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Karl Marx's Capital

Human beings are producers and material production is the primary form of this activity, they are also, by nature, "free conscious producer[s]" who have not yet been able to express themselves freely because production takes place only as the result of "need and greed," driven, in the modern age, by the bourgeois passion for the accumulation of capital (Tucker xxv). In industrialized societies, the majority--the laborers or proletariat--sell their labor for wages to the few capitalists who own the means of production. Marx viewed this relationship between capital and labor as the basis of bourgeois society. As capitalism is driven to increase the margin of surplus-value produced by workers, the individual laborer's lot in life grows invariably worse. Improved conditions would simply interfere with the increases in profitability that are based on higher surplus-value from labor. Since man now produces involuntarily, and does so in the stressful division-of-labor context of modern manufacturing, he is "estranged from his human nature [and] labour is alienated labour" (Tucker, xxv).

In explaining the development of the capitalist mode of production, Marx sees each step in the historical process as one that will only take place when the other essential conditions are satisfied. Beginning from the proposition that man is, by nature, a producer he demonstrates that the pr


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Karl Marx's Capital. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 20:37, October 22, 2014, from
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