Karl Marx is considered one of the founding fathers of Sociology. Marx didn't give the theory of Stratification. He gave a theory of social class on the basis of which we drive stratification of Inequality in society. Classes are regarded as the fundamental organisational of society by Marx. In his view, the concept of class is fundamental.
BACKGROUND OF KARL MARX
Karl Marx was a great social thinker of the twentieth century. He was born on 5th May, 1818, in Tier in Germany. He was born in a Jew nation. Some of his ideologies are known as "Marxism". He was one of the most important and most controversial of sociological thinkers. He is best known for his theories on capitalism, communism, and historical materialism, which have had a profound impact on the development of modern social, political, and economic thought. After completing his studies, Marx worked as a journalist and wrote for various newspapers and magazines. He also became involved in political activism and was exiled from Germany for his involvement in revolutionary movements.
ASPECTS OF PRODUCTION
THERE ARE FOUR ASPECTS OF PRODUCTION
- SATISFACTION OF BASIC NEEDS : One aspect of production is the satisfaction of basic human needs such as food, clothing, shelter, and healthcare. In a capitalist system, production is driven by the pursuit of profit, which can lead to the neglect of basic human needs if they are not profitable. Marx believed that in a socialist or communist society, production would be organized to meet the basic needs of all people.
- NEW NEEDS : Another aspect of production is the creation of new needs through the development of new technologies, products, and services. In a capitalist system, companies compete with each other to create new products and meet new needs, which drives innovation and economic growth.
- COOPERATION WITH FAMILIES : In many societies, families play a key role in the production process. For example, family members may work together on a farm, in a family business, or in other forms of family-based production. This type of production is often characterized by a close relationship between the family and the means of production and can lead to greater stability and security for families.
- COOPERATION WITH SEVERAL INDIVIDUALS : Production can also involve cooperation between several individuals who work together to produce goods or services. This type of production is often organized around a division of labor, with each person contributing their own skills and abilities to the production process. In a capitalist system, this cooperation is usually driven by the pursuit of profit, but in a socialist or communist society, it would be organized to meet the needs of all people.
STAGES OF HUMAN HISTORY
MARX IDENTIFIED FOUR STAGES OF HUMAN HISTORY ON THE BASIS OF PRODUCTION
- PRIMITIVE COMMUNISM : Primitive communism is a term used by Karl Marx to describe the earliest stage of human history, when people lived in small, communal societies and shared resources and labor. In this stage, there was no private property and people cooperated with one another to meet their basic needs. Marx saw primitive communism as a society based on equality, cooperation, and mutual aid, which was later replaced by more unequal forms of social organization.
- ANCIENT SLAVE PRODUCTION : In ancient societies, some individuals were enslaved and forced to work for others. This form of production, known as ancient slave production, was characterized by a rigid social hierarchy, with slaves at the bottom and slave owners at the top. In this stage of human history, the means of production were owned by a small ruling class, who used their control over resources and labor to accumulate wealth and power.
- FEUDALISM : Feudalism was a social and economic system that dominated Europe from the 9th to the 15th centuries. In feudalism, the means of production were owned by lords, who granted land and resources to vassals in exchange for military service and loyalty. Feudalism was characterized by a rigid hierarchy, with lords at the top and serfs (peasant farmers) at the bottom.
- CAPITALISM : Capitalism is an economic system in which the means of production are owned by individuals or corporations, who seek to make a profit by producing and selling goods and services. Capitalism is characterized by competition, innovation, and economic growth, but it is also marked by inequality, poverty, and exploitation, particularly for those who do not own the means of production. According to Marx, capitalism was the most recent stage of human history and would eventually be replaced by a more equal and just society.
CONCEPT OF CLASS AND CLASS CONFLICT
CLASS - In the context of Karl Marx's theories, the term "class" refers to a group of people who share a similar relationship to the means of production, which are the physical and technological resources necessary to produce goods and services. According to Marx, society is divided into two main classes: the capitalist class, who own the means of production, and the working class, who sell their labor to the capitalists in exchange for wages.
CLASS CONFLICT - in the context of Karl Marx's theories, refers to the struggle between different classes in society over the distribution of resources and the control over the means of production. In a capitalist system, the means of production are owned by a small class of capitalists, while the vast majority of people in society are workers, who sell their labor to the capitalists in exchange for wages.
Marx believed that this relationship between capitalists and workers is characterized by class conflict, as workers struggle to improve their conditions and receive a fair wage, while capitalists seek to increase profits and maintain their control over resources and labor. This conflict is driven by the pursuit of profit and the exploitation of labor, and is an inherent aspect of capitalism.
Marx argued that class conflict would eventually lead to a revolution, in which the working class would overthrow the capitalists and establish a socialist or communist society, in which the means of production would be owned and controlled collectively by all people. In this new society, class conflict would be abolished and all people would have equal access to resources and the means of production, leading to greater equality and cooperation.
CRITICISM OF MARX'S THEORY :
Marx's theories on social stratification have also been the subject of criticism. Some of the criticisms of Marx's theory of social stratification include:
- SIMPLISTIC VIEW OF SOCIAL STRATIFICATION : Critics argue that Marx's view of society as divided into two main classes, the capitalist class and the working class, is overly simplistic and fails to account for the complexity and diversity of social stratification.
- IGNORES OTHER FORMS OF OPPRESSION : Critics argue that Marx's focus on class conflict ignores other forms of oppression, such as gender, race, and ethnicity, that also play a significant role in shaping social stratification.
- IGNORES INDIVIDUAL AGENCY : Critics argue that Marx's focus on class conflict ignores the agency of individuals and their ability to resist and challenge the structures of social stratification.
- LACK OF EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE : Critics argue that there is limited empirical evidence to support Marx's theory of social stratification, and that his claims about class conflict and the exploitation of labor are not supported by the available data.
Marx's theory of social stratification has been both influential and controversial. On the one hand, Marx's focus on class conflict and the exploitation of labor has shed light on important issues related to social inequality and the distribution of resources and power in society. On the other hand, his theory has been criticized for its oversimplification of social stratification and its neglect of other forms of oppression and individual agency. Despite its criticisms, Marx's theory remains a central aspect of the study of social stratification and continues to inspire new research and discussions.