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Why do Marxists reject a social contract?
Consider the previous readings regarding social contracts. Plato, Hobbes, and Rawls all make arguments for a social contract. Each position makes fundamental assumptions about what the nature of political life in fact is. For Plato, political life should be directed by virtue; i.e., the pursuit of a morally virtuous life – the ‘good life’. For Hobbes, the essence of political life is driven by man’s nature to survive and the inevitable conflict resulting from the competition for resources. Finally, for Rawls the political is determined by ‘reasonable and rational’ deliberation about the primary goods of the society ensuring that no one is marginalized and the flourishing of liberal politics.
Social contracts imply a social class structure or hierarchy. Through this establishment of political order it ensures the stability of a society and political life. However, it seems that on this model of political life there will always be some members of a society that are less advantaged than others in terms of resources, opportunity for education, professional advancement, etc. Also, it is not clear that the theories of the aforementioned thinkers can guarantee a consistent model of justice on their formulations.
Marxism will necessarily reject any social contract formulation. According the Marxist view, class structure by its very nature is oppressive. The ultimate of aim of Marxism is the elimination of any class structure in society resulting in total and equal distribution of resources, thus bringing about the worker’s paradise – a utopia. To demonstrate that this is in fact the course which political life, Marxism presupposes a view history that is defined by class struggle.
With each successive addition of a technology and resolution of the resulting social discord a new era, or properly named ‘epoch’, establishes new social classes. When the fourth stage of Capitalism arrives, there are two fundamental classes; the proletariat (or working class who control no ‘means of production’) and the bourgeoisie (who control all the means of production). The beginning of the next stage, Socialism, is marked by a proletariat revolution in which they forcefully take control of society’s means of production from the bourgeoisie. Once this stage is complete and the means of production have been redistributed, the state dissolves and the final stage of the Communism establishes the worker’s paradise – a fully egalitarian society.
Provide a brief analysis as to why Marxism may in fact result in a more attractive political structure (at least in theory, not practice), than that of a social contract. What are its disadvantages? Finally, provide consideration as to whether or not violence should be advocated or justified by political ideology.
Required Reading - Karl Marx "Manifesto of the Communist Party" (Selection)
Read the following Section from the Communist Manifesto:
Manifesto of the Communist Party – Pg. 14
I Bourgeois and Proletarian – Pg. 14
IIProletarians and Communists – Pg. 22
III Socialist and Communist Literature
B. Petty-Bourgeois Socialism – Pg. 29
C. German or “True” Socialism – Pg. 29
Critical-Utopian Socialism and Communism – Pg. 32
IV Position of the Communists in Relation to the Various Existing Opposition Parties – Pg. 34
Recommended - Stanford Article, “Karl Marx” – Intro and Sections 1 & 3
< http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/marx/#4 (Links to an external site.) >
Remember: A reasoned response consists of more than one words responses or simple agreement with the author of the article or post you are responding to. Please cite all passages in the text (including page number) and cite all outside information according to MLA guidelines.
Why do Marxists reject a social contract?
Consider the previous readings regarding social contracts. Plato, Hobbes, and Rawls all make arguments for a social contract. Each position makes fundamental assumptions about what the nature of political life in fact is. For Plato, political life should be directed by virtue; i.e., the pursuit of a morally virtuous life – the ‘good life’.