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Narendran Sairam

January 12th, 2008

Mr. Richard (Nick) Noble
American History and Economics
Karl Marx analysis
Communism at its Roots

The Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital, both by Karl Marx, are books that criticize

Capitalism, its roots, its effects and its foundations. Throughout the reading, the excerpts form the two

books point at the flaws of Capitalism. Why is it bad? Why is it not helpful to a majority? How is it that

it can overthrown? What should replace it? These and more are the questions that are posed and

subsequently answered by Marx and Engels in the Communist Manifesto and Das Kapital.

The first and foremost thing that Marx and his friend address is the issue of why they think

Capitalism is bad. According to the Communist Manifesto, Capitalism, which resulted from the ancient

feudal society, is a government where the wealth is concentrated among one class of people referred to

as the Bourgeoisie by Marx.

Marx says that, “The bourgeoisie has stripped of its halo every occupation hitherto honored and

looked up to with reverent awe. It has converted the physician, the lawyer, the priest, the poet, the man

of science, into its paid wages.” The bourgeoisie turns all occupations into just a source or investment

of money. Doctors, who many consider equal to god because of their power to heal, are seen as people

that charge money. Lawyers who are seen as people possessing dense knowledge are known only for

their money. Everything is reduced the value of the person in money or capital. This is the main reason

for Capitalism being 'bad'. Capitalism reduces the value of every person, regardless of his professions,

to his worth in money.

The bourgeoisie is the upper class and the proletarians are the lower or working class, the social

equivalents of pheasants in the ancestral feudal society.

“The lower strata of the middle class-- the small tradespeople, shopkeepers, and retired tradesmen generally, the
handicraftsmen and peasants – all these sink gradually into the proletariat, partly because their diminutive capital
does not suffice for the scale on which Modern Industry is carried on, and is swamped in the competition with
the large capitalists, partly because their specialized skill is rendered worthless by new methods of production.”
These proletarians are pushed to the edges of poverty because their pay is not sufficient to keep them at

par with rich bourgeoisie. This itself causes problems. Moreover, Marx points out, “...machinery

obliterates all distinctions of labor and nearly everywhere reduces wages to the same low level.” This

increase in use of machinery leaves many people jobless. This is why Capitalism is not supportive of a

majority of the population of the society. Marx puts it beautifully in the following sentence, “ This is

the workers paradox; work harder, produce more, but get fired in the end because they produced too


Given the conditions there is only one logical result; rebellion. Driven by poverty and hunger,

groups of proletarians come together in groups that Marx calls trade unions and go up against the

bourgeoisie. Even though they are successful sometimes, the majority of their efforts are futile against

the powerful wealth of the bourgeoisie. Marx though, clearly says that if this capitalism continues, the

population of the proletarians will keep increasing and therein lies their power to overthrow the

bourgeoisie. He says, “ The real fruit of their battles lie not in the immediate result, but in the ever

expanding union of the workers.”

Marx then ventures a question. What will the proletarians do once they have overthrown the

bourgeoisie? This is where the concept of communism comes in. He says that Capitalism, run by the

bourgeoisie, should be replaced by Communism, run by the people. He sums up the Communist theory

in one sentence: “Abolition of private property.” He says that Communism is better because the

bourgeoisie will have almost no power and given that, the proletarians will benefit a lot.

During the time, Marx and Engels wrote this book, there was an age of revolutions dawning in

Europe. An age where proletarians everywhere rebelled against their respective upper class or

bourgeoisie. The reason The Communist Manifesto became a huge hit is because it showed these people

a way to get past the upper class and get what they wanted. It also told them what to replace the flawed

system with in order to help themselves. But this work was not a hit among all the people. Obviously
the Capitalists were annoyed with this work. They were afraid that if something like this gained too

much momentum it would be enough to over throw the bourgeoisie. But this step by step manual on

how to replace Capitalism was used by many in the later years to control an absolute monarchy. Hitler

for example used Marx's concepts and modified it to fit Germany.