Does the Marxist critique of capitalism still have relevance today? Despite the continuous and exaggerated proclamations toward its diminishing relevance, the theories and critiques originally put forth by Karl Marx toward the economic, political and social order continue to exert enormous intellectual influence and clout throughout human society.
The 21st century, thus far, has been defined by utter global dysfunction through widening income inequality, financial crisis and instability, worsening environmental disasters and ongoing disputes in industrial relations[l]. The volatility and growing injustice of the contemporary era has brought about not only a resurgence in Marxist thinking and ideology, but has simultaneously mandated a deeper analysis toward the largely revered ideals of free-markets and capitalism as the global norms.
The once widespread notion the fall of the Soviet Union represented the final demise of Marxism – proclaimed the ‘end of history by many – is increasingly being exposed as short-sighted and negligent toward the ongoing and even growing importance of Marxism in contemporary debate. This essay intends to argue the continuing relevance of Marxist theory in the 21st century. Furthermore, it is clear upon investigation that the ideas and critiques put forth by Marx offer an insightful explanation toward many of the issues which plague the existing political and economic systems throughout the globe.
The continuing and even growing significance of Karl Mar’s works in the 21st century is largely attributable to the ongoing crisis of modern-day capitalism. In his writings, Marx made numerous observations and predictions toward the free-market system and its laws of existence and upon analysis, it is clear that many of the ills and injustices which permeate throughout the modern global economy can be aptly explained by the critiques and theories put forth by Marx over a hundred years ago.
First and foremost, he anticipated that capitalism in its nature is a system which concentrates wealth and pits classes against each other. As marketplace competition progressed, he proclaimed that monopolies would occur along with an increasing concentration of capital in the hands of fewer and fewer individuals. Ultimately, this would cause a growing disparity in wealth and would pit and increasingly disparate working class against the capitalists.
Furthermore, while he acknowledged that capitalism is a suitable vehicle for economic growth, he also rightfully proclaimed that such growth would ultimately be built upon an unsustainable model. Furthermore, it would be negligent toward the advancement of the greater good and would be at the expense of the working class. Such economic growth, as we can observe in today’s global economy, has lead to increased mechanization and productivity, but has merely been used as a vehicle for further unemployment and inequality.
Secondly, an ever increasing disparity of wealth would ultimately limit the consumer purchasing power within society and subsequently cause capitalism, even in spite of advancements in productive capacity, to attention as system lacking and constrained tot demand[6 Furthermore, given its unpredictable and static nature, capitalism would always be riddled with imbalances and the levels of production wouldn’t be relative to demand, leading to an improper and distorted allocation of resources. This, in totality, would inevitably be responsible for gross and widening inequality, social unrest and an economy prone to meltdowns.
The recurring and persistent issues of capitalism alone ought to confirm the ongoing elevate of Mar’s critique. There is, however, much more that Marx anticipated – specifically doing with the environment – which hold significant and increasing relevance in contemporary times. Marx astutely made the point that the advancements brought about by capitalism and mass profiteering would not only be detrimental to the working class, but would inevitably lead to large scale degradation of the agricultural and environmental landscape.
This clearly is still relevant today as we see degradation of our environment on a mass scale in the name of profit and economic growth. Furthermore, Mar’s detailed analysis of many of the cultural aspects of capitalism still ring true today. This largely revolves around issues such as colonialism, gender equality and its role in the spread of global capitalism, especially in the developing world. Specifically, one can point to the globalization of capitalism in modern times as a mere meaner of exploiting cheap labor sources whilst simultaneously causing irreparable degradation to the environment, all in the name of profit.
Looking back, it is increasingly clear that the observations offered by Marx still hold rue and are in fact increasingly relevant in contemporary times. Ultimately, as Marx anticipated, capitalism has proven to be volatile and self destructive force which contains the seeds of its own demise. With the globalization of capitalism and economic activity in the over the last few decades, one can now witness these flaws permeate on a much grander scale.
Events such as the global financial crisis, an issue which alone is testament to the continuing relevance of Marxist critique, are bound to happen in a worldwide capitalist economy built upon widening income inequality and reckless profiteering. Furthermore, the large scale destruction of our natural and environmental resources have been done in the name of capitalism and short term gain over longer term rationality. There are clearly distinct parallels between what Marx put forth and the ongoing issues which we face in the 21st century which signal his continuing relevance in contemporary times.
References Google Docs. 2002. Marx, Weber and the Critique of Capitalism. [online] Available at: HTTPS://docs. Google. Com/document/d/l YnelX85nXksuW-a- [Accessed: 10 July 2013]. History of Economic Thought Society of Australia. 2010. Mar’s Understanding of the Essence of Capitalism. [online] Available at: http://www. Heats. Org. AU/PDF-back/17- 3. P accessed Postpone, M. 1993. Rethinking Mar’s critique of capitalism. In: Postpone, M. Deeds. 1993. Time, Labor and Social Domination. 1st De. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, up. 3-42. Rescind, S. And Wolff, R. 2010. The Economic Crisis: A Marxian Interpretation.
Rethinking Marxism, 22 (2), up. 171-184. Available at: http:// Allah, R. , Khan, K. And Sails Shah, M. 2012. Steinbeck The Pearl as Marxist Critique of Capitalism. Alienation Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 2 (4), up. 73-278. Available at: http://www. Sunshine. Com/Journals/ Volvo_2_No_4_Special_Issue_February_2012/32. PDF [Accessed: 10 July 2013]. University of Kent. 2008. MARXISM AND THE CRISIS OF CAPITALISM. Cocaine] Available at: http://www. Kent. AC. UK/sell/philosophy/articles/Sayers/Marxism andh20thiscrisispofficapitalismesPDF: 10 Jul 2013].Julyuman rights are a contested concept.
Yet this has not prevented them from having impact around the world. ‘ Discuss. The concept of and idea of human rights is one which permeates tthroughouthroughouts of international politics. It is routinely invoked by political elites, academics and has been used to both Justify and denounce conflict. Never less, human rights remain a widely contested concept and as a result are subject to various interpretations. Furthermore, while sthrong costrong has been reached globally toward human rights norms, substantive controversies and differences remain over the specific contexts and meanings of human rights.
However, this is little doubt the ongoing ideal of human rights has historically been used as an instrument for oppression by the powerful and as a tool for resistance by those whom have been arginaliseReginaldctively employed, the fight for human rights has presented a formidable challenge to authorities and oppressive regimes that are negligent to their plight tor recogntorton. Otten timeOatenman rights are done away in order to manipulate or reaffirm a regimes grip on the social order.
In spite of its ongoing contentions, human rights continue to impact the world greatly and are part of an ongoing struggle for recognition by many oppressed groups and people. The 20th and 21st century has beared witbeardo the proliferation of human rights law to the forefront of international politics. Contrary to standard thinking, the United Nations over the course of the last century has been extremely productive through its plethora of declarations, conventions and resolutions in order to deal with a broad range of abuses tthroughouthroughout[1 5].
These abuses centrally focus on racial discrimination, women and cchildren’children’sequality and the recognition of indigenous groups. This progress has been primarily pushed by non-governmental organizations, faith based groups and social-Justice based initiatives. In totality, there has been sense of substantive and serious progress by the international community o deal with the ongoing issues of human rights tthroughouthroughout. This progress, however, has also been undermined a host of factors which have contested its motives and effectiveness.
The logic and theory of ‘liberal’ human-rights have come under heavy criticism from a host of individuals and groups in academic circles – most namely Marxists, Marxistts, authoritarians and cultural relativists. Beyond this, the growing use of human rights as a political practice viewed with apprehension by those in non-western governments, corporate actors and a wide range of political elites – who often invoke the competing political mperativesimperativesty, economics and realist ambition as a mearns to meaner basic standards of human rights.
Upon deeper analysis, it is clear that there has been a lack of focus toward the true meaning of human rights as seen by a wide range of political and social actors on the global stage. Furthermore, there has also been a lack of understanding toward how the institutioinstitutionalizingrights in international politics has impacted the cultural and social cohesion of political processes and relations, both domestic and internationally. Human rights can only be enforced by states. They are, however, not the primary function of the great majority of states and their application is largely regulated by international bodies and institutions.
The increasingly global nature of human rights is caused by the increasing capacity and potential for them to be institutioinstitutionalizeddwide scale. In the contemporary era, the vast majority of states have committed themselves to wide reaching human rights treaties and agreements which has further entrenched international law toward global human rights. Subsequently, states which have yet to ratify to international standards nd norms hNDe faced mounting pressure to bind themselves to an increasingly global consensus.
Because of this, one could reasonably assume that the increasingly institutioinstitutionalized human rights could pave the way for unprecedented progress. The recent strides made toward women’s rights, especially toward reproductive freedoms and toward same-sex mmarriage marriagements to the evolving definitions of what constitutes human rights. This progress, however, must be tempered wit n the reali ty trealuTTYn rights can largely on be realised trealizedathroughation of the nation-state. While the application of human rights is ncreasinglincreasinglya global issue, the state remains the key actor in the realisatiorealizationrights.
Subsequently, while much of the western world marches forward toward greater equality, many third world states still lack the basic respect for fundamental rights and show no signs of development. The global movement toward equality is grounded in a belief in the transformatransformation of our world. Furthermore, global recognition of human rights is contingent on the realisatiorealizationas a civilisaticivilizationgressed forward. The coming together of nation-states in pursuit of human-rights is a pivotal component of the iberal iniIberiae which seeks to institutioinstitutionalizes of individuals.
It is a narrative driven by the ongoing conviction that the world is continually emerging from injustice from an unciviliseuncivilized initiative has traditionally emanated from the heart of Europe and has spread to encompass a wider agenda of western- liberalism in the contemporary era. The end of the Cold-war has spawned an era of liberal internationalism as the global norm, which still lacks any ideological equivalent. This, however, doesn’t signal an easy and uninterrupted march toward progress. Numerous critiques still exist along with substantive and practical tensions that charactericharacterizehts law.