Marx vs Locke Essay
John Locke and Karl Marx are two of the most respected philosophers in history. Locke was born in Great Britain in 1632, and among other works, wrote The Second Treatise of Government. He believed that the best structure for society was capitalism, which is an economic system where the means of production and distribution are privately or corporately owned. Karl Marx, born in 1818 in Germany, was the author of "Estranged Labor", and co-author of Communist Manifesto. He was an advocate of socialism, which is a system of social organization in which the means of producing and distributing goods is owned by a centralized government that also controls the economy. Locke and Marx both make valid statements to defend their respective opinions; in reality Locke has the most successful theory, but when written on paper, Marx has the best ideas for a utopian world.
Karl Marx views human beings in a capitalist society through the work that they produce; "The devaluation of the human world grows in direct proportion to the increase in value of the world of things" ("Estranged Labor" 119). The people of the working class became a commodity, which is something that can be used for commercial value, just like the goods created by the workers. The owners of a laborer's product make a profit by charging the customer more money than the cost of production for the commodity. The worker becomes estranged from his labor because he produces objects in exchange for his paycheck, and then must use that paycheck to buy back the object which he created. This cycle forces the worker to be stuck in the same rut without the hope of ever advancing in society because someone is always holding the dollar bill just above his reach.
The purpose of work in a Marxian world is to provide satisfaction for the worker. "Political economy conceals the estrangement in the nature of labor by ignoring the direct relationship between…