Essay on Marx and Marshal

Published: 2021-08-15
1885 words
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University of California, Santa Barbara
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Karl Marx was born in 1818 in Trier. He attended the University of Jena where he attained his Ph.D. in 1844. In 1848, Marx joined with Friedrich and together they published the communist manifesto and later moved to London where he lived all his life. He contributed to the critique of the political economy that was published in 1858. He died in 1883. Alfred Marshall, on the other hand, was born in 1842 in London. He studied mathematics at Cambridge University. In 1885, Marshall was elected the chair of political economy in Cambridge where he published volume 1 of Principles of Economics. He retired in 1908 and died in 1924.

Marx came up with the theory of scientific socialism. The model looks at the link between social, economic, and administrative processes. Marxs is labeled and up-to-date with different aspects including antique, materialist, and dialectical and Praxis. In essence, the historical aspect attempts a periodization of the human account and historic process. Materialist feature focuses on the material condition that is the production and exchange of material goods (Marx 2005). The dialectical characteristic focuses on contradictions and conflicts in the economic system. Lastly, praxis describes the status of capitalism and also engendering change.

Additionally, Marx position in classical economics is unsure in that he finds the analytical method of classical economists effectively a-historical but still shares some of their frameworks of analysis. However, he strongly argues that the economic structures of the society are the actual foundation on which rise legal and political frameworks that match certain types of social consciousness. He further explains that actual bases are the forces that include labor capital and technological know-how while the frameworks are the relations of production that characterize the organization of society (Oakley 2015). He also focused mainly on the capitalized model of production that separates labor from the ownership of the means of production.

Alfred Marshal model focuses on the middle class as a historical singularity. He defines middle class as the class of people between the working class and the aristocracy. In his theory, he explained that the middle class developed to become the most popular class in the UK and the developed world. He further described the middle class as a class with attributes such as a tertiary education, dependent on a wage income that is enough to allow them to make a decision on alternative consumption and labor choice. Additionally, they have conservative social values such as belief in accumulating property, privacy, the rule of law, and social responsibility. They are also full members of the society and fully benefit from the membership in different ways.

Marshal in his theory argues that the individual is the starting point of social and economic analysis. Therefore, he did not focus on the social classes but on the decisions that the people in the society made. His focus had both ethical and analytical dimensions. He found out that Victorian morality, philosophical discourse, and the rise of the middle class brought a whole new and different meaning and importance to the concept of the individual. He also emphasizes on the professional small-scale producer which include small and medium-size enterprises. His contribution to economics brought a different analytical consistency on demand, where it became a curve that relates price to quality (Marshall 1927). Moreover, Marshall focused on the production decisions and the competitive conditions of small firms, where he introduced the timing of production decisions that brought about a better understanding of production.

In essence, there is an undisputed similarity between Marx and Marshal. The similarities are more on the things they focused on rather than in their views and findings. Both of them focused on a classless society and the perfectibility of man. They also emphasized the future of capitalism. Moreover, both scholars looked into different outcomes of class collaboration and class conflict in the field of economics. Both scholars also stressed on trade unions and group interests. Additionally, both of them viewed technology, profits, the entrepreneur, and occupation role as key processes to understanding the social process. It is also worth mentioning that both Marx and Marshall based their arguments more on predictions rather than facts which were the basis of their difference in findings, misunderstandings, and disagreements.

It is worth mentioning that despite the few similarities that Marx and Marshall share, there is a significant difference in their work. While one was exploring the evils of the capitalist system, the other one was painting it and viewing it as an agreeable system. On the other hand, while one regarded the system as a passing historical phase that contains the spark of dissolution, the other views it as a permanent and a logical necessity in the field of economics. The two completely different opinions and attitudes between Marx and Marshall made inter-communication impossible. Additionally, the difference leads to the two scholars assaulting each other with ill-informed abuse. Consequently, the two became rivals and contradictory figures in the field of economics.

Looking at the classless society and the perfectibility of man, Marshall is thought as the economist of the middle class while Marx views it as a society where exploitation and dominion of one man over other men do not exist. Marshalls concern lay with the workers and with poverty. He viewed a classless society as one where all men were civilized and courteous. He foresaw an improvement in human nature that would bring about an improvement in the social order. He focused on a more complex view of morality that led to material welfare that led to higher morality in a continuing upward spiral. Marshall predicted that it the morality would start with the mothers of the nation, by practicing firmness, sincerity, and gentleness which would later reflect outside the home (Moss 1982). On the other hand, Marx attention was on the effects and not the cause. He believed that socialism would change society and in the process also transform human nature (Moseley 1997). His idea was more of a revolution that somehow captured men into a better world of social equality.

Although both of them were confident and optimistic about the coming of the classless society and the perfect human nature, their predictions of how this would come to be were what they differed on. Marshall predicted that the character of the people in the nation was solely dependent on the morality which was to be taught right from the smallest unit which is the family. The mothers were to take responsibility in educating children right morals at home during childhood. The workmen would then learn qualities such as honesty, trust, cleanliness, and respect. Marshall considered moral character as a basis for material welfare which in return rises spiritual well-being. His attention was founded on character encouraging wealth and materialism boosting morals (Marshall 1927). However, his model did not show any sudden improvement after a long time, but he was still convinced that human nature improves slowly.

Marx, on the other hand, saw a revolution in technology and in modes of production that would move workers to an improved world of social equality. Unlike Marshall who was not confident about the outcomes, Marx was solidly confident about what was wrong and how it could be made right. Marx believed that technology was the key to the results they hoped for. However, Marshall disregarded technology because he thought that it affected wages. He was convinced that technology would profoundly change the workforce by taking up too many jobs meant for the people (Baijmol 1965). Therefore, he foresaw that technology would take up many posts from the middle class which would lead to joblessness.

On future capitalism, Marx saw the entrepreneur play a vital role as the accumulator of power and excess value while Marshall viewed the entrepreneur as the source of initiative and progress. Even though both of them saw a primary role for profits, it was an initiative that kept the system moving and a source of funding for the movement. The economic role for both men was a dominant one in the lives of people. However, according to Marx, men reflected their class, and the relations of production were the primary forces taking over all others. Marshall unlike Marx believed that the character of men is formed by his daily work that is determined behavior led to less global work and no class discrimination (Marshall 2009). He also observed that occupation influences the mental and body health and strength.

Both scholars experienced the same concentration of economic effort through the growth of a large-scale enterprise. However, both Marx and Marshall viewed it differently. Marshall looked at it as a decline in profits and labor relative share of income that led to the growth of profit share and the development of a residuum. Marx, on the other hand, saw a group arising below the working class that consisted of the unemployable people caused by advancing capitalism (Marx & Ryazanskaya 1963). In like manner, they distrusted the state under capitalism. For Marshall, it was mainly because it was ineffective and a potential drag on progress. Marx on his side saw that it was a tool of the bourgeoisie to keep its supremacy that is it encouraged class rule.

However, under the full developed communism, Marx predicted that the state was bound to wither away. Marshall, on the other hand, distrusted the state but still saw a more significant place for it in the future. Beyond just providing for domestic law and order, Marshall saw the state playing a decisive role in encouraging trade unions, advancing education, providing for city planning and public health, reducing wage inequality, giving relief to the poor through constructive work, and preventing restrictive combinations (Mason 1995). Marshall further went on to advise that for communism to be efficient; the state should not use it to operate economic enterprise but instead use it in multiple ways to increase welfare. The followers of these scholars later saw more of the role of the state than their mentors did.

It is worth mentioning that both Marxian and Marshallian economics were significant and relevant in determining the outcomes of different occurrences to the economy. Although many critiques thought that their findings were irrelevant and lacked a basis for applications, some of their predictions are used in modern economics to determine the course of different outcomes and the possible occurrences in the future. Although Marx and Marshall disagreed on the means to achieve their goals, it is evident that they had shared goals and objectives (Marx 2010). Their different findings are essential as they analyze possible crises and outcomes in capitalism that economists can relate to in the modern world. In essence, the two models are relevant to date because they were based predictions which in due time came to pass.

To conclude this discussion, Marshall and Marx had more in common than is usually thought in that they both mainly looked at the Great Britain and wished to save the world making it a shared goal. However, both of them firmly differed on the means where one was focused on knowledge and morality while the other focused on revolution. The two approaches were the major dividing factors between the two scholars. Although the Marx and Marshall shared the same goals and objectives, they strongly differed on the means to reach the targets. They both focused on capitalism grow production in economics but disagreed on the methods...

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