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Karl Marx is known for developing the philosophical basis for the communist approach to economics, which holds that all property should be held in common by all people. The first manuscript in which he laid out his rationale was The Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts of 1844, in which he presented his arguments that other economic philosophies were based on accepting that some groups of people were destined from birth to have less private property than others. Marx held that these groups, named in general as the proletariat, would become alienated from society because of their "lack of control over the production and disposal of his or her product" and would eventually revolt against the oppressing property owning class, the bourgeoisie. Marx argued that
over time, contradictions gradually developed within each form of society because of the constraints imposed upon the development of the productive forces by the ruling ideologies of property. These contradictions resulted in struggles over the distribution of any surplus between the classes created in all societies (except communist ones) by the organization of the division of labour.
Marx did not fully develop and present his thoughts on the results of these contradictions in society, but anticipated the conflict between the controllers and possessors of production and products and those laborers who produced without sharing in the profits.
Marx’s economic theory would be to call it an endeavour to explain the social economy. For Marx, there are no eternal economic laws, valid in every epoch of human prehistory and history. Each mode of production has its own specific economic laws, which lose their relevance once the general social framework has fundamentally changed. For Marx likewise, there are no economic laws separate and apart from specific relations between human beings, in the primary social relations of production. All attempts to reduce economic problems to purely material, objective ones, to relations between things, or between things and human beings, would be considered by Marx as manifestations of mystification, of false consciousness, expressing itself through the attempted relocation of human relations.
Marx’s economic analysis is therefore characterised by a strong ground current of historical relativism, with a strong recourse to the genetical and evolutionary method of thinking The formula ’genetic structuralism’ has also been used in relation to Marx’s general approach to economic analysis. Be that as it may, one could state that Marx’s economic theory is essentially geared to the discovery of specific ’laws of motion’ for successive modes of production. While his theoretical effort has been mainly centred around the discovery of these laws of motion for capitalist society, his work contains indications of such laws - different ones, to be sure - for pre-capitalist and post-capitalist social formations too.
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