Karl Marx Questions and Answers

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Distinguish between base and superstructure with special reference to Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.

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In Marxist thought, the base of a society consists of its means of production, material assets, and the classes of people who produce and consume things (described by Marxists as the "relations of production" and divided into Lumpen-Proletariat, Proletariat, Labor Aristocracy, Petty-Bourgeoisie and Bourgeoisie).

The superstructure is the ideology of a society. It includes the laws, religion, educational system, art, philosophy, politics, social customs and traditions, the news media, literature and everything else that is influential in a society that is not directly concerned with production.

In The German Ideology , Marx and Engels reject the Hegelian theory that the progress of history depends on changes in ideology. Instead, they argue, real change is brought about by shifts in economic and material relations in the base, which periodically bring new classes to power. The superstructure then changes to justify the power of this ruling class. The base...

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