How do Marxists explain the unequal distribution of wealth?

  • Created by: Ryan62835
  • Created on: 22-10-18 11:20

What is Marxism?

  • Differing from functionalism as a consensus theory, Marxism is a conflict theory.
  • Marxists believe that the ruling class (bourgeoisie) exploit and take advantage of the working class (proleitariat).
  • They also believe that the bourgeoisie wants to keep this structure and to do that they enforce their values on the rest of society (hegemony). 
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Marxisms explanation of poverty

  • According to Miliband (1974), the main reason for inequality of wealth and income lies with private ownership of businesses. 
  • With majority of the money being with the owners, the workers will get very little, even though they do the majority of the work to earn the owners their money.
  • The threat of poverty and unemployment motivates the workers, often willing to work as cheap labour.
  • The competition between workers ensures that there is a constant supply of workers and keeps the wages down making the rich richer. 
  • Poverty divides the working class, poor and non-poor working class, which will prevent them from uniting and challenging the system. They believe that eventually the working class will come together in frustration to get rid of the middle class and take control. 
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Evaluation Points

Yellow = Strength         Green = Weaknesses

  • Does not explain why some groups are more likely to be poorer in society e.g. women and people with disablities.
  • Explains wide inequalties of wealth and income in capitalist countries e.g. Britain and USA.
  • Communist countries still have high poverty rates e.g. China and North Korea.
  • Capitalism creates wealth in society - which decreases the amount of people who are in absolute society. 
  • With the increase on the economy and market forces, Westergaard (1994) argues that Marxist views are more relevant than ever. 
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Evaluation continued

In evaluation, the weaknesses out weigh the strengths meaning that if the Marxism points of view where in action it wouldn't benefit the system as much as the Marxists believe. 

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