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Social Work Theorists: Karl Marx

Biography

(May 5, 1818- March 14, 1883). Born in Trier, Germany. He was a German philosopher, economist, sociologist, historian, journalist, and revolutionary socialist. His theories were known as Marxism. Marxism is a method of socio-economic inquiry based upon a materialist interpretation of historical development, a dialectical view of social change, and an analysis of class relations. This theory holds that human societies progress through class struggle: A conflict between an ownership class that controls production and a dispossessed laboring class that provides the labor for production.  Courtesy of History Learning Site

Theory

   There is the alienation of the worker from the work he produces, from the product of his labour. The product's design and the manner in which it is produced are determined not by its actual producers, nor even by those who consume the products, but rather by the capitalist class, which appropriates labour - including that of designers and engineers - and seeks to shape consumers' taste in order to maximize profit.

   The capitalist gains control of the worker - including intellectual and creative workers - and the beneficial effects of his work by setting up a system that converts the worker's efforts not only into a useful, concrete thing capable of benefiting consumers, but also into an illusory, concept - something called "work" - which is compensated in the form of wages at a rate as low as possible to maintain a maximum rate of return on the industrialist's investment capital. Furthermore, within this illusory framework, the exchange value that could be generated by the sale of products and returned to workers in the form of profits is absconded with by the managerial and capitalist classes. Courtesy of History Learning Site


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Library/Research Resources

SOCIndex: Broad resource of scholarly research on human cultural, social, environmental and political behaviors.

Stanford Encylopedia of Philosophy: The combination of features exhibited by the SEP publishing model distinguishes it from other attempts to build scholarly resources on the web.

Library Research/Resources

Subject Guide

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Thedis Bryant
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