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Marx Essay, Research Paper

Karl Marx and Max Weber have agreed and disagreed on numerous issues

during their years as sociologists and political economists. An issue that they

both discuss in great length, and disagree upon is the rise of capitalism.

Marx thought that economic factors and the use of exploited and

alienated labor were the causes of the rise of capitalism. In “Capital”, Marx

discusses the Labor Theory of Value and Surplus Value, and how they have

influenced the rise of capitalism. In the Labor Theory of Value, Marx

analyzes what makes a commodity valuable, which leads to a capitalistic


On the other hand, Weber stated that religious beliefs associated with

the Puritan religion led to the rise of capitalism. Puritans continuously worked

hard, because the wasting of time is considered a sin. There is no relaxation,

and labor was seen as rational and methodical. The enjoyment of certain

aspects in social life that do not have religous value are forbidden. One must

acquire wealth through God’s grace and hard work, for the persuit of wealth

for it’s own sake was seen as a sin. Because people were isolated, individuals

looked for signs of salvation and found it in their ability to work hard and

maintain their faith.

Weber wanted to uncover the the forces in the West that caused

people to abandon their religous values in exchange for a desire of acquiring

goods and wealth. Eventually people began to enjoy their material

possessions, and started to adopt different values and beliefs that once was

dominated during the spirit of capitalism. Religous values led to the rise of

capitalism and relflected the rationalization and methodical lives individuals

led in the past. Capitalism became a dominant force, because people still lead

rational and methodical lives like the Puritans did, but enjoy their material


Both Weber and Marx would agree that classes were distinguished by

those who owned property and those who did not. Those who owned

property, also owned the means of production and exploited the Proletarians.

Classes exist on an economic basis, in a capitalistic economy. Marx’s goal

was to eliminate the classes, by eliminating private ownership of property.

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