What was Marx's view on capitalism?
Marx viewed the industrial capitalism that emerged in the mid-nineteenth century as the final stage in economic development, one that would become so efficient at exploiting the labor of workers that it would eventually lead to worldwide revolution and the establishment of a communist, classless society.
In his famous Communist Manifesto of 1848, Marx argued that the rise of capitalism had smashed older, more traditional forms of production, and created two mutually antagonistic social classes, the bourgeoisie (capitalists) and the proletariat (working class). His massive opus Das Kapital was a thorough indictment of capitalism, one which is perhaps most famous for his theory of the "surplus value of labor," the difference between the cost of labor (i.e., wages) and the value of labor (i.e., the value of the things workers produce). This, Marx thought, was at the heart of capitalism, which was therefore built upon an unjust foundation. Capitalism
reproduces and perpetuates the condition for exploiting the labourer. It incessantly forces labourers to sell their labour-power in order to live, and enables the capitalist to purchase labour-power in order that he may enrich himself.
So capitalism, according to Marx, was inherently exploitative of workers. He also thought that it was always aggressive--the bourgeoisie was always seeking new markets for manufactured goods, and cheaper means of producing them. Marx thought this was unsustainable, that the success of capitalism would eventually cause it to collapse under its own weight by creating a class of workers, the proletariat, who would rise up to destroy it and create a system where they could receive the value of their own labor.