Marx’s Modern Capitalism

Marx thought social class drove revolutions. The bourgeoisie used their power to create new technologies and advancements, forcing rapid and constant change to be a present factor in societies. After debating whether or not Marx’s ideas were relevant today, they proved to be very on target in the modern world. Apple is a leading technological company which creates new products that people do not need, but want. The new additions to each of their already new products forces people to purchase and want the newest edition. For example, the iPhone 4s came out in October of 2011, and the iPhone 5 in September of 2012. Not even a year was passed when a leading company thought it was time to produce a new product. This idea is similar to the one that Marx believed in; the creation of new wants. The people seem to be satisfied with the new invention, (the 4s in this case), but as soon as the 5 is released the satisfaction is gone until the newest edition is purchased. There is a constant change in society’s technological advancements in the modern world, just as Marx thought. Another concept he believed in was globalization. Modern popular culture has similar trends in many different countries in the world. Songs, movies, and books are all influenced off of different countries. For example, the top 10 songs of 2012 in America, have at least three of the same songs in Canada and also the UK. These songs also all became popular in America, showing how globalization spreads through the world in modern times, just as the ideas of literature and trade spread in Marx’s time. Marx’s ideas of capitalism are present even in today’s world.

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3 Responses to Marx’s Modern Capitalism

  1. Izzy says:

    I agree with your point on that Marx’s definition of capitalism appears to directly outline the United States, and the world, today. I think this also speaks to the cyclical nature Marx defines in history. For example, Marx saw a trend in history: the overthrow of the previous power, the rise of a new mode of production, the rise of the new power in conjunction with the new mode of production, outgrowing the new mode of production, and the overthrow of the new power. While some may argue the Industrial Revolution continues to this day, looking through history, in the scope of Marx’s arguments, history seems to cycle, repeating itself. This also asks the question, if Marx’s cyclical history theory holds true, then where does the United States stand today? Are we in the rise of the new mode of production? Are we in the rise of the new power in conjunction with the new mode of production? Or, if you look pessimistically, are we outgrowing the new mode of production?

    • Krissy Bylancik says:

      I think that you boast a very good point, Izzy. As I was reading Lisa’s original post, I was thinking much the same thing; is there a point at which we will be unable to produce items new enough to please the consumer-happy public? I think that this will happen at some point and, when we do reach this point, I think that, as you point out, history will begin to repeat itself. We can even see this happening today; things that were in style in the later half of the 1900s are coming back into style as “retro”, and the public is eating this concept up. I think that the consumer market is beginning to revert back to older trends and things that were popular with a past generation, and is bringing those things to this present generation with some kind of modern twist in order to entertain the present, ever-bored generation.

  2. Dr. K says:

    It’s an interesting question, Izzy. Marx seems to suggest that economic change is ultimately driven by technological change (though there is dispute about that), and we are certainly going through technological change now. The question is, will it lead to the transition to a new form of economic organization? Is the technology causing economic disfunction in the way that Marx describes in Part I of the Communist Manifesto?

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