ownership as well as the fundamental socialist principle that states "from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs" (Burris, 2001). In this communism society, people own the capital collectively, and everybody is happy.

Relevance of Marxism Philosophy to the Modern World

Marxism was believed to have ended with the collapse of the USSR, and the doctrine rendered obsolete, however, this is not true because the philosophy has proved to be still relevant in the modern society although not as an exact application of communist ideology but as an application of equality and justice to improve the community. It is clear that the capitalism is the world's dominant system; however, it has not solved the fundamental tensions and problems of our societies but instead displaced these issues. Due to technological advancement, people living in the industrial zones have an enormous amount of wealth. However, those living outside these zones are suffering from an unfair distribution of wealth, and they are in worse conditions than at the beginning of capitalism. In the theory of Marxism, one of the results of the communist system was the realization of the full employment. In the current society, we witness high unemployment and the gap between the rich and the poor has steadily continued to widen beyond the levels seen in the communist regime. The Marxism theory is still relevant because considering the level of inequality in resource and wealth distribution, it is apparent that there exist two separate social classes: the poor working class and the ruling capitalists who are continuously subjecting the former group to oppression for their monetary gain.

Applying Marxism in the Modern World

The ideology of Marxism can be used in the current 21st century to outline how the separate classes that have emerged due to capitalism can relate to form a society that can function as a single unit. Through Marx's historical perspective, we can understand the society's inherent dynamics as a single unit rather than only dwelling on the functionality of the separate groups of the community by considering the long-term outcomes. According to an article by, "Marxism can serve as a mode of analysis examining the relationship between ownership, power, and social change and thus illuminate a wider variety of social transformation than whatever is currently dominant" (, 2000). Considering the ever-widening gap between the social classes and the increase in cases of social injustices as well as disparity, Marxism ideology that proclaimed that socialistic society could only arise when a revolution occurs is still relevant.

Marxism Beyond Economic Class

The ideology of Marxism in the current world is not only restricted to the economic class but applies to any group in a society that becomes alienated due to systematic oppression. This oppression can be based on disability, gender, ethnicity, race, and sexual orientation. In many states nowadays there is free education, public libraries, universal health program, emergency services and support services for the women, young, elderly and those with disabilities (Chamber and McLellan, 2007). All these public services can be identified as socialist and a good example of an application of Marxism ideology where support is provided to the less fortunate for equality.



Ollman Bertell. (2012). Dialectical Marxism: What is Marxism? A Bird's-Eye View. Retrieved on September 24, 2018 from

In the article, the author seeks to establish the meaning of Marxism ideology and establish an in-depth understanding of the capitalistic system and make the readers understand who benefits from it and who are the oppressed. In this article Bertell explains that the ideology of socialism emerged as a result of the Marx analysing capitalism. The work of Bertell Ollman is valid and useful for this paper because he gives an in-depth analysis of how capitalism came into existence and what will happen in the long run as a result of persistence struggle between the two social classes. One strength of this work is that it recognises that Marxism is not obsolete, but it is still applicable even in the modern world where the greatest nations experience a crisis arising due to the impact of capitalism. For this reason, these nations are unable to curb the high rate of unemployment, affordable housing, health care and the increasing gap between the rich and the poor.

Burris Val. (2001). Class Structure and Political Ideology. Retrieved on September 24, 2018 from

The book is about the relationship between the ruling class and the proletariat and shows how the social classes divide the current society. The author argues that Marxism is still applicable in the contemporary capitalistic society where the intermediate class and the working class exist. The struggle between the managers and the supervisors who make the intermediate class and the working class has created tension and instability in the economy due to lack of balance between labour and capital. The book is a vital reference because it tries to show the relevance of Marxism in the current capitalist world where those in managerial position occupy a contradictory position between the working class and the capitalists. Like capitalists, the intermediate class is in charge of the control of the production means, but like the proletariat, they are exempted from resource allocation and investment. However, the book has one weakness that is it fails to give a clear definition of the boundaries separating the working class from the intermediate class.  

Bell Peter and Cleaver Harry, (2002). Marx's Theory of Crisis as a Theory of Class Struggle. The Commoner. Retrieved on September 24, 2018 from

The source defines the ideology of Marxism and gives an in-depth analysis of the impacts of the capitalistic system on the workforce, production and economic development. The reference is valid and the best for this paper because it is based on an analysis of how inequalities in the capitalistic economy because of the oppression from the ruling class lead a revolt from the working class. The weakness of this source is that the author assumes that because of the inequality in the social classes the workers will be alienated from the production process and also be resentful towards their families and the employers. However, this is not always the case in all situations. The source has been very significant in the development of this paper because it gives an analysis of what lead to the emergence of Marxism political ideology.


Bell Peter and Cleaver Harry. (2002). Marx's Theory of Crisis as A Theory of Class Struggle. The Commoner. Retrieved on September 24, 2018 from

Burris Val. (2001). Class Structure and Political Ideology. Retrieved on September 24, 2018 from

Chamber Henri and McLellan David. (2007).Marxism. Retrieved on September 24, 2018 from

Encyclopaedia Britannica (1997). The Development of Political Ideology: A Framework for the Analysis of Political Socialization (2000). Marxism. Value of Knowledge Reference. Retrieved on September 24, 2018 from

Ollman Bertell. (2012). Dialectical Marxism: What is Marxism? A Bird's-Eye View. Retrieved on September 24, 2018 from

Richard M. Merelman. (1999). American Political Science Association: Child rearing, Political ideologies, Moral development, Parents, Child development, Moral judgment, Frustration. The American Political Science Review Vol. 63, No. 3 (Sep. 1969), pp. 750-767, DOI: 10.2307/1954426

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