Marxism And Economics

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Marxism And Economics

Human relationships have always been dynamic. Change and adaptability have gone
hand in hand with the passage of time for human society. Systems have been
developed to regulate, direct and control the resources of this society. The
systems are referred to as governments and the resources as the populace or
inhabitants and forces of production. A government must be dynamic in its nature
reflecting the change in society. At times these systems have resisted the
necessity to adapt with its components (Society) creating a deficit between the
system and those it regulates. As the deficits develop, they cause instability,
and could lead to revolution.1 Theories have been developed to explain the
systemic phenomenon called revolution. This paper will discuss three modern
theories and apply them to the English revolution of 1640. The first theory,
developed by Carl Marx (Marxism), will address the economic evolution in English
society. This theory will emphasize and explain how the shift from a
feudal/mercantile system to capitalism affected English society. The second,
called the Resource Mobilization Theory (RMT) developed by Charles Tilly, will
explain how the English organizations (the Crown and the Parliament) effectively
obtained, amassed and managed resources. Samuel Huntington's,
"Institutional Theory", will argue that the existing government at
that time was unable to incorporate the demands and personnel that the
socio-economic changes created. Marxism was formulated in the 19th century. Carl
Marx and his associate Frederick Engels observed the socio-economic changes that
were transpiring in Britain. England was the dominant world power and had the
largest industrialized economy during the 1800's. The development of the factory
and the institution of the assembly line created a large demand for workers.
This demand was satiated by migrating peasant from the rural areas in England
and Ireland to developing urban centers. As these urban centers or cities
evolved using industry as the economic backbone for the population, a large
number of factory workers were accumulated to operate the machinery in horrid
conditions. These workers, which would be termed as the peasantry under a feudal
system, were now the working class or proletariat. They entered cities with
hopes of bettering their lives and survival. Though revolution never took place
in England during this period, it allowed Marx to study industrialization,
urbanization and imperialism. The theory of Marxism has three basic concepts:
historic materialism, forces of production and relations of production. Historic
materialism is defined as a society's past performance and present capabilities
of satisfying the basic means of life. Humankind's basic needs of eating,
drinking and shelter need to be met properly. The forces of production
(technology, capital, the infrastructure of society, etc.) are important for the
simple fact of who ever controls them controls the society. The last aspect of
Marxism, the relations of production, deals directly with the relationships
between classes of people (the aristocracy, the middle-class and the working
class).2 Marxism includes a predictive analysis of socio-economic structures.
Using history, logic and the dynamic nature of humankind as guidelines, Carl
Marx attempts to map out a sequence of events which will eventually lead to
utopia (anarchy). In his work, Das Capital, Marx details the six steps. These
steps are primitive socialism, feudalism, capitalism, socialism, communism and
then anarchy. The evolution of the English economic system during the 16th and
17th centuries points to a shift from feudalism to capitalism. This shift is
exemplified by the enclosures. The landlords began to fence their property in
the common land areas. The "commons" were large plots of grazing and
farmable lands that were used by both farmers and artisans. When the land-owners
and manorial lords began to partition these lands the concept of private
ownership of property was introduced to the socio-economic system.3 During the
time period of the 16th and 17th centuries the crown's economic base began a
gradual decline. This economic shrinkage came to a spearhead during the reign of
Charles I. The monarchy favored a monopoly market system over a competitive one.
The purpose for this position was for taxation and control of the profits. As
the artisan and merchant populations increased, the policy of the crown began
conflicting with economic growth. This created instability in three areas.
First, the English monarchy needed money to support its army which insures
social compliance. The second area of contention was the restraints and
interference the Crown initiated on the rising middle-class. Thirdly, the rise
of the bourgeoisie created competition for the state sanctioned monopolies,
reducing its profit.Howard Erskine-Hill refutes Marxism. He states that neither
... "the 'rise of the gentry' ... ideas concerning resistance to rulers ...
nor even