Karl Marx and The German Ideology- Blog #1

Firstly, I would like to start by saying I have never thought of Karl Marx as a theorist. I have always thought of him as some socialist or communist from decades ago. After reading the German Ideology and researching Karl Marx, I have come to really enjoy his work and his ideologies.

Karl Marx was the first theorist to develop a social theory of a capitalist society. Marx’s ideas went against that of Hegel and Hegelian philosophers. Hegelian philosophers were interested in consciousness and abstract ideas. They were considered idealist philosophers because they also believed the ones independent existence shaped their social reality. This idea argued that a change in social reality can come about through a change in the manner reality is perceived. Hegel’s ideology focused on social change.

Marx had an materialist approach to the change in society. The German Ideology focuses on the perception that material existence influences social change. I tried to conceptualize this theory and apply it to modern time. I think that we are greatly influenced by our material existence today. Society is driven by money and the need to have it all. I agree with Marx’s theory. Our realities are shaped by the material items that we have or strive for. We work hard to have nice homes, cars and clothes. Additionally, we work hard to provide ourselves with a meaningful education in order to get a better paying job, to eventually provide ourselves with all we want.

Thinking in terms of capitalism, our nation has been deemed a consumer nation. We are almost bread to consume (literally and figuratively) and buy. At the top of our consumer nation is the “haves” and at the bottom the “have nots”. It is the goal of those on the top of the corporate pyramids to work their employees for the least amount of money while expecting them to make daily and monthly sales goals for their stores. Failures in making numbers could result in job termination for managers, cut hours for employees and lost wages. I worked as a manager in retail for a few years only to decide that it was not for me. Shortly after beginning working at a new store in Queens, I came to realize the corporate team was not interested in my success and growth in the company. They were concerned about me and my team making their numbers in a timely fashion. Corporations do not care about the consumer, they care about their sales and the money generated from their sales. This type of neglect from corporate offices, I’m sure has played a role in the heightening debts that Americans now experience. I do not like the idea of capitalism, but I agree with Marx in that our realities are shaped by what we have or what we strive to have.

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2 responses to “Karl Marx and The German Ideology- Blog #1

  1. I too believed Marx was a social or communist, however like you said his theories in a way make sense even in today’s society. The American Dream whether it still exists or not comes from a materialistic point of view. These sets of goals propose freedom through the opportunity for prosperity and success. What is success? Well in today’s society it’s living in a house having a nice car preferably the new yearly model and dressing great. Even years after Marx introduced his theory; the idea that we are all materialistic lives on. Part of the reason critics say the American Dream is not what it used to be is because of the Corporates and their strive for their numbers as you put it.

  2. Excellent work, A. An exemplary post.

    I found this comment particularly potent and interesting:

    “Our realities are shaped by the material items that we have or strive for.”

    This is a perfect expression of *dialectical materialism*, emphasizing the interplay of material conditions and ideology, the material and ideal. Marx insists the social relations of production are fundamental, but he assigns a key role to ideology — e.g., the American Dream — in maintaining the capitalist system, even as it perpetuates exploitation and immiseration.

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