Table of Contents
Marxian class theory covers a wide range of social concepts that asserts that the position of an individual in the hierarchal class is determined by the position of that person in the production process. This theory says that, political ideology and consciousness is determined by the position that one has in the social class. The production process structure in the Marxian theory, form the foundation of class foundation. To understand the concept of the Marx on social class, we will discuss five conceptual elements that he used in the classification of the class analysis.
Relations of the production
The production process requires application of various resources that are important in the production process. Such resources are tools, work force, machines and land among others. The deployment of such input is referred to us production function. The input of various kind combined in a certain way ensures that it produce a specific output. The deployment of these resources can also be described in terms of social relationship. This can be well seen that each person involved in the production process has different rights in the input and in the output of the production process. According to Marx, rights and powers in themselves are resources and it plays a significant role in social relation. For example, to have right and power over a certain land, it show how one will relate to others in relation to how that land will be used. This makes the individual to control the productivity or the final product of that land. The product of the rights and powers that one has in the control of a certain resource, determine once social relationship.
Class relation as a form of relations in production
Class relation is a situation whereby people have unequal right and powers towards the access or ownership to productive resources. This brings about capitalism where in classical contrast it applies mostly to the labor power owner and owners of the means of production. Generally, a capitalist is that person who owns the whole process of production. This is because he owns machines, deploys the employees and appropriates the output of the production process that emanates from that production. Therefore, according to class relation, there not only unequal rights in the usage of the resources in the production process, but also in the appropriation of the products that comes from the whole process.
Class relation variation
Different class variations are considered according to the powers ands rights that one has towards the production resources. Some system of the production allows some people to own other people's labor power. In a state where this is allowed, the social class here is termed as slavery. In a situation where certain people have shared rights and power over certain production resources forming a class of feudalism. In a place where sharing of the production resources is prohibited, according to Marx concept of social class, he termed it as capitalism.
Due to the materialism historical aspects that determined the social class of each individual in the society, Marx gave a range in which social classes are determined. The main type of the social classes is slavery, feudalism and capitalism. By disintegration of the ownership and the power of the people I the social setup, class relation concepts are constituted to ownership. This makes different people to have different ownership and power in different sector of social life. For example, in relation to feudalism, the characteristics of rights of ownership and power over certain resource are determined by the decomposition of the powers and rights and over the labor power. This is where some of the powers are delegated to feudal lords while others belong to the serfs. Therefore, this happens even in the means of production. In the pursuit of having right of ownership and power over some production resources to belong to a certain social class; there are different determining factors that are governed by the federal government. Therefore, according to Marx, the social class of an individual is as well determined by such factors. The government put certain restrictions that ensure people do not have equal right in the ownership of certain production resources. This also places individuals in certain social class in the society.
Class relations in total can be termed as class analysis when subjected to a given unit analysis. Therefore, in social class analysis, one can talk of class structure of a certain company, country, or a nation. This is the wide scope of the social class. In this form, a typical variety of form of class can be brought together forming a complex social class structure. Concerning the Marx's first conception of the idea of class, the need to have in place factors of production is paramount. It is apparent that without the various resources such as labor, skills power among other man can do nothing or very little because the combination of these factors of production provide us with the desired synergy. Although the conception was developed long time ago, presently, it is also evident that there are individuals or organizations that have social relations of production. This I agree defines usually how individuals in the society relate with other individuals. The only problem with this conception is that individual efforts are not recognized which is wrong since there are individuals in the society who have contributed much economically, socially and politically.
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His notion on the second conception of class which describes a state of inequality in distribution of factors of production being a form of relation of production is partially true. Indeed those who have a higher power over a given factor of production dictate how they will use them in production. However, what Marx fails to incorporate in this conception is other factors that will inhibit the powers held by people for instance workers union among others.
In regards to variations in class relation, there are some individuals who own power of others in relation to production. This kind of right ownership was evident for instance slavery some times back, currently, there are unions for employees as for instance that have the absolute power of how their members will work calling for strikes, negotiation among other issues relating to employees (Slaughter, 1975). The conceptions idea of decomposing power and rights of ownership of factors of production is what propels the current business world. We have department heads, managers, and supervisors among others who see to it that there is coordination in day to day running of activities.
The decomposition and re-distribution of powers and rights brings with it class structure in the society.
Marx held that class location is a social position that is occupied by individuals. The issue of polarizing such locations having in mind that both rights and powers are distinguished is important as it helps solve conflict between the two. However, there is need to ensure that the two are not completely separated as the two are important in contributing to success of production.
Lastly, his fifth conception regarding micro-and macro-class analysis that generally looks into the effects of class as well as class structure. Indeed, macro-class analysis entails issues relating to government policies usually affect certain individual in the class structure.