How would you describe the materialistic system of Karl Marx?

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Materialism in the sense in which it is used to describe the works of Karl Marx means that his philosophical writings assume purely material and naturalistic causes for phenomena, grounded in the observable physical world rather than in a belief in a spiritual or religious world. He sees religion as...

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Materialism in the sense in which it is used to describe the works of Karl Marx means that his philosophical writings assume purely material and naturalistic causes for phenomena, grounded in the observable physical world rather than in a belief in a spiritual or religious world. He sees religion as explained not by the reality of supernatural entities but as one of many abstract ideologies intended to distract people from the material realities of economic inequality and oppression.

While Hegel had explained social progress in terms of the march of the Idea through history, Marx was materialistic in the sense that his explanations were focused on economics and power and the relationship between them. He believed that people should look underneath expressions of beliefs or ideas to economic and power realities. This does not mean that he was "materialistic" in the sense of valuing material goods; in fact, he saw craving for certain types of luxuries and efforts to "keep up with the Joneses" in accumulation of status symbols as part of an oppressive ideology that subjugated workers by creating false economic needs.

Marx saw political and social change as not resolving ideological contradictions in the manner of Hegelian dialectic but as real conflicts between different economic groups, with the oppressed rising up against their oppressors and in turn become an oppressive class themselves, giving rise to new tensions. He hoped that this dialectic could be resolved by a fairer and more equal economic and political synthesis.

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Marx argued that materialism was one of the underlying forces behind historical development.

One of the most important elements in Marx's thinking was his process of dialectical materialism.  This idea suggests that history progresses in a dialectic, or dynamic, where those who possess material wealth are pitted against those who lack it.  This story of "the haves" and "the have nots" defines the Marxist progression of socio-historical development.  

Marx believed that dialectical materialism defined the current predicament of capitalism.  Those in the position of economic power were called the capitalist or "bourgeois," while their antithesis is the workers, or the proletariat.  Marx believed that material conditions ensured that these two forces would be unable to reconcile their difference because the capitalists sought greater material wealth in the free market.  The more money they made resulted in more hardship inflicted on the working class.  Marx felt that material reality differentiated both groups because, driven by self-interested profit, capitalism defines success based on wealth. The more one makes, the more value one has.  

Marx argued that the progression of dialectical materialism would eventually create an untenable situation for the capitalists.  Since only a few profit in capitalism and more people do not, Marx feels that historical materialism will yield a new and fairer system.  The very same material progression that brought about capitalism will inevitably transcend it.

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