Why did Karl Marx criticize John Stuart Mill?

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While Karl Marx and John Stuart Mill agreed on many things about making social change in favor of the working classes, they did have several notable disagreements. Marx was highly critical of Mill's contention that a government could harmlessly and effectively redistribute funds. Mill contended that government intervention could be a useful tool for promoting the freedoms of the working class while also maintaining the existence of the capitalists. Marx considered this to be a vulgar form of socialism. He viewed society as consisting of two opposing and irreconcilable forces embodied in the proletariat and the bourgeois. He felt that redistribution between these two classes was unsustainable and ultimately unfair.

Instead of Mill's view, which favored government intervention and distribution between classes, Marx argued for a society in which such social and economic distinctions were obsolete. Marx criticized Mill's notions that the earnings of some should be given to others. If the earnings of hard workers could be received by those who did not do the work, then there would be little incentive for individuals to contribute labor at all, Marx claimed. Marx felt that Mill's idea that money could be redistributed from the bourgeois to the proletariat was just another type of class exploitation.

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