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Based on class inequality, Karl Marx and Max Weber pose arguments that are different. Hence the following discussion tries to clearly outline each of the sociologist’s opinion on the growth of modern social classes from the immemorial. Their argument stems on the existence, origin and sustainability of classes within modernization structure change. According to Marx, the history of the existing society is the history of the class struggle. He asserts that the society comprised a moving balance of adverse forces that generate social change by their tension and struggle (Craig, 1997). His vision bases on an evolutionary point of departure. His opinion was that struggle was the engine of progress, strife the key pillar and social conflict the core of historical. He points out that the division of the society into classes gives rise to political, ethical, philosophical, and religious of the world, views, which gave birth to the dominant, and the minority class difference (Jones, 2003). Moreover, he notes that unequal access need not at all times and under all conditions lead to active class struggle. Nevertheless, he considered it clearly that the potential for class conflict is inherent in every differentiated society, since such a society systematically generates conflict of interest between persons and groups differentially located within the social structure, and more particularly, in the means of production (Joseph, 2006).
As Marx points out, the basis upon which stratification, rest is the relation of aggregates of men to the means of production. Though a class is a group of persons performing the same function in the production organization, Marx Weber asserts that self conscious class emerge as a result of material interests which are a hybrid of economic and political demands. Karl Marx notes that individual self interests among members of a society leads to distraction of the common goal hence the emergence of struggle. Thus at the present time, with the growing social set up by the deepening of the contradictions of capitalism and the advent of the new scientific-technological revolution, Marxism attracts many people beyond the working class movement itself. People have come to realize the problems in social and political matters in the modern society. His theory not only provides a solution to economic and sociological matters but those of law, ethics, and philosophy, encompassing a wide range of aspects of the future human personality. Thus, it is worth noting that the growth and interest in Marxism still grows unceasingly. Concisely, the understanding of the social changes, structures and social class are of paramount Importance to understanding capitalism and other modes of production.
Under capitalism, Marx came up with classes such as bourgeoisies and the proletariat. The bourgeoisies are the capital owners, which in turn create labour exploitation practices. The origin of these groups can be traced back in the days of trade merchants, industrialists and manufacturers. On the other hand, the proletariats are the owners of the labour force. This classification is a clear indicator of labour abuse, and the ever presence, of the margin between the haves and the have not.
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Consequently, from Marx’s classification, the existence of the capitalists’ class is primarily dependent on the proletariat. The coexistence of these two classes either manifests themselves in incongruous or competitor way. Thus he justifies the conflict of interests, struggle for power. Karl Marx attributed to the class position in the line of production. Thus it is worth noting that Marx class structuring was rooted conflict. Hence there is birth of competition and unity. Furthermore, Marx notes the presence of the property owners, the middle class, the lumpenproletriats-the dangerous class and the peasant farmers. Marx vividly acknowledges the existence of classes and their emergence in the process of production. According to Giddens (1992), classes result due forces defining modes of production. He refutes his stand by the fact all social classes are built around main line of segregation between two antagonistic classes, one being principal while the other subordinate. in essence Giddens comes out as critic of modernization structure’
Unlike Marx, Weber’s viewed was of the opinion that social groups and classes are in the sphere of power and are in the distrobu8tion of power. He argues that despite the fact there are various ways in which power can be exercised, it is not possible to reduce the organisation of all these groups to a single dimension or factor such as ownership or non-ownership of the production (Craig, 1997).He points the pluralism that comes along with the social group’s thus social stratification multiplicity and overlapping dimensions and groups that involve the complex set of social relationships. His approach is more diverse as compared to Marx. This is evident in the way he views class as opposed to Marx does. He classifies many classes rather than the capitalists and workers.
According to weber, class is the relationship of a person or a people to a particular market that has an important effect on the lives of these people. Thus, three classes were attainable under Weber’s argument. To begin with, he observed that each individual in the society has a chance to life. These chances not only affect the outcome a production system but also the distribution of resources. In economic sector classes such as retailers, miners and wholesalers are a clear indicator of chance to life. Moreover, due to economic interests, and markets, in terms of possessing goods and opportunities for income, other forms of classification arises. Weber’s consideration of class as a group not a community is evident in his words “the course in which the individual worker, for ,instance is likely to pursue his interests may differ, according to whether he is constitutionally qualified for the work at hand to a low, to an average, or to a high degree. The emergence of societal or even of collective action from the class situation is by no means a common phenomenon” (Hughs, Martin & Sherlock, 1995).
Due to prevalence of class situations, markets and interests, classes are distinguishable. To begin with, weber came up with the ownership class, which comprise of real estate owners. These class is based on the way they use their capital to enhance production. In addition, he points out the commercial class. They are the pillars of the economy, manifested in trade and other income generating activities. It worth noting that, struggle for dominance and slavery is the outcome in cases of differences in economic interests (Allen, 2004). Moreover there is, the acquisition class which envelopes the specialists cases. However, with no tangible commercial commodities they hold dearly on their expertise to attain recognition in the society.
In summery Weber’s argument, gives an idea of how commercialization of activities affects people. It also brings out clearly the emergence of groups because of market systems. Thus, the present world rulers of the economy are the major class who hold most position in decision-making institutions. As people aim to achieve as a group, then several groups have to be put in place as in politics and other organizations. However, he warns that mostly a few do acquire the intended goal.
On the same note Dulkheim (1984), acknowledges the transition from the premodial class system to the modern one. His argument is based on the effects that a society imparts on an individual. The society was seen as single entity held together by a collective conscience. This can be exemplified by the repressive laws and the mechanical solidarity ties. But the transition of these aspects to restitutive laws and organic solidarity embraced the need for social class restructuring. Moreover Ritzier approves of the alienation that arises in the capitalist’s society. He is of Marx’s opinion where a capitalist society characterizes itself with exploitation of one class over the other in the line of production (Allan, 2005).
In summery, both Karl Marx and Marx Weber tried to explain the dynamics in social changes. Though they had different views on the issue but they were drew some similarities. Weber’s argument belittles Marx’s since he felt that Marx was more concerned about economy and viewed it as the central force to changes in the society. Contrary to this, he argues that there are several causes that lead to changes in the social structure. Based on Marx’s opinion, several modes of production arose due to struggle for dominance, where by primitive, feudalism, capitalism, slavery; communism and socialism are the modes that result from such production system (Allan, 2005). The transition from one mode to another accompanies a significant class change. In that a clear distinction can be drawn between the leader and the lead. Opposed to this, Weber tried to simplify the history of the class transition from medieval times to the modern society. In addition to economics, he felt there was need to acknowledge the role of ideas and values contribute to class sustainability. Thus he draws a linear relationship between individuals and the society as a whole towards social development as a cause of class change.
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