A great inequality exists amongst the distribution of both wealth and opportunity throughout many of the world’s great nations. Struggles between the wealthy and privileged minority and the impoverished majority are ever-present. In the 19th century, the Communist Manifesto addressed such struggles and advocated for the “working men of all countries (to) unite”. In order to end the suppression of the proletariat majority, Marx and Engel call for a revolution to abolish private property.
The average proletariat worker is a victim of harsh working conditions, which alienate him from the world around him and destroy his sense of self and purpose. Because of his lowly social status, he is often exploited in his work by the upper class, to whom he is little more than a slave and a commodity. His work is unspecialized in the sense that he is simply an “appendage of the machine” and as a result, his low wage provides him with the minimum necessities necessary to sustain himself and his family. The proletariat is ever growing because increasing industrialization has led to the loss of individual character in the workplace. Peasants and artisans alike find themselves declining in social rank due to the universal nature of the modern workforce, which places little distinction on age and sex because such features are unimportant when it comes to the performance of menial dehumanizing tasks.
Because of the proletariat’s exploitation he has no private property. As Marx claims, the only individuals against the abolishment of private property are the upper class bourgeois, because they are the only ones with private property to lose. This projection of bourgeois practices and values is common throughout society because they are the dominating class both socially and politically due to their wealth and subsequent influence.
Similar aspects of bourgeois superiority are seen in the commonly accepted family structure and in the education system. In terms of family, the bourgeois family functions to obtain private gain. In this manner Marx notes, children have the tendency to be exploited for the gain of their family as a whole. This family structure, like private property, exists only among the bourgeois. Likewise, education is conducted to echo and pass on the influence of the bourgeois.
The proletariat must form a union to rise up and overtake the bourgeois. Doing so will create a more balanced and equal society, with the standardization of education, elimination of private property, and the restoration of family ties and elimination of exploitation for wealth.
Generally, I agree with Marx and Engel’s claims. I feel that the distribution of wealth and opportunity between the proletariat and bourgeois is unfair and needs to be reconciled. The ability of the upper class minority to dominate the lives of the lower class majority both socially and politically is unfortunate. While I agree with Marx and Engel’s reasoning as to why such a revolution is necessary, I find their strong communist goals slightly overbearing. I believe that private property should exist in society, but with regulation to prevent monopolistic fraud and exploitation. I feel that instead of completely abolishing private property, regulations should be enacted to enable each working individual to obtain a standard of living beyond that of merely surviving. This can be done by setting minimum wages, work hour regulations, and overtime to compensate individuals for the time they spend as slaves to the machine. I think a society would be at an optimum place if each individual had equal representation despite his social standing. If this were so, political and social conditions would be developed and enforced to reflect the opinions and need of the majority as a whole, not simply those of a wealthy and influential minority. Such a change would be evident in schools and family life as well. While each educational facility and family is different and has a tendency to reflect its social standing and personal beliefs, society as a whole would be more homogenized. Without direct communism, society can be made to be fairly equal and provide opportunity for individuals of all financial standings.