How does the family, according to Marxists, benefit the ruling class?

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According to Marxists, the family benefits the ruling class because it has a hierarchical structure like the state and teaches children to accept this arrangement. The family also places women in a subservient position and, perhaps most importantly, provides a mechanism for passing wealth down from generation to generation, perpetuating inequality between classes.

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Marxists argue that the family benefits the ruling class firstly by reinforcing the structure of Capitalist, patriarchal society. The family has a hierarchy, with the father at the top, and this teaches the children to accept their place in the similar structure of the state, hence the fact that a ruler is often referred to as the father of the country.

Marx and Engels claimed that tribal societies before Capitalism were organized on broadly egalitarian lines, and that the nuclear family was of less importance than the tribe as a whole. The nuclear family, therefore, is a Capitalist construct, which passes on class consciousness, class privilege, and material wealth to the next generation. Aristocratic and plutocratic families can amass vast wealth and pass it down over hundreds of years, sustaining their descendants in lives of idleness. The monogamous structure of the nuclear family also subordinates women, forcing them into lives of subservience and conformity.

Without the family, Marxists argue, there would be no mechanism for hoarding and increasing wealth over generations. Even if one man were able to amass great wealth in a tribal society, it would be shared out by the tribe after his death. This would mean that inequalities would regularly be rectified rather than being perpetuated and exacerbated over hundreds of years.

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