Politics in Minutes (2016)

Marx: economics, analysis of capitalism

As well as being a philosopher and historian, Marx was an economist and, having recognized the dominance of the capitalist system, set out to make a thorough analysis of it in Das Kapital. Marx believed that capitalism could be a force for progress as it encouraged economic growth and technical innovation, but also created social injustice and was inherently unstable. In his analysis, however, he saw capitalism as just another stage in human history – the synthesis of conflict between serfs and nobles in a basically agricultural society, which had been brought about by the material change of industrialization. With capitalism, the means of production now rested in the hands of the factory and mill owners, the ‘bourgeoisie’, who exploited the labour of the working class, the ‘proletariat’. Capitalism, he explained, had now produced the conditions for change to the next stage of historical development through the tension between these two classes, which would result in conflict, triggered by financial instability and increasing social unrest.