Marx came up with this whole theory called the conflict theory. Looking at questions of power and inequality and how these things lead to societal change. We, humans are not naturally free.
We have all kinds of physical needs including the most important need, the need for food, which could be described as comparing a bird with a human. If a bird is put in a forest then it will be easier for it to find food and survive, but if a human being is left alone in the forest then she or he will find it difficult to survive and might starve. Marx believed that compared to other animals we humans are poorly adapted to the natural world and the only way to survive in nature is to change. Marx said we work together to fulfill our needs and this is called labor.
We must work cooperatively in order to survive and that is when the world around us will change and we will be free from the natural pressures. However, as this was happening humans put themselves under more and more societal pressure. As they worked to produce goods for themselves, they would produce more than what their needs were. In order to distribute the surplus in the society, the society was set up in a way that some would not work at all while there were others who would work but still not own their own goods or products. At the same time, Marx said that in order to determine what a society is like, the economy is the base for that.
He said it is through economy that culture and social institutions form. All this created inequalities and class differences in the society. There were conflicts between the bourgeoisies (the owners of the means of production) and the proletariats (laborers, or the wage workers who sell their labor power to the bourgeoisies in exchange for salary). I think that it was not only at the time that his theory could be said was true and right, but this is what is happening right now as well. People are working very hard to survive and make a better future for their families. There are still a lot of class inequalities on different levels in countries around the world. For example, people in India have been struggling with the existing ongoing caste system for centuries. Those with more political and economic power consider themselves a lot more superior to those from the lower class.
There have been improvements but we can also say that there are villages, or even in big cities that certain people get treated differently because of the caste system they belong to whether that is economically or socially. Some won’t let their son or daughter to marry someone who is not from the same caste group. As Marx says in the communist manifesto “the history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.
” He describes the two classes as one being the oppressor with more political, economic, and social power while the other being oppressed, the proletariats. Similarly, Hindu law book dating back to 1,000 years accepts the caste system as basis of order and regularity in the society. He says that Hindus also believed that the upper caste groups are the only ones who can rule since they have better lives in terms of authority and economy. Moreover, the top one percent owns nearly half of the total wealth in the United States, while one in five children live in poverty. The consequences for health and wellbeing are extreme.
Class positions in the top one percent and 20 percent are being passed on across generations. Most of the children born into those top households will stay there or drop only to the next quintile. It is easier for those to get into prestigious colleges and universities whose parents happened to go there while there may be more qualified applicants. Therefore, in an effort to fight inequality and injustice, and extreme poverty, we need to identify areas with which we can bring the most changes.
Then, through individual, cooperative, organizational, and governmental efforts make an impact and further improve those impacts. Addressing social injustices, minimizing stereotypes, exposing inequalities, and accepting the diversity of the population will move us all forward towards a society shared equally by all.