How do Karl Marx justify the claim that the ideas of ruling classes are the ruling ideas of the time?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Marx justifies the claim that the ruling classes are representative of the ruling ideas of the time with his assertion that capitalism and ownership of the means of production defines power.  For Marx, power in the capitalist system is held by those who hold economic control and material power.  These ruling classes of people are driven and substantiated by the ruling ideas that dictate economic wealth translates to power.  For Marx, the ruling ideas of the time, a capitalist time, have to substantiate those who own the means of production.  Marx believes the notion that ideas are reflective of power.  The entire premise of his own ideas are to support a radical change of power.  For Marx, the ruling classes are reflective of the ideas that help to justify why they do what they do.  They can only progress to these ends because of particular and specific ideas.  In Marx's thinking, his justification of this is to make clear that capitalist policies are cradled by non- interventionist, free market ideas that do more to justify and explain the ruling classes than critique what he sees as as abuse of power.


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