"Production is the basis of Karl Marx's understanding of society." Elaborate.

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

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Marx's fundamental argument resides in the realm of dialectical materialism.  This thought suggests that material reality and its production is the basis of social division.  For Marx, historical consciousness has been dictated by those who have possessed wealth and those who have lacked it. The production of this wealth is of vital importance.  Individuals who accumulated wealth could only do so through production.  The means of production and the ability to hold its rewards in large quantity is what determines power in a dialectical materialist setting:   “The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e., the class which is the ruling material force of society is at the same time its ruling intellectual force.”  It is production that is critical to the division that creates the class system.  

Without production, everyone is at the same level.  It is for this reason that Marx believed that if there was public ownership of the means of production, there would be an elimination of the class system and social stratification.  In these ideas, it becomes clear that production is the basis of Marx's understanding of society.

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