KarlMax and Max Weber
Inany society, there are different classes of people. There are theelite, or the rich, the middle class and the poor. These socialclasses have been caused by various factors as explained bysociologists. The explanation of social classes by sociologists hasbrought knowledge to the understanding of the society. The mostnotable arguments of social classes are by Karl Marx and Max Weber. Karl Marx and Max Weber made critical contributions to sociology ingeneral. Most of the contributions touch on all perspectives of life.The two sociologists had some similarities and difference in theirapproaches to social class issue in the society. The Max Weber andKarl Marx had different perspectives on religion, stratification,division of labor, class, and capitalism(Sahay 45).Marx and Weber argued that work is important for the survival ofhuman being within any competitive society. Marx and Weber developedmany theories that touched much on the issue of classes within thesociety. Marx and Weber’s theories had some similarities. The twosociologists had the same argument that abstractions ruleindividuals. The other common similarity that existed was thecapitalism factor. Capitalism was believed to be the cause ofdivision of labor and difference in social classes. Capitalism alsois seen as a causative to power competition where the rich peoplefought for leadership. Marx and Weber had some difference however inthe theories (Hamilton37).Some of the arguments of the two sociologists seemed to have somecontradicting ideas. Marx shows interests on the economic influencesconversely, Weber focus on the political influences. Marx’sargument on power showed that the ruling class misuses their power byexploiting the proletariat. Weber introduced the issue ofstratification where people differ due to status groups. Weberianidea explains that people appear within the society in differentsocio-economic classes. Weber believed that governed behavior do notdefine the social class of an individual contrary to the Marxistidea. Marx view that division of classes has a linkage to the kind ofrelationship an individual has towards production. Weber argued thatthe individuals organize themselves in to some classes to gain accessto some places. Weberian and Marxist’s ideas on class give basicinformation on how classes within the society generate (Cockerham,Abel, and Lüschen 414).
KarlMarx and Max Weber are the two socialist who tried to explain whyinequality is maintained .they were the most influential socialistswho developed their own theories during the nineteenth century. Theirexplanations were based on democratic systems that individuals withability and skills to perform and produce will succeed though itassumed that all people have equal opportunities and advantages(Clarkand Lipset 398).Marx’s class theory is based on “the history of all hithertoexisting society is the history of class struggle. He explained thatsince human society emerged from its primitive and undifferentiatedstate, it has been divided between classes who clash in the pursuitof class interests. Marx‘s central determinants to social andhistorical process are class interest and confrontations of power.Relationship between people is shaped by their relative positions intheir production, power and access to scarce resources (Bendix149).Marx tried to point out ways in which individual’s position insocial structure shapes their experiences and trigger them to dothings that improve their collective fate. Class interest is verydistinct from individual interest place across by utilitarian schooland classical British political economy (Wood55).
Thegreatest similarities are first is the idea that people are ruled byabstraction, which gives the foundation of both Weber and Marxtheories. This is better explained by use of feudism. According toMarx, feudalism is because of means of production. That is, peoplenever focused on profit making but instead, sold their products atreasonable value for their use value. On the other hand, Weberexplained feudalism as private property is because of militaryviolence (Cohen77).
Secondly,both Weber and Marx believed capitalism is based on irrationality.They both explained irrationality through medium of religion eventhough the difference is of little significance. Weber argued thatreligion is the key to explaining the origin of capitalism, basinghis ideas on Protestants faith and technology, which greatly shapesthe society (Draper32).On the other hand, Marx believes that religion as the method ofspreading the ruling class ideology to the working class. Thirdly,both of the focuses on the current problems facing the society andthey analyzed the structure and functioning of the modern societywith regards to the birth, growth, and development of the moderncapitalism. These made them to be closer to each other and sometimesare substitutes for each other (Vandergeestand Buttel 685).
Classicaleconomist look at the economic system of an economy as one in which,an individual’s effort working on his own interest to maximizegains contributes to the interest and growth of the economy as awhole. This contrasts utilitarian’s perspective that perceiveself-interest as a regulator of for the harmony of the society, Marx views individual self-interest among capitalists as a verydestructive to the class interest in general thus later destroyingcapitalism (Kronman23).The working conditions of employees exposes them to solidarity andovercome their initial competitiveness for the benefits of thecombined action for their collective class interest Marx claimedthat individual class position is determined by his or her relationswith the forces of production. An individual in possession of thefactors of production are categorized as part of the ruling class.Ruling class subjugated the proletariat into believing that theirlife was natural and normal (Mommsen89).Herepresented his theories using superstructures models of the society,which takes into account everything including those factors thatindirectly influences production. Both Weber and Marx may havedifferent reasons for causes of changes but they both agree on towhat society has become (Lowith92).
Whilethe two theorists hold similar ideations shown in the above analysis,significant differences exist in their perspectives about theirapproach to social class. Marxists and Weberian ideas on class gainedits basis from other influences of previous theorists such as Kant.Marx was greatly influenced by Hegel’s ideas. From Hegel’s ideas,Marx came up with some ideas concerning capitalism. Marx explainedthat class in any modern society was based on capitalism. For Weber,he talked of social inequities including economic class, socialstatus, and political power. Weber predicted that there will be someconsequences from the modern people due to economic structures causedby capitalism. Marx claimed that people showed tendency of shiftingfrom a feudal society that is agriculturally oriented to industrialrevolution. Class differentiation was indicated by the land owningclass who were considered rich while the peasant classes were oflower class. For Marx, the scribes, intelligences, civil servants,and information dealers had no contribution to the production in theeconomy therefore, did not make up a class (Burger98).
KarlMarx had two perspectives about class. He pointed out two-classsystem contradicting the three-dimension stratification of Max Weber.Unlike Marx, Weber came up with four types of classes. He categorizedthe four classes into propertied class, property less intelligentsia,manual class, and the petty bourgeoisie. The first class of propertyowners is at the top because it is contain rich merchants. The topclass own economic power, social status, as well as high politicalinfluence. They own and control resources giving them much economic,social and political influence. The second class has people of whowork especially on white-collar jobs (Farris67).The class with less property occupies the higher positions at thelabor market. Propertyless class is at the second position because ithas political and social, economic influence same as the first class.This is largely due to their influence in political decision makinglike voting. The second-class owners have fewer properties such asstocks and shares. Weber classified people according to wealthownership. The last class of manual working class lack propertyownership and occupy the labor market as well as having the lowersocial status. Karl Marx emphasized on structures that govern abehavior. He associated structures of govern behavior to modes ofproduction that defined the social classes. Unlike Marx, Weber arguedthat classes are not defined by structures. Marx argument claimedthat social groups are developed around class. Weber came up with hiscriticism against Marx idea of structures (Blustone13).According to Weber, Marx failed to define groups based on inequality.He supported his criticism explaining that several factors areincluded in the formation of social groups. Marx third argumentclaimed class relations are influenced by economic exploitations.Conversely, Weber’s perception on class relation remained to bedominant and economic conflicts mark struggle between the superiorand inferior person within the society. Finally, Karl Marx emphasizedthat the division of class is linked straight to an individual’srelationship to production. To contradict Marxist final idea ofindividual relationship to production, he mentioned that peopleorganize themselves in groups to gain access to some places. Hesuggested that individuals play a significant role in social groupformation (Shilsand Finch 32-33).
Accordingto Marx, people of different social classes often fight and competefor resources and power. In his perception, Marx saw resources interms of economics. Groups remained to be polarized against oneanother. In his conflict theory, Marx explained that people continueto fight because of existence of resources. He noted that resourcesare becoming scarce and people continue to distribute them unequallycausing conflicts. The upper classes accumulate more wealth hencemaintaining their class and the lower class remained at the lowersocial class. As groups continue to fight large gaps are createdbetween them and resources run scarce while conflicts increase(Kornblum33).Max Weber asserts that social groups can be defined based on theconsideration of aspects such as status, class, and party rather thanconsidering one’s social class. Moreover, he asserts thataffiliation and membership to a specific social group does notautomatically assure power in the society. Weber disagreed with theMarxist idea of group polarization. He asserts groups need a leaderwho can spur the conflict because of the ability that a leader has toincite a group. In his argument, Weber asserts that groups possess agreat deal of varying due to class, politics, and philosophies(Alexanderand Alexander 28).
Marxand Weber came up with social class factor that exists to the presenttimes. The theories of Marx and Weber have greatly affected howpeople live today. Notably, the two theorists greatly contributed tosociology and human science of understanding human being. Theirapproach to class showed that many people living within a givensociety have different social classes. The crucial matter is howpeople face the changes that appear as the world become morecivilized than before. As people continue to be revolutionized, manychanges are encountered. The changes affect how people organizethemselves in classes (Weber111).The differentiation brought about by Marx and Weber explains thereason behind poverty and wealthy among the people in a given society(David, and Christopher 43).
Conclusively,Marx and Weber’s ideas on social classes have been noted as thebasis for explaining the varying classes of people that exists in anygiven society. The two scholars have made notable contributions tosociology and in particular in explaining the state of the society.The theories have brought significant knowledge in the field.Notably, Marx and Weber’s argument became the foundation underwhich other theorists acquired some ideas concerning humanunderstanding and its surrounding.
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